With summer essentially here in most parts of the country, it’s a great time to be outside. There are more hours of daylight, kids are out of school (or soon will be) and nature is in full swing. To encourage dads to spend more time outside with their kids, the National Wildlife Federation is offering the Be Out There™ pledge. Kids these days tend to spend much more time in front of electronic devices than playing outside. This isn’t good for their health, imagination, concentration or, in some cases, aggression levels.
But what to do outside? We’ll run out of ideas, you say. I don’t have time, you claim. Nay, there are plenty of ideas, and even a short amount of time is better than none. The National Wildlife Federation has offered several ideas such as:
- Visit a local garden center and learn about the plants, either by planning an imaginary garden or pretending to be an explorer.
- On a windy day, fly a kite! Watch out for trees and power lines, though.
- Start a collection of leaves, rocks, flowers or other bits of nature.
- Mark out a backyard nature trail and see what nature is in your own yard.
- If it’s wet and muddy, wear old or waterproof clothes and go out and splash around!
A couple more ideas for outdoor time with your kids:
- Go outside and just sit and listen. Watch the insects and animals, and look closely at plants. You might be amazed at what has been around you all along.
- Walk anywhere in nature and consider and discuss how what you see has changed over the seasons. Some plants shed their leaves, animals hibernate, insects live and die.
- Any of the 30 outdoor play activities from my recent post could easily include dads, and they may even take you back to your own childhood.
When you sign up to take the Be Out There™ pledge, you’ll get plenty more ideas of things to do outside with your kids. Your kids will remember spending time outside in nature with you much more than they will remember yet another television show, iPod app or website. And it will get all of you moving around, getting exercise and fresh air. Your kids may fight you at first, if they are used to sitting around inside, but chances are they’ll enjoy time outside with you very much. Be sure to wear hats and bring sunscreen, plenty of water and a snack if you’ll be gone long. Also bring your camera with you! Share the photos you take with your loved ones, or on the GeekDad Flickr pool. But just be out there!