Disclosure: This post is the the second in a series of sponsored posts as a Brand Ambassador for the ARKANSAS BETTER BEGINNINGS program. I am doing this because I believe in their mission. Everything expressed will be my own opinion. #ARBB
It seems like in the age we live in that we have to pry ourselves away from technology. Adults and teens are always checking something “important” on a cell phone or lap top. At home and school kids are glued to game consoles or TV. We’re so paranoid of strangers we don’t let them play outside without us.
We’ve been trying to get outside as a family at least one day a week. Arkansas has so many beautiful parks and trails!
This past week we went on a slow hike on the Two Rivers Park trail.
What do you see?
A few bottles of water, some snacks in a backpack, and the family was all we needed for a fun Sunday stroll.
With the older kids we played some games as we walked:
One was “What living creatures do you see or see evidence of?”
(They found people, dogs, butterflies, bees, wasps, spiders, and trails that deer had made.)
We also played “What shapes can you find?”
(My son saw vertical lines in the pine trees, angles in the bent branches and grass, spheres in the berries.)
Their favorite game was “If you were stranded in the forest, what could you eat?”
(This gave us a good discussion on what was and wasn’t edible and we took pictures to research berries and mushrooms.)
They ran and climbed trees.
For the baby there was so much to see, and hear, and smell. Learning with all the senses.
But the best part was that we had fun as a family together! Did you know that studies have shown that children who play outdoors have less stress and anxiety, better cognitive development, lessened ADHD symptoms, better vision, and more Vitamin D?
Other great ideas to get your kids outside NOW:
Lie on a blanket and name shapes in the clouds
Watch the birds at a bird feeder
Plant a garden or help with a community garden
Splash in a puddle together
Make a designated “NO TECHNOLOGY” day
Catch fireflies in a jar
Find some constellations in the stars or have them name their own
If you have a male child in your house you probably can sympathize with the shmuck I hear myself saying lately…
“No, we cannot play Minecraft at the dinner table.”
“I don’t want to hear another word about a Creeper.”
“Please don’t talk about making cow traps anymore.”
“No more computer for a week!”
“Yes, it is as hot as the Nether today.”
“Wait til I get your daddy to disconnect the X-Box!”
Their artwork for the school fundraiser was even of GLaDOS (from Portal.)
Yeah, Lovely isn’t she?
They get so incredibly sucked in.
At our local Cub Scout camp I had to laugh when the geologist giving a talk about mineral hardness said diamonds were the hardest on the Mohs scale and the boys all looked confused and said “But what about Obsidian? Isn’t it harder?” (Minecraft strikes again…)
I honestly just don’t get it. (Of course, I can’t even play Mario without getting dizzy.)
I was thinking about how my generation (forty-ish’s) is probably the last one that just played outside. I mean “Back in My Day” video games were still played in a social settting. If you wanted to play the latest game you went to the arcade and met your buddies there. Your dollars would run out and you’d inevitably end up playing a game of kick-ball or football or something. Only the elite few had a game system in their houses and, let’s face it, the games were so incredibly boring no one wanted to stick around playing them for very long. Pong, anyone?
But, my brother’s generation was hooked. By the time he was a teen home game systems were already fairly elaborate. (But they still went outside!)
My kids? I have to unplug everything to get them to play outside. I honestly love the days when they are “in trouble” and have all technology taken away. (A lot lately.)
If our generation had the technology our kids do would we still be the same?
Nope. I don’t think so.
I think instead of calling friends to ride bikes or swim, or go play “tennis ball” (our version of baseball with a tennis raquet- meant to prolong the game) we might have been sucked into the virtual worlds too. I probably would have been reading on a Nook or surfing the web (or blogging.) My buddies probably would be Minecraft or Portal freaks like my own kids. And cell phones? Wow.
Makes me a little scared. Makes me want to not connect the TV at the new house and secretly lose the games in the move.
Of course, I’d have to lose my iPad and computer too… (now who’s obsessed.)