The summer season is a glimpse in the past, and we’re well into the autumnal season with childcare and school schedules to adhere to. The lackadaisical, wild and free activities around the beach and camping have concluded, but there are still many outdoor adventures to enjoy.
Cooler weather can draw kids back indoors and into the ever-loving embrace of electronics, so help curb this habit and advocate that your child spend time moving around in the outdoors!
Screen Time statistics
Now that kids have even more access to electronics than ever before, it’s natural that they spend most of their free time in front of screens. New research from the University of California, Los Angeles has found that increased screen time in children is inhibiting their capability to recognize emotions, and spending just five days away from technology can reverse this effect. Many schools and early childhood programs are jumping at the chance to get technology such as ipads into classrooms, but at what social cost?
Babies learn and mimic face-to-face interactions, and this need doesn’t go away, so how is technology changing this innate human behavior?
How much technology is too much?
The American Academy of Pediatric (AAP) recommendations for screen time include:
Two year-olds and younger – none at all
Children ages three through 18 – two hours per day
How to limit screen time
Most of us grew up in a generation where TV was the only screen we had access to, so we know that reducing screen time in kids is absolutely doable. Experts have suggested placing kids on a “healthy media diet,” but just consider what you were doing as a child and follow that. After all, most of us were riding our bikes to the park, or playing kickball with the neighborhood kids; a solution is very simple.
Activities to get your kids outside
With screen time and childhood obesity still rising, take advantage of the fall weather with bountiful outdoor activities!
Good ol’ fashioned yard work – Teach your children about hard work and perseverance by putting them to work in the yard; have them rake leaves, mulch, and clear dead limbs.
Jump in the leaves – Remember the yard work your kids just helped you with? Now have fun with them and jump in the piles of leaves. It’s amazing how incessantly long kids will run and jump in the leaves, and what a great way to interact with them and get exercise.
Visit a pumpkin patch – A quintessential fall activity for any age is visiting a pumpkin patch so your kiddo can find the perfect pumpkin for carving. Many times these attractions tout other activities such as a corn maze, or hay bale rides.
Sidewalk chalk – Insight creativity in your little one with a wide variety of colorful sidewalk chalk. You can opt for specific instructions on what to draw or let their imagination run wild. For older children you could do math problems, but the classic hop scotch always brings smiles.
Traditional games – If you have a couple of kids at the house, teach them the classics. Games such as Red Rover, Red Light Green Light, Simon Says, or Ring Around the Rosy; keep traditional school yard games alive!
Plan an outdoor obstacle course – Did you ever play “don’t touch the ground” or “lava” as a kid? This obstacle course can have the same principles: set up items that kids can walk, crawl, and jump on. But, beware…don’t touch the ground!
A fireside escape – On the especially chilly fall evenings, build a backyard fire and roast marshmallows and tell fireside ghost stories.
Family camp out – Continue your bonfire well into the night with your kids and put up a tent with plenty of blankets and pillows to snuggle with! Make hand puppets with flashlights and read many bedtime stories.
Take a color walk – Before your walk, decide on a color for your kiddo to search for, and throughout the stroll, have them point or take pictures of everything of that color they find.
Ready to play outside?
Now that you have activities to keep you busy for days, consider checking out Child World’s Academy for the time you can’t spend with your child. They have excellent staff who are ready to engage and play with your child outside!