Why Play Inside? Live an Active Life Outdoors this Summer
With the sun out, you have a fantastic opportunity to get some much-needed vitamin D, as well as encourage some healthy habits for your children and learn a little about God in the process. While it can be hard to get momentum, an active life can be much more fun than resorting to the comforts of electronics and air-conditioning. Here are some things you can do to live a more active life.
When I was a child, we would pull stuff (junk, sports equipment, jump ropes—whatever we could find) out of our garage and arranged it into an obstacle course. The bike helmets and basketballs we used as cones that we had to weave around. We propped up a hula hoop on a tree that we had to crawl through without touching the sides. Not only were these courses really fun and great exercise, but they also taught us to be creative and think outside the box.
For a more permanent obstacle course, you can build simple obstacles to use over and over again. This ninja warrior obstacle course is a great example. You could even time your kids every so often so they can set goals and see their times improve as they train. This is a great way to build lasting habits for an active life. For a simpler activity, you may consider a two-dimensional obstacle course.
While many kids are satisfied with a good old-fashioned game of tag, you can always ramp it up with a themed version of this pastime. This can often make more room for kids to use their imaginations, which can keep them invested for hours. In my childhood we invented a game that we called “The Robber Game” which involved the robber tagging people and then hiding them so that the other players had to find them and tag them so they could be “unfrozen” and escape. There are many existing variations on the tag game for you to peruse.
There are so many things that can be done with water to promote summer fun and active life for kids. Here are a few ideas:
Have a water balloon fight
Get out the sprinkler—sometimes running through it is entertaining enough
Make a slip and slide—directions here
Play sprinkler limbo
Fun Family Outings
A trip to the swimming pool will give your kids a stellar opportunity to live an active life. Swimming is great for one’s physical fitness because it engages all of your muscle groups and promotes flexibility, balance, and posture. Plus, knowing how to swim is a great foundational skill for all sorts of other activities that promote an active life. Summer provides a great opportunity for children to learn how to swim, and through facing any fears they may have, many children learn how to depend on God.
“When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee.” Isaiah 43:2a
Hiking is also a great way to get the family outside to worship God and appreciate the detail in His handiwork. Get started by familiarizing yourself with trails that aren’t far from your home, and aim to hike as often as you can. Hiking is a great way to get some exercise, find the time and space to talk, learn perseverance, and enjoy God’s creation as a family. Here are ten family hiking tips to get you started.
What is more fun than hunting for secret treasures? Many of us have heard of geocaching, but for those of you who don’t want to invest in a GPS to play, letterboxing may be your thing. Here are some detailed instructions on letterboxing. You can look up letterbox locations near you and follow a set of clues to find the secret location of the letterbox. To get started all you need is a stamp, an ink pad, and a little notebook. When you find the letterbox, you’ll add your stamp to show you were there, and you’ll use the location stamp to stamp your own book. Make sure to be stealthy! Finding ways to incorporate the gospel into your stamp can also provide an opportunity to share the good news with others!
Listening to an outdoor concert can be a great source of family fun and activity. Check and see what kind of outdoor concerts are available in your city. Some concerts may take place in parks where kids can run around, or there may be dancing for you to participate in—or initiate if you’re feeling bold. Perhaps a Christian artist or band will be visiting your area. This is a great opportunity to worship God as a family in song and dance.
Find a water source near you and just go hang out. Jump off of things into the water, build sand castles, eat snacks, read a book, play volleyball, float, swim, drink lemonade, catch a frog, canoe, take pictures, or draw in the sand.
Maybe you want a couple days of outdoor fun with your family. This would be a great time to go camping. Consider inviting some family or church friends along, too. Check out these 10 essential tips for family camping. This could be a great time to teach your kids some essential outdoor skills: starting and managing a fire, first aid, outdoor cooking, collecting water, finding/setting up a shelter, identifying wildlife and plantlife, etc.
All this fun in the sun is sure to bring your family closer together, inspire deeper awe for God’s creation, and promote an active life for everyone in your family. We at Enlightium Academy believe that investing in these types of activities will enrich your relationships with one another, promote growth in your walk with God, and create a healthy home environment for your family to reach its full potential.