There are kids who just want to get outside. It doesn’t matter what they’re doing as long as they’re out of doors, in the sunshine.
And then there are kids who dread it.
Kids who kick, and scream, and fight, and would much rather be indoors, playing video games, or watching a movie, or reading a book. Anything, as long as they don’t have to get outside.
Those kids, however, need to get outside, too—and it’s even worse if it’s in the middle of winter, when they’re not getting enough sunlight anyway. Kids, like, plants, need sunshine to grow. Unlike plants, children become moody, difficult, and grumpy when they aren’t exposed to enough sunshine.
What’s a parent to do—especially when it’s damp, rainy, or otherwise less than desirable to be outside?
Make it fun!
Unfortunately, in the Knoxville area, snow isn’t an option nearly as often as it is in other areas. “Winter” in Knoxville tends to mean grey, wet, and just cold enough that playing in the rain doesn’t sound like fun. However, there are some things that you can do to keep it interesting.
Go on a scavenger hunt. Give your kids a list of things to find as they take a walk outside. If you’re lucky enough to be able to go to the park, you might have them seek out a duck, or a squirrel, or a dog on a leash. If you’re in your own neighborhood, have them look for certain kinds of flowers, or trees, or different signs on houses.
Play games. When our kids were younger, my best friend and I would take them to the park and play a modified version of “Red Light, Green Light.” When we said, “Green light!” they were to run as fast as they could—until we yelled, “Red light!” Them, they had to stop and wait for us to catch up…or for us to tell them to run again. They didn’t realize until much later that this got them far enough away from us that we could carry on adult conversations without little ears listening in.
We also play silly walks games. Your child could walk like an elephant, bounce like a kangaroo, prowl like a tiger…the possibilities are endless. When they start to get bored, switch it up!
Invite friends. All kids are more likely to engage in active play if they’re not alone.
Get them out, get them moving, and when possible, expose them to sunlight. It’s not always easy; but even in the middle of winter, there are plenty of things to do outside!