For baby boomers, Generation X-rs, and generations that came before these two, having fun usually meant doing something outdoors. When you talk with children and teenagers today about things that they consider to be fun, many of them will mention things that are connected to sitting in front of a screen, be it to watch a movie, play video games, or some sort of social media interaction on the computer.
Understandably, parents are interested in encouraging their children to spend more of their time outdoors. The following are four ideas to help them do so.
Idea #1: Get Creative with Nature Photography
One of the excuses that teenagers give for not wanting to spend time outdoors is that they feel that being outdoors and in nature is boring. For these teenagers, nature photography could be the answer. It allows them to be out in nature but still make use of their electronic devices.
Social media is a big part of a teenager’s life. Being able to take photographs that are social media worthy and that garner a lot of attention on social media is a driving force for teenagers. As they learn to perfect the skill of nature photography, their work is going to attract a lot of attention on social media and is likely to garner them more friends and followers. This creates a positive feedback loop that will encourage them to want to go back in nature and spend more time in nature, striving to find new and unique photographs to take.
At the same time, these young people are able to reap the benefits of being out in nature, including getting rid of stress, learning to become energized naturally, developing a new creative project, and learning a new hobby.
Idea #2: Kids Love Gaming. Get Them to Play Games Outside
Most kids these days are obsessed with gaming. Titles like Fortnite have exploded in popularity. While it might be hard to develop good outdoor habits when your kids are gaming all of the time, there is another option. Movie blogger Steve Scott recommends setting up an outdoor video game system so that your kids can spend more time outside and still enjoy what they do. This is a great idea for summertime or for those who live on the West coast.
Many parents have purchased a projector that works well indoors or outdoors. They may purchase an outdoor screen or even use a large white sheet or some other backdrop to project the video game image on. They bring cushions outside or set up blankets in the grass. The children can then play their favorite video game under the stars.
Playing a video game outdoors gives the game a different dimension. The smells, sights, and sounds of nature can bring certain video games to life.
Idea #3: Enjoy a Fun Camping Trip
Even people who do not like to spend much time outdoors have to admit that there are a lot of aspects of camping that are really awesome. One of the nicest things about camping is being able to spend quality time with the people who you care the most about and be surrounded by nature.
Some teenagers have an instinctive rejection reflex when their parents or others mention camping. This is okay. They are simply going through the withdrawal process of being disconnected from their devices. Usually, though, after a couple of days of being surrounded by nature and after they have decompressed from the hustle and bustle that comes from modern life, most young people fall in love with camping. Campfire food is delicious. If they play a musical instrument, they can bring their guitar.
Some people have an aversion to sleeping in a tent. That’s fine. There are a number of glamorous camping spots, log cabins, and even yurts that are available. Another option is for your family to make the camping experience more glamorous by purchasing glamorous camping accessories. These allow you to turn your tent into a home away from home.
Idea #4: Get a Dog and Take It for a Walk
Walking your dog is an easy and enjoyable way to spend more time outdoors. A number of studies have shown that for people who are overweight simply going for a walk 30 minutes a day three times a week reduces blood pressure, increases energy, and creates a sense of well-being.
A simple 30 minute walk can help a person lower their weight by five percent and can help their dog lower their weight by upwards of 15 percent. Younger children and teenagers have the ability to form a strong bond with their family pet. Going for a walk with the dog a few times a the week helps to improve that relationship.
For some young people, spending years in front of a monitor or computer screen has made socialization difficult. Going on a walk with a dog is a great way for young people to feel like they have a companion as they experience the world. Along with their pet, they can take in the sights and smells around them. Many young people are surprised at what they are missing.
Loneliness and mental health issues are some of the biggest challenges facing young people today. Regular exercise and a healthy diet can go a long way in addressing these issues. Solitary walks for humans can get lonely. However, walking with your four-legged pal can minimize feelings of loneliness for both the human and the dog.
Encouraging your teenager or encouraging yourself to get up and spend more time outdoors is a lot easier said than done. If you live in an area where the climate gets cold during the winter, sometimes all you want to do is grab a cup of hot chocolate and watch your favorite television series on Netflix. However, if you take advantage of some of the above-mentioned tips, you may find that you enjoy the time you spend out doors, you feel healthier, you have a reduction of stress, and your brain functions better.
What tips have you used to get yourself or family members to spend more time outdoors? Let us know in the comments section below.