6 Low-Tech Gifts to Get Your Kids Outdoors
Getting kids to head outdoors for fresh air, sunshine, and exercise seems harder than it used to be. It’s difficult to compete with video games, 24-hour cartoon networks, and texting with friends. One way to make the outdoors more appealing is to give gifts that make the great outdoors more appealing. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Image via Flickr by tejvanphotos
Bikes are a kid’s first taste of freedom. With a good helmet and a thorough understanding of road safety, a bicycle lets a child leave the neighborhood, meet up with friends, and even run errands for mom. If your whole family is bike-ready, you can ride together on scenic trails and enjoy nature and a great workout.
Skateboarding is a great way to get kids outside. Controlling a skateboard promotes balance, coordination, and confidence, and can be done solo or in groups. Skateboards come in a huge array of designs, so you’ll have no problem finding one that is an expression of your child’s unique personality and vision.
Inline roller skates or ice skates make a wonderful gift. You probably remember spending afternoons at the skating rink as a child or skating with your crush on a Friday or Saturday night. Most parks have paved trails that are suitable for rollerblading as well. Ice skates are a great gift for kids who are into hockey or who live in cold climates where outdoor ice will be available in winter.
Turning your yard into the neighborhood playground is a great way to encourage active play and good sportsmanship. Baseball or softball equipment is a perennial favorite, and kickball is popular for teaching baseball skills before kids are coordinated enough to use a bat. If your kids are a little less athletic, consider a badminton set. The lightweight badminton birdie moves through the air slowly, giving kids a chance to train their hand-eye coordination and improve their swing. Kids still enjoy old-fashioned favorites like cricket, too.
If you have a smooth asphalt driveway or a paved patio, a basketball hoop will give hours of play. Kids can practice for the team, play HORSE or one-on-one with a friend, or get teams together. Shooting hoops is a great way to burn off steam, get exercise, improve coordination, and bond with friends or family. Basketball is a game that parents and kids often enjoy playing together, so it’s great for family bonding.
If you have space and a budget that allows you to put a trampoline in your yard, you will be a hero to the neighborhood kids. The key to safety is to put an enclosure around it so kids can’t miss the landing. Most trampolines come with an enclosure, but you can also buy a separate kit if necessary.
Adding a few games and pieces of sporting equipment to your outdoor environment will help you get your kids moving, and might even lure mom and dad outside for some active playtime as well.