Guest blogger shares why and how to get kids playing

If there is one thing moms worry about less and less nowadays, it is washing clothes stained with mud and dirt. That sure makes laundry day a little lighter but it is not entirely something to be happy about. This also shows that technology and modern gadgets have taken over our kids’ childhood. Screens and the Internet have successfully pushed toy cars and dolls aside. Mobile apps are their cool playmates now.

An infographic by Playground Equipment tried to answer the millennial question: why don’t kids play outside anymore? Here’s why: 75% of American kids under eight years old have access to smartphones or tablets and what is even alarming is the 38% of toddlers under two years old who already know how to manipulate a mobile device. Seventy-two percent of children use mobile devices for playing games, watching videos, or using apps and while most parents still encourage their kids to play outside, only 40% would actually take the advice. Instead, young Americans spend 7 ½ hours everyday on electronic devices.

The launch of “Not Available on the App Store” stickers by three Hyper Island students could not be any more timely. They place the stickers on the playground to remind children and parents that the benefits of outdoor play cannot be found on the virtual set-up.

Make use of the porch

There a ton of activities you can do with your child to keep them away from all these modern gadgets. If you are lucky to have a porch or a backyard, make good use of it. Give them a place on the porch where they can display all their treasures.

Have your own “Survivor” games in the yard. You may also set up an obstacle course – hopscotch on a used tire, crawl under a table, walk through a wading pool, toss a water balloon at a target or shoot a basketball.

Walk them outside

You can’t be too busy to walk your kids around the neighborhood. When you need to pick up something from the grocery, take them to a stroll and let them appreciate natural parks or landmarks. When driving and your kids remarked about the library, take them there. If you live in an area close to a playground, set play dates. Take advantage of natural resources and take your kids on a fishing trip or a picnic by the lake. Research about the nice things in your neighborhood. Kids will love these places more if they have a nice story to them.

Kids will always be kids. While theirs is a time of remarkable technology, kids will always have the innate love for discovery and adventure. Do not take that away from them. Remember that the joy they get from playtime is something that you can’t buy from the app store. Never mind the mud-spattered laundry, there is a how-to for that.

About the Author: Jeanette Anzon is a freelance writer and runs the blog Adventure Dweller. Follow her on Twitter @jeanetteanzon.

More Resources

Kids jumping in the air
Kids jumping in the air

June 17, 2024

Games to Play in the Summer ›

Summertime is here!  The first few weeks of summer bring fun and excitement and the return of free time and fun, seasonal activities. But as the summer stretches on, it…

January 12, 2024

Indoor Recess Transition Plan ›

From snow and cold to rain, smog, and everything in between, weather can throw a wrench in your outdoor recess plans. When inclement weather strikes, transitioning to indoor play can…

Junior Coach holding ball
Junior Coach holding ball

September 20, 2023

Empowered youth to community leaders ›

The importance of youth leadership programming in elementary schools Childhood is spent brimming with fascinations of the future – ideas of what infinite potential can amount to, ambitions of fulfilling…