Our home is our sanctuary. It is a safe and beautiful place for rest and refueling. We relax, eat delicious meals, play games, and have conversations as a family in our home. Sometimes, we play too many computer games, watch too much tv, and stay glued to our cell phones. Life is all about balance, so let’s look at reasons to get outside!
Get outside to enjoy fresh air and sunshine.
Here in Hawaii, we love hiking and visiting scenic spots–both are great outdoor activities. However, just getting out in your own neighborhood or a local park is great, too. The air is fresh–not recirculated and conditioned like in your home, at work, or at school. Get your lungs full of fresh outdoor air!
Stop and smell the flowers of any kind. Take time to notice the grass, the shrubs, and the trees wherever you are. You won’t believe how many shades of green you’ll notice.
Feel the sun on your skin (after applying sunscreen, of course). Experience the need to shield your eyes from the sun, and the comfort of a big shady tree.
Be sure to go outside during or just after a rain shower, too–not just on sunny days. Take an umbrella, and enjoy the sound and smell of rain. Jump over puddles, or stomp and splash right through them!
Get more exercise.
Outside activities usually involve movement, of which almost everyone needs more. Even if you are with your kids at soccer practice, you’re hauling gear and climbing bleachers before you sit to watch. Just walking to a park can inspire you to swing on the swingset, climb the monkey bars, or slide down a slide while your kids are naturally inclined to run and play.
A long walk in your neighborhood allows you to become more familiar with the people, houses, pets, and other sights and sounds in your area. It also provides an opportunity for you to wave and say hello to your neighbors.
Take a break from electronics.
Again, life is all about balance. Grown-ups can be in front of a computer screen all day at work, and kids at school can, too. Instead of coming home and staring at the TV or your phone screen, get outside! It is difficult to use your phone for social media outside, so just put it on silent and play.
Enjoy different conversations when you are outside.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to talk to your kids about something other than chores and homework? Being outside and doing outdoor activities can provide opportunities for different conversations.
My children and I hiked up a local trail one afternoon last week. The five of us were together at the beginning of the hike and at the summit; between those times, we paired off and one of the kids went back and forth between the fast pair and the slow pair. Conversation varied from life happenings, to the view, to the strenuous effort of the hike. There were also several great memories discussed during that time. Afterwards, we drove home discussing everything about the actual hike. It was a fun experience and a great excuse for out-of-the-ordinary conversation. The hike was free, and the memories are priceless!
Make memories outside.
Most importantly, being outside with your kids is a great opportunity for creating memories! I remember a hike we took when hubby was the scout leader for my son’s troop. I made a list of trees to identify, like a scavenger hunt, and gave each scout a printout and short pencil. It wasn’t an exotic park in a distant location–just a beautiful, wooded park nearby. That was a special hike, and it created memories for all of us!
In summary, it is important to have time outside, playing and having fun with your children. Be spontaneous in your neighborhood, and plan bigger hikes and other activities at parks and scenic places!