Parenting Tips

15 Ways To Encourage Your Child to Play Outside11 min read

Are you struggling to get your child to play outside? Let me assure you that you’re not the only one with a child who prefers to stick indoors.

Think about the warmth, safety, and comfort of being indoors. Plus, with so many electronic devices and other forms of entertainment available indoors, it’s no wonder that many kids prefer to stay inside.

And if you’re a busy mum with a tight schedule, you might be too exhausted by the time you get home, making it difficult to muster up the energy to play with your kids outside. 

But despite all of these obstacles, it’s up to you to encourage your kid to explore the great outdoors. No pressure!

If your kids are a bit older, outdoor activities are a great way to create room to do house chores in peace.

Need more convincing why your child should be outside more?

Here are a few more reasons why kids need to spend time in nature.

  1. For one, playing outdoors helps children to get exercise and fresh air
  2. In addition, playing outside can help kids develop social skills by interacting with other kids
  3. Outdoor activities can help kids connect with nature and appreciate the world around them.
  4. Being outside helps children to explore and come up with new ideas
  5. It also helps them be more active, which is important for their overall health.

And by now, I bet you’re probably thinking, “Okay, great points, but are there ways I can encourage my indoor child to play outside more?”

Absolutely, yes. The key is to make the indoors boring and find creative ways to make the outside exciting. By making outdoor activities fun and engaging, you can easily motivate your child to spend more time outside.

And the interesting part is that I’ll show you how to go about it. For the next few minutes, we’ll go through 15 easy and practical ways to help your child stay away from screens and embrace the outdoors.

Are you ready?

Let’s get to it.

Here are 15 ways to encourage your child to play outside.

Tip 1: Detox your kids from screens

Let’s face it. It’s going to be hard to convince your child to head outside to play if they’re glued to their phones or tablets or spend hours in front of the TV.

One solution is to detox your child from screens completely. This means ensuring that they don’t have any access to electronic devices for a set period each day. Limiting your kids’ screen time will encourage them to find other activities to occupy their time.

Tip 2: Become more outdoorsy

It’s pretty difficult to instruct your child to do something if you never do it yourself. 

So, if you’re looking for an answer to, “How do I get my kids to spend more time outside?” It’s simple. You need to be an outdoor person as well. That’s the best way to set an example for your kids. 

Remember, kids, copy almost if not everything we do. So, if you’re indoors all the time? Guess what? Your child will prefer to stay indoors as well.

If you spend most of your time on your phone, don’t be surprised if your child is glued to the TV.

So, if you want to motivate your kids to play outside more, you need to be up for doing outdoor activities, no matter what the weather is like. This way, your kids will see that you’re not just encouraging them to play outside, but you’re also doing it yourself! And they’ll be more likely to want to join in on the fun.

Tip 3: Go outside with them! 

It’s not enough to tell your kid to go and play outside by themselves. It would be best if you accompanied them outside and engaged in some outdoor activity with them. 

Think about it, would you rather play alone with a partner? 

You don’t have to play with your kids the entire time they’re outside, but being around is enough motivation to help them engage in outdoor activities longer than 10 minutes

Tip 4. Get your kids involved in planning: 

If you involve your kids in the planning process, they’re more likely to be excited about playing outside. This could involve asking them what kinds of outdoor activities they want to do, what new games they want to try, etc. 

Better yet, you could let them help with packing the necessary gear for your outdoor activities. This way, they’ll feel like they’re part of the process and more invested in playing outside.

Tip 4. Get the proper clothing

If you’re struggling to get your child to put down the electronics and head outside, you can do a few things to increase the likelihood of their kids spending time outdoors.

One of the most important factors is the dress code. If kids are properly dressed for the weather, they are more likely to want to spend time outside. In cold weather, layering clothing is key—a base layer of long underwear followed by a thicker sweater or jacket will help keep kids warm without being bulky. 

In warm weather, loose-fitting, light-colored clothing is best—it will help reflect heat and keep kids cool. Addressing comfort issues like these can go a long way toward convincing kids to play outside more frequently.

Tip 5. Make outdoor play fun 

One sure way of encouraging your child to head outside and play is by making the outdoors fun. You can add some excitement to outdoor play by turning it into a game or treasure hunt.

Another great way is to add some adventure to your backyard with a treehouse or fort. You could also try setting up an obstacle course or setting up a water balloon or water gunfight. With a little creativity, you can make playing outside more enjoyable for the whole family.

