Fewer organized sports, camps closed, social distancing, no swimming pool – I realized my kids weren’t moving much this summer. They spent most days outdoors in the spring, but once the humidity kicked in, they wanted to stay inside. So we got creative!
7 Creative Ways to Get Kids Moving Outdoors – And Off Screens!
Get Lost – Simple, yet they love it. One child is the “leader” and chooses a route for the rest of the group on bikes (or rollerblades, or on foot…) When they have led us quite a ways (say 15-30 minutes), another child becomes the leader and take us back home. Bonus points for choosing a new, unexplored route.
Ninja Warrior – One child creates and demonstrates a ninja warrior obstacle course, say tiptoe up the stairs, slide down the slide, crabwalk across the yard, jump over the garden fence, and balance walk on the edges of the raised beds. The next child tries to imitate their course. Increase motivation by timing them, and even introduce some competition. Variations include The Grass is Lava or The Shade is Lava.
Neighborhood Mapping – Help your kids pack a backpack with a notebook and pencil, water bottle and whatever else they deem necessary. Then they’re off! Riding their bikes around the neighborhood, stopping at a corner or park bench to jot down a few notes. Nothing formal, just mapping in their own style. Upper elementary might include street names and cardinal directions — North, South, East, West. Lower elementary may draw a few landmarks and, of course, themselves. I accompany the little ones, but older kids can go on these fact-finding missions unattended. Sound maps are another fun mapping activity!
WATER! – Homemade water balloons, squirt guns, and sprinklers of all persuasions.
Creek walking – This one takes close supervision, but is a favorite. Water shoes or any old sneakers protect feet. Encourage getting as wet as possible exploring creeks in the city or county parks. Shelly has a great list to explore!
Early and Late – Since the kids were home from school this spring, they enjoyed nearly every afternoon outdoors. The summer heat changed that plan. Nowadays we plan around the heat and aim for early morning or evening for outdoor activities.
For more ideas, check out the 99Parks Get Moving list!