How to get kids outdoors during these summer school holidays!
The summer school holidays seem to just last forever, don’t they?
Long, lazy days with the sun beating down on the empty backyard. The pool lays still, not a ripple breaking the surface. The dogs go un-walked. The lawn goes un-mowed. Soccer balls cry themselves to sleep, desperate to be kicked by someone, anyone, just once. A million adventures go un-taken. But why?
Because the kids are laying around inside. Watching television. Playing on their phones and devices. Complaining about being bored.
Let’s Flip the Script
Our mission for these summer school holidays is to get these slugs UP and OFF the couch and OUT into the sunshine instead. And here are some ways that we’re going to do it. You in?
Summer of Love
No, not that kind of love.
These summer school holidays, encourage your children to socialise with their friends. You know, face to face instead of over the computer.
You could form a collective of like-minded parents (with children of similar ages) and take it in turns to host tech-free play parties. Provide the kids with some appropriate outdoor activities (swimming, backyard cricket, cubby house building) and let them at it.
They’ll be rusty at first. Today’s children tend to be inside creatures, afraid of the harsh glow of the sun (as opposed to the glare from their devices). But, after a few goes at it, it’ll become a healthy practice that they just might want to continue.
This next idea has a fair bit going for it.
Suggest to your (age appropriate) children that they try to ‘give back’ to the neighbourhood a little bit while making some cash at the same time. A little summer side hustle, if you will.
This might mean:
- Mowing lawns and weeding
- Providing a dog walking service (or a dog-sitting service if people are going on holidays)
- Bringing bins in and out
- Odd jobs (that are safe for them to do)
- Collecting mail for people who have gone on holidays
- Washing cars
Task your children with coming up with a business name and some flyers and then distributing them to the neighbourhood. Even if they don’t get any clients, the very act of attempting to will instil in them the spirit of entrepreneurship and creativity – vital life skills.
Best case scenario? They’re busy bees for at least SOME of the holiday. And they’ll be earning that sweet, sweet coin while they do it.
Man’s Best Friend
Walking the dog every day is a MUST when it comes to getting the kids out of the house during the summer school holidays.
Playing in the back yard, teaching the dog new tricks and just re-affirming that bond between child and pup is a great way for everyone to burn off energy in a healthy, positive way.
You may also like: Other articles by Kell
Expand Your Own Backyard
Most areas, be they urban or rural, will have fascinating little pockets to explore. The long, lazy summer holidays are the perfect time to do just that.
Get your kids on their favourite mode of self-powered transport. Be it bike, scooter, skateboard, rollerblades or rollerskates – kid-powered is the way to go.
Use Google maps on a computer as a family to plan out specific routes. Shall you travel to the playground via the skate park? What about hitting up the new water park that the council just installed? Touring past a few friends’ houses?
Head along with the kids to get yourself some extra exercise and then, once trust is established and you know they’ll be safe, consider letting them make these journeys by themselves. Just like we did when we were kids.
We’d definitely recommend, however, advising against a lot of these adventuring in the dead heat of the day. Kids aren’t exactly savvy when it comes to sun safety and hydration a lot of the time so it’s better to ask them to go in the morning or the afternoon. Make sure they take water with them (and snacks if they’ll be gone a long time!) and to wear appropriate safety gear for their method of transportation.
You’ll find that there are lots of community-run or business-run sporting activities for kids over the summer holidays.
Depending on where you live, you might find a kick-to-kick program. There might be some outside of school hours care options that offer a range of activities. If you’re coastal, there’ll definitely be some life-saving activities going on.
If your options are more limited than that, why not start something up yourself? Encourage healthy, thoughtful movement to alleviate boredom. Exercise has untold benefits for children – the least of which being that they’ll be too puffed to complain!
Why should we be getting kids outside during the summer holidays?
There’s nothing wrong with the occasional inside day. Watching movies, creating animations and videos, playing games – these are all important parts of being a kid in today’s society and we can’t discard them.
However, to stay inside ALL day EVERY day is to miss a million opportunities to make real, lasting memories. If you look back at your own childhood, chances are you don’t think fondly of that time you spend the whole morning watching “Rocko’s Modern Life”. It was the bike adventure you took with your friends. That amazing tree that, when you climbed right to the top, gave you a vantage point over the whole suburb. It was that cubby you built and slept in that fell down in the middle of the night.
Getting your kids outside these summer school holidays won’t just make your life easier – it’ll dramatically improve theirs.