Outdoor Activities for Little Ones
Are the kids bouncing off the walls at home? Pack them up and get them out of the house to burn off some energy, get some fresh air, and make some memories.
The Benefits of Outdoor Play
Outdoor time comes loaded with added benefits that help your child be the best version of themselves. Not only is it fun for them to get out, but it’s also healthy too.
Outdoor play has many physical health benefits for children, such as cardiovascular and respiratory health, a healthier weight, and musculoskeletal fitness. On top of that, being outside improves their mental health. Kids who play outdoors can better handle stress, are better with assessing risk, and have higher executive functioning skills.
Children who play outside spend more time playing (helping sculpt their imagination) and tend to show more creativity. Getting outside also increases their social interactions and therefore helps them build friendships.
Physical benefits, check. Mental benefits, check. Social benefits, check. The outdoors gives us so many perks!
Choose Age-Appropriate Activities
If you love an outdoor activity, chances are your little bub will enjoy it as well – however, children may need time to grow into certain activities, like outdoor rock climbing. When choosing an activity, keep your child’s age and skill set in mind. That’s not to suggest you shouldn’t challenge them, just challenge them in ways where they can succeed and be proud of their accomplishments.
Outdoor Activities for the Family
Looking for some inspiration on what to do outdoors with your kids? Here are some suggestions that can spark a series of outdoor adventures.
Camping and Hiking
Hiking and camping are staples when it comes to playing outside. These activities are usually a bonding experience for the family, too. There are different levels of camping from glamping to backpacking overnighters, which suits many types of campers. Start with camping in the backyard or car camping to help your little ones adjust to it and go from there.
Hiking can be done as a day trip or when you camp. Most campsites have maps showing the nearby hiking trails. One tip: always be mindful of your child’s limitations with hiking, or you might end up carrying them on the way back.
Water sports are endless. Canoeing, kayaking, swimming, tubing, there is virtually something for everyone when it comes to water sports. All these water activities can be done by all ages, just be sure to wear your life jacket!
Discover Something New
Doing the same outdoor activities repeatedly can make them feel a little humdrum. Pack up the kids and go on an adventure to a different neighbourhood or park and find new places to play. You’re bound to come across a playground, beach, or ice cream shop. Mix up your routine and see what there is to discover further away from home.
Sports leagues or family sports days are a terrific way to get your children outside and teach them social skills and cooperation. For organized team or individual sports, you can find camps, clubs, and lessons online. Ask your child what they’re interested in and what they would like to try. There are many teams available for every age for softball, tennis, baseball, basketball, ultimate Frisbee, soccer, football, lacrosse, the list is seemingly endless.
Biking is a fundamental of childhood. The first bike ride makes a memory (hopefully a good one). This activity is one your little bubs will never outgrow. Cycling can take as much or as little time and distance as your little ones can handle. You can make a day of it, biking to a destination as a family, or go for a short ride to the end of the street and back.
Games and Crafts
Classics like tag, hide-and-seek, and capture the flag are always fun when there are enough people to play. You can also engage children who like crafts with sidewalk chalk or building and hanging a bird feeder made of a pinecone, peanut butter, and birdseed. When in doubt, blowing and chasing after bubbles is always a crowd-pleaser for little ones.
In the winter, there is a mountain of fun to be had when it snows. Take your little one sledding once snow covers the ground. Little builders can make snow sculptures, snowmen, and snow forts. Snow is always a perfect play piece (and unlike other toys, parents don’t need to figure out where to store it)!
Summer fun is always a winner, especially when it comes to finding ways to stay cool in the heat. All ages love going to any source of water and swimming – whether it’s a water park, pool, or beach. If you don’t have the luxury of being close to a safe water spot, having a sprinkler on the lawn or even a small kiddie pool can help keep your little ones cool in the hot weather.
Options for Rainy Days
Rainy days don’t have to be boring indoor days. Take the fun outside. There are a lot of different activities to be done in the rain. Just remember you need to dress differently for the weather. Have your kids wear waterproof jackets, rain boots, and rain pants.
Let your kids get messy out there. Go puddle jumping, play in the mud, look for worms or bugs, or simply dance in the rain.
What to Bring on Your Outdoor Adventures
Whenever you venture outdoors, you need to be prepared. The most important outdoor accessory is proper footwear. When you’re outside, you spend quite a bit of time on your feet. Wearing correct footwear prevents you from feeling every bump or stone and can help avoid any pain.
Whenever you leave the house, you should pack for your adventure. Packing for a trip to the park is different from packing for a trip up the mountain. To keep your little adventurers happy, make sure you pack the basics along:
- Snacks and water bottles
- A small first aid kit
- A change of clothing
- Sun protection
- Bug protection
The Outdoors are Open Year-Round
We hope you are inspired to pack up your little ones and get them outdoors. Take some pictures of your adventures, so you have some photos to go along with the memories you’re sure to make!
What are your favourite outdoor activities with your little ones?