Looking for more ideas on how to make outdoor play fun, check this video out:

10 Fun Outdoor Activities For Kids

Tip 6. Schedule outdoor playtime into the day

Scheduling outdoor playtime as part of your child’s daily routine is a fantastic way to make your child love the outdoors. And as a parent, I know that some days can be hectic, and it can seem like there’s just no time left in the day to go outside and play.

But you know that? The key here is consistency, not how many hours your child stays outside. So, even on those crazy, busy days, try to ensure that your kids have at least 30 minutes of unstructured playtime outside each day. This can be in the morning before school, the afternoon after school, or even on the weekends.

Tip 8: Explore different environments

I can’t be the only one who gets bored going to the same park every time I’m outside. And that applies to kids as well. No matter how exciting the park is, they’ll get tired of it eventually. 

And so it’s important to switch things up once in a while. Give your child plenty of opportunities to play in new environments, like the woods or the beach. Just make sure that the place is safe and kid-friendly.

Tip 9: Encourage social interaction:

When I was growing up, I used to be outside playing almost all the time. Not because the games were that interesting, but because I had friends who made the whole experience amazing.

The same applies to our kids. Try to use every opportunity you get outside to encourage your child to socialize and make new friends.

Another incredible tip to improve your child’s social skills is setting up a regular playdate with other kids in the neighborhood. This way, they’ll have someone to play with, and they’ll be more likely to want to go outside. 

Once your child has play buddies, you won’t need to force or trick them into going to play outside. If anything, you’ll have a harder time convincing them to stay indoors.

Tip 10: Make it a family affair

Make outdoor play a family event. Invite grandparents, cousins, and other relatives to join in on the fun—the more, the merrier. 

Just make sure you engage in outdoor activities that everyone will love, not just the kids. Amusement parks are great at providing well-rounded activities for everybody.

Tip 11: Take advantage of your child’s interests

Playing outside is a great way for kids to get some exercise, but it’s also an opportunity for them to explore their surroundings and use their imaginations. So how can parents encourage their kids to play outside more? One way is to create room for them to engage in activities they already love.

If your child is interested in sports, you can take them to the park to play catch or sign them up for a youth soccer league. If they prefer creative activities, you can set up an art station in the backyard or take them on nature hikes where they can collect leaves and sticks to make crafts with later. 

The key is to find out what your child is interested in and then provide opportunities to pursue those interests outdoors.

Photo by Rashid Sadykov on Unsplash

Tip 12: Be safe

There’s no doubt that outdoor play is essential for kids. It helps them to develop physically, cognitively, and socially. Unfortunately, in today’s world, there are plenty of reasons why parents might be hesitant to let their kids play outside. 

However, there are also several ways that parents can ensure the safety of their kids while they’re playing outdoors. 

Here are some safety tips:

  • Make sure your yard is well-maintained and free of hazards.
  • Keep an eye on your kids while they’re playing outside.
  • Teach your kids about stranger danger and how to stay safe when they’re out and about.
  • Choose playgrounds and parks that are well-lit and have plenty of supervision.

Tip 13: Create incentives for playing outside

Every parent knows that getting kids to play outside can be a challenge. However, there are a few tricks that you can use to motivate them. First, try offering incentives for outdoor play

For example, you could offer a special treat for every hour they spend outside. Or buy your child their favorite smoothie, milkshake, after an afternoon at the park. Additionally, you could also set up a game or activity they can only play outside.

Tip 14: Be flexible

There are days your child will run, jump and climb almost everything they can. And then there are those days they’ll prefer to sit on the grass and watch other kids play.

Instead of forcing your child to participate in all outdoor activities, it’s wise to be flexible and let them play according to their interests and energy levels.

Tip 15: Embrace Technology

As much as the goal of playing outside is to detach your kids from screens, some days, you’ll have to use technology to entice your child to spend more time in nature.

How’s that possible?

Easy. 

Have your child take photos of every flower they see. Later on, you can help them identify the type of flowers they photographed or picked with the help of Google, of course, unless you’re a botanist.

Here’s another great example. You can use the GPS tracking capabilities of your smartphone to create a fun game by hiding “treasures” around the yard or neighborhood. Thereafter, you can have the kids use the GPS to find them. 

There are also a number of great apps that can help motivate kids to get outside and be active. Using technology in creative ways can encourage your kids to get out and play more often.

15 Ways Parents Can Encourage Kids to Play Outside More

So there you have it! 15 different ways to get your child playing outside. Which ones will you try first? 

I hope you loved this post and that it gave you some great ideas for encouraging your little one to explore the world around them. 

If so, please share with your friends – we’re sure they’ll appreciate it, too!

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