Go Out and Play!
It’s a sad proven reality that children these days do not get enough fact, and even sadder still that there are now video games activities to “help solve” the problem. For mother and father faced with pasty-skinned, obese children sitting like zombies on the sofa, the problem can be an psychological one. We wonder what we did wrong to turn our children into sofa slugs. We wonder if our children would feel more secure in a better neighborhood. We try to provide “activities” to fill our kid’s need for exercise and social connections, but the point is, they just need to go out and play.
Telling your children to go out and “do something” is simpler said than done, though. A lot of children just do not know what to do when they are left to their own devices; as opposed to children of only a few years ago, searching for worms in the dust just is not interesting. Going sportfishing is risky in a lot of places. Playing in the park area is often out of the question, due to drug and gang activity, violence, etc. A lot of people do not even have yards, and even those who do are sometimes hesitant to allow the neighborhood children to come over and “tear factors up” playing kickball.
There are several ways to motivate outdoor play, though, provided you will find a safe, easily observed area for your children to play in. You may have to go out and play with your children at first, until they are relaxed with the concept of playing outside on their own. Yes, there really are children who are afraid to play outside alone. And you really should not leave your younger ones outside by themselves, in any case.
You can begin with something as easy as starting a patio garden with your child. Kids, especially younger ones, love to watch things grow, and a patio garden only needs a bit of attempt.Plant some flowers in pots, maybe a salad box, a few herbs, etc. Let your children take care of the plants. If you grow edibles, teach your children how to cook whatever they have started.
Another concept is to begin a sidewalk art mural. Get a big pail of shaded chalk, and have the children begin drawing. Help them design a mural if you need to. Get down there on the sidewalk with them and color!
If you really have no outdoor play area near your home, take the children to a recreation area at least twice a week. Pack a picnic lunch, drinks, and carry sun block, and watch your kids play. Teach your children basic guidelines of safety, such as not going with anybody they don’t know, preventing individuals who look or act drunk, etc.
If there happens to be unfilled lot in your neighborhood, start asking around to find out who operates it. If you can case enough others who live nearby, you can sometimes get the city to buy a unfilled lot and turn it into a pocket park.
The most essential thing you can do to motivate your children to play, though, is to get down on their level and play with them. In the house or out, play is the business of children, and should be taken just as seriously as their education or health.
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