Spring is in the air! Time to throw open the windows, freshen up the house and head outdoors to enjoy some fun in the sun. There is nothing quite like enjoying the sunshine and flowers outside with your little ones.
6 Reasons Your Kids Should Play Outside
According to Harvard Medical School, there are six huge benefits to kids playing outdoors:
- Exposure to sunshine. Everyone needs Vitamin D. Just be sure you slather your toddler’s skin in sunscreen to prevent burns.
- Exercise. Kids should be active every day. Outdoor play is great for running, jumping and more!
- Executive Function. Kids need unstructured time, away from mom and dad (although still under parental supervision) to play alone or with other children to learn about problem solving and imaginative play.
- Risk-taking. Being in nature encourages kids to take risks! They might climb a tree, or swing high on a swing or walk on uneven paths. These are all great lessons in risk-taking for kids.
- Socialization. Being outdoors, with siblings or other children, allows to kids to interact and play together.
- Appreciation of nature. Sure, it’s easy to appreciate flowers from your window. But it’s even better to appreciate them close up! Allowing your kids to play in the dirt, the sand, the grass and so on teaches them to be curious and excited about the outdoors.
If you can’t make it to the park or a nature preserve frequently, that’s okay! You can create your own outdoor oasis and encourage outdoor play with a few toys and a lot of imagination.
How to Create Your Outdoor Wonderland with Kids’ Toys
Regardless of how big your outdoor space is, you can create a spot for kids to learn and play by snapping up a few toys that will encourage your toddlers and kids to want to go outside.
No need to purchase these toys new! Outdoor toys are meant to get dirty. GoodBuyGear enables you to purchase gear, including outdoor toys, secondhand and give these items new life with your kids for a fraction of the original cost! Likewise, when your kids outgrow their current outdoor toys, you can sell them on GoodBuyGear’s marketplace and spend the money you make buying more fun outdoor toys for your kids!
5 Must-Have Kids Outdoor Toys
- A scooter. A scooter should be the number one item on your must-have list, and there are several reasons why. First, your kiddo can use a scooter up and down your driveway, on the sidewalks near your home and so on. It fits easily in the car to take to the park or a friend’s house. You can buy scooters for all age groups. And, the number one reason to buy a scooter? It encourages you to get outdoors, too! Find a park with a cement jogging and walking trail, bring your kiddo’s scooter, lace up your sneakers and run or walk alongside your child. Fun for both of you!
- A huge bucket of chalk. If you are on a budget this spring, chalk is one toy you can purchase inexpensively and entertain your kids for hours. Draw them a hopscotch and teach them the way you played in the schoolyard as a kid. Help them draw a roadway to drive a scooter or a bike down. Draw self-portraits or practice writing skills. The possibilities are endless!
- A sandbox. If your outdoor spaces allows