It’s finally time to tell the children get out and play! Whether you are a parent, grandparent or caregiver, you should get out and play too.
There are several reasons why playing outside is important: exercise, vitamin D and the bonding of children playing together or with family.
Disconnecting from the television, smartphone, and Internet does a body and mind good. Outdoor play helps build fitness levels and fight heart disease, diabetes and obesity, and some studies even show that playing outdoors helps relieve symptoms of ADHD.
Playing outside also reduces stress levels, anxiety and depression in both the young and old.
If your city has a limited number of parks and playground equipment, try your local elementary school playground. Of course, you’ll want to do this when school is out. These playgrounds are typically pretty safe and, if possible, try to visit a school other than the one your child attends.
If time allows, it might be fun to take a Saturday and go park hopping. Start at a familiar city park and make your way around the community visiting the various playgrounds and trails. Be sure to pack a lunch, snacks and some cool drinks for your long day in the sun.
Fun and games
Here are a few classic outside activities that transcend generations and maybe a couple games that are new to your family. Enjoy!
Tug of war
This is a game that can start with two, but the more players the better. To avoid rope burns, use a towel or several towels tied together, draw a line in the yard and PULL!
Red light, green light
One player acts as the traffic light with their back to the other players. The game begins at a starting line with the traffic light saying “green light.” The other plays begin to move toward the traffic light. When the light says “red light” everyone has to stop before the light turns around. If the light catches anyone moving, they have to return to the starting line. The first player to the light wins.
Three players hold hands in a line in the middle of the playing area. When they are ready, the players yell “British Bulldog” and while still holding hands chase the other players. Each player who is tagged is added to the British Bulldog chain until only one player remains.
Finds some open space, create a few bases using household items like old mats or plates then get a large, rubber playground ball and go have some fun. The rules are similar to baseball, but feel free to add some fun twists like requiring the bigger/older kids to hop instead of run.
There’s a number of variations, but only one can be “it.” One of the most popular versions is freeze tag, where the “it” person chases the group and everyone who’s touched is frozen in place until another player runs by and tags them free.
It’s like hide and seek in reverse. Whoever is “it” hides. Then the rest of the group tries to find them. Once a player finds the one who is “it” they hide with that player. The game continues until only one player is left searching for the whole group.
Additional springtime activities
- Take a long walk
- Plant seedlings
- Fly a kite
- Blow bubbles
- Create a butterfly garden
- Play with sidewalk chalk
- Read outside
- Play catch
- Take a bike ride
- Go on a nature scavenger hunt