Today’s kids don’t want to spend the day playing outside from sunrise to sunset like we did when we were growing up. The world is different than it was when we were young, and a combination of that plus a trend toward helicopter parenting means it’s easier to keep our kids indoors where they’re safe and we can keep an eye on them.
Of course, that means they’re missing out on some of the awesome outdoor activities that we enjoyed as kids. One solution to this is to participate in these outdoor activities as a family. With that in mind, here are a few ideas to get you started as you plan your outdoor excursions.
1. Go Geocaching
As GPS technology has become more affordable and accessible, geocaching has become more popular along with it. If you’re not familiar with the practice, it’s basically just using GPS technology to find things that people have hidden out in the wilderness. Most caches will contain a logbook so you can document your find as well as trinkets that you can trade.
If the idea of wandering in the woods looking for a container that someone has hidden sounds like fun, consider spending an afternoon geocaching with the family. You can hunt for existing caches or create your own.
2. Build a Bonfire
Is there anything better than roasted marshmallows or freshly cooked sausages that you’ve heated up over an open fire? The answer is “no,” so why not set up a bonfire in your backyard or on the beach where you can roast marshmallows and cook other food? It gives you an excuse to get out of the house — because no one should be setting up a bonfire IN their house — and you can even stay out after dark with the fire to light your way.
3. Play Tag
Playing tag with other kids was one of our best memories from growing up. We could keep a game going all afternoon! Once, we had a game that lasted for three days, where we carefully marked down who was “It” when we all finally went inside for the night.
If you’re not an active parent, playing tag might mean that you spend a lot of time chasing your kids around because they tag you and you can’t keep up. But that’s half the fun! Plus, it’s free cardio exercise, so it’s a win-win in our books.
4. Run a Rope Course
If you’re not afraid of heights, running a rope course can be a great way to spend the afternoon. You’re a lot safer than you might think since rope courses that take you high above the ground are required to strap you in with safety harnesses and sometimes helmets.
If you don’t have a rope course available in your area, starting one as a business venture might be something that you can explore as a family. These courses are a large part of a $427.2 billion industry, and if there’s a lack of this kind of attraction in your area, that could make it your niche.
5. Go Paddleboarding or Canoeing
If you live in an area that has lakes, rivers or other natural waterways, why not take advantage of them? Get out on the water with paddleboards or canoes and explore your local area from a different perspective. Older children may want their own paddleboards or other watercraft, whereas younger ones can be balanced on your board or in your canoe.
Make sure you pay close attention to water safety and ensure everyone is wearing a flotation device while you’re out on the water, whether they can swim or not.
6. Play Catch
Can you really go wrong with this classic outdoor activity? Break out the baseballs and softballs, or even a couple of large beach balls and just toss them back and forth. You get out of the house, everyone gets a chance to play and it’s a great way to stay active without having to leave the comfort of your backyard. If you’re throwing baseballs, just make sure you’re angled so that they’re thrown away from any windows that might break if an errant ball goes flying.
While there are plenty of things that we can do as a family inside the house, from baking cookies to planning a movie night, sometimes you just need to get outdoors. Thankfully, you’ve got plenty of options there too. Pick one of the things from our list to try out or design your perfect outing on your own. Just make sure you’re packing plenty of snacks and sunscreen and remember to stay hydrated, even if you’re out on the water. Outdoor activities aren’t any fun if someone gets dehydrated during the festivities.
Above all, enjoy yourselves and try to spend one or two days a week outdoors instead of staying home.