With the school year ending, it's time to get outside

With the school year ending, and warm weather finally setting in, it’s the perfect time to take advantage of outdoor activities with your children. A recent study reported in the Daily Mail showed that children would rather watch television, play video games and even do homework or chores than go play outside.

On average, young children spend 5.5 hours per week playing outdoors, and only 4.5 hours outdoors on the weekend. That’s about half as much time as their parents spent. With children spending far less time outdoors than previous generations, 54% of parents “seriously worry” that their children need to spend more time playing outside. However, 43% of parents admit relying on schools to get their kids outside.

Outdoor play is important for children not only to stay healthy and physically active, but to be able to go out and socialize with friends. Children who play outside have improved concentration and focus in the classroom. Playing outdoors with others as part of a group or team also promotes problem-solving and leadership skills.

When you’re playing outdoors, encourage your children to use imaginative and creative skills to create their own games. No matter what it takes – help your children explore and play in the great outdoors.

Here’s a list of 15 ideas to help get you started:

1. Fly a kite
2. Explore the local park
3. Go for a bike ride
4. Chalk up the driveway and sidewalk
5. Go on a bug hunt
6. Take a short (or long) camping trip
7. Catch a butterfly
8. Take a nature hike
9. Go berry picking
10. Go for a swim
11. Search for wild animal tracks
12. Go flower picking
13. Start a game of hide and seek
14. Play a game of tennis, basketball, kickball and baseball
15. Visit a local mini golf course

Share your ideas for getting kids unplugged and outside.