The culture that children are growing up in these days is vastly different from the seventies and eighties, even from the nineties. Our definition of having a lot of fun back when we were younger is going outside and playing. But these days making our kids step out of the house and away from the WiFi coverage is starting to become a chore. But there is still a chance, a big one if your kid is still young, to make them want to go out every day. Let's teach them hobbies they can only do outdoors. Here are ten great ones to try with them now.
It may be a good idea to ease them into doing stuff outdoors especially if our kids are really more of the indoorsy kind of child. They're like vampires, hissing at the sight and feel of the sunlight, so take it slow.
Let's try activities that require less physical effort and skill. Hula hoop is a good first-time outdoor activity for girls, they kind of have the knack for it. Our boys can try playing catch, not with a baseball and mitt right away, or a frisbee. There's available kid-friendly baseball gear and "soft" frisbees you can buy right out of Amazon.
Stargazing is an intimate, educational, and serene-type of a hobby we can do with the kids. Set up a tent outside on a clear star-riddled night, lie down side by side, and start looking at the sky. Teach the kids the common constellations, how to catch a falling star and whisper a quick wish, and just talk about anything under the glimmering stars. In the daytime we can still do it, same scenario but cloud watching this time.
Make a game out of cloud formation by trying to imagine stuff from the shapes of the clouds. A very easy activity that can turn into a favorite hobby and gets our kids outdoors for sure.
Taking walks to the park is a nice pastime and a good way to enjoy fresh air, but let's try to make it more than that for the kids.
Let's have them looking forward to a nice afternoon or morning walk that leads to their pot of gold at the end, a nice big playground in the park. It's a great way to get them off their butts and outside the house, and also an opportunity to make new friends. Playgrounds are made for children, but let's not let our guard down. Keep a close eye or join them while they play and don't forget snacks and refreshments.
Children a little older may find the hula hoops, jump ropes and Frisbees a little under their age bracket, so let's have them try a hobby that would challenge them. Skateboards are hip and cool, boys drool over the image of them whipping a skateboard trick in front of their friends.
But safety first, get helmets and pads to avoid bumps and bruises. Girls may find skateboards quite fun, too. But if in case they don't, we have roller skates for them. And if they want to graduate from roller skates, let's get them a nice new pair of rollerblades.
If our child doesn't want to get out of the house, they're just at home with their gadgets and tech, and we've tried to entice them with cool toys for the outdoors without any luck, we don't give up.
We broaden our horizons and scan the neighborhood for places like creeks, rivers, lakes, hiking trails, and the seaside, areas that are safe for kids to play in. Once we find one, take the necessary preparations then announce to them that you are going on an excursion. Make it a surprise or not, whatever works best for them, then make it such a fun outing for everyone that next weekend they'll ignore their gadgets and ask to go back there.
We've all learned how to ride bikes when we were kids, that's a fact. But if it isn't for you, then start learning with your kids. Riding bikes is the first taste of freedom a human being truly experienced, young and carefree, we just pedal on with our friends and let the bikes take us wherever.
We'd ride after school and come back home in time for dinner. Those were the days. Also, biking is a hobby that's a form of exercise. Start by teaching them to balance, then having a ride with them to build their confidence. A good alternative to bikes is scooters.
Our kids could have hobbies without going outdoors, they may have collections of stamps, action figures, comic books, and that big collection of apps on their gadgets. What we can do is build on that behavior and encourage them to have a new collection that would require them to be outdoors.
A leaf or rock collection is good for a start, get them the materials to aid them in their collection, tools, gear, and outfit, for social media postings. Then get them started in the yard, make them realize the place is not big enough for more specimens, then they'd be outdoors every day, just like that.
What we can do for our children, while they're toddlers, is to "Inception" them into liking a sport. Let's put up a small hoop with rubber basketballs for them to play with, or a small soccer goal (Little Tikes and VRTech has those) while they're still too young to be left alone outside. As they grow older, playing basketball or soccer all the time, it would be easier to make them like outdoor sport when the right time comes. They'd be going out with friends everyday scoring goals on the field or shooting hoops and splashing threes like they're Steph or Klay.
Photography may be the easiest hobby we can get our kids to pick up, especially for those kids at that age where they are already emotionally connected to their phones or gadgets. Their devices have cameras, so invite them to go out and bring it with them. Like a security blanket, they will clutch it tight and reluctantly say okay.
Once out, propose a game of scavenger hunt, but with a twist. Tell them it's going to be a photo scavenger hunt. Give them a list of things they should photograph, some require selfies with them, some not. They'll have fun with it, for sure, then shower them with praises at how great their photos look and how they can be professional photographers.
This hobby is more for us, really than for the kids. But anything to get their hands off that device and outside with the 4-dimensional creatures would be good news. Curious little kids would have a fun day with their parents helping out in the garden, making a mess of themselves at the same time, too. The older kids, we'd have to urge them more. Give them something to look forward to, a plant that grows fast and bears fruit that they can harvest themselves. The satisfaction they get from growing their own plants and harvesting food will be priceless. Who knows, they might have a green thumb.