5 Outdoor Activities To Enjoy With Your Kids

MOST PARENTS have fond memories of childhood adventures. Games like: Kick the can, Ghosts in the graveyard, Red Rover not to mention fort building or jumping in leaf piles.  We stayed outside until the street lights came up and we had to head home. Today, outdoor time has been replaced with tablets, television, video games, and mostly indoor play. It’s so bad that researchers have labeled the issue as an actual disorder, Nature Deficit Disorder. It is spring out there and a great opportunity to head outside. These are 5 fun and very beneficial outdoor activities you can enjoy with children. 

BIRD WATCHING
Fun: There are all kinds of advantages of birdwatching. It's a chance to learn about your immediate environment. Ability to recognize birds living in your area, learn about their habitats and adaptation techniques.
Benefits: Decreased risk of myopia. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, for each additional hour per week spent outdoors  people's risk of developing myopia (nearsightedness) dropped by 2%. 

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SIDEWALK GAMES
Fun: Do you remember hopscotch?
Convert your driveway or sidewalk into a fun area where and enjoy marble game, rope jumping or create beautiful chalk street art.
Benefits:  Different studies have determined that natural sunlight affects our internal body clock. With just 30-60 minutes of direct sunlight a day your sleep patterns will dramatically improve.

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NATURE SCAVANGER HUNT
Fun: Head to the local park and look for "treasure". Encourage kids to draw two or three bugs, identify animal tracks, find creatures' homes (nests, tree hollows, holes, shrubs). Listen for unique sounds and identify them. Activate your sense of smell. Look for pine needles, flowers and nuts.       
Benefits:  Walking through the forest and being totally immersed in the environment is known as forest bathing, and has been linked to boosting your immune system and improving your mood.


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TEACH KIDS YOUR CHILDHOOD GAME
Fun: Get your children moving by sharing with them one of your favorite childhood outdoor games.                                               
Benefits:  Research shows that urban environment has a negative effect on short-term memory and ability to focus. Spending time outside has been scientifically linked to cognitive improvement. Outdoor games also improve your fitness.

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CREATE ARTWORK 
Fun: Engaging in art while being outside can be a wonderful experience. All you need is chalk. Sit and watch your child create a colorful masterpiece. 
Benefits:  Research have linked time spent outdoors to lower levels of cortisol meaning less stress. IChildren tend to be more creative when they play outdoors.  

There are many fun outdoor activities for you to enjoy with your child. But most importantly, there are plenty of healthy reasons to do it. You’ll feel happier. Your body will fight infection better, and you will feel more creative and be able to drift off to sleep easier so you can start the next day rested and ready to greet the world.

Anja Willis