It’s not easy getting kids outdoors these days. You’re competing against video games, TV and all sorts of handheld electronic devices, but my wife and I are still able to get them out, although it gets harder and harder.
Eventually I know they’ll come around (as I did) and realize the things outside are much more memorable, challenging, and fun than anything done inside (excluding sex, but that’s fun outside too).
For now though, we have to trick em into getting outside and playing. It’s easy to take them skiing and rafting, these are big fun expeditions that they love to do but we can’t do those things all the time, especially in Winter. So, like I said were forced to trick em into going outside on a more regular basis.
For instance, for Christmas, Santa brought my two young boys airsoft shotguns and pistols. These are the perfect toy for getting kids outside. They obviously can’t shoot them inside, but they desperately want to shoot them, so they beg me to go outside and shoot with them.
Eventually shooting targets turns to shooting at each other and pretty soon we’ve spent the entire cold winter day outside running around like little boys are supposed to.
I know in today’s PC world were not supposed to teach our kids war games, but if I didn’t play army growing up nearly every day, I probably wouldn’t have left my sweet Atari system. The ends justify the means, in this case.
When were out there running around hunting each other down, there is no boredom, the outdoors become a battlefield full of all sorts of possibilities. The fresh air rejuvenates the soul and makes them sleep the sleep of the truly tired. They want to go to bed after a day of outdoor play.
Another way we trick them is to tell them about the games we used to play when we were their ages. For instance my buddy had a muddy field that had a bit of a slope to it, when it rained that field became an absolute slippery slide.
It just so happens that we have a muddy field in our back yard and after telling them this story, wouldn’t you know it, my boys were putting on grubby old sweat pants and hand-me-down shirts and were heading outside to play in the mud.
My hope is, once the kids get enough outdoor exposure and realize how much fun they’re having outside, they won’t want to be inside much. Of course this may be a pipe dream because they see me inside playing my X-box 360 sometimes which reminds them of their systems. (bad daddy!)
But when they’re older and looking back on their childhood will they remember what level they reached in Halo 3, or that day they played in the mud until dark? It’s a no brainer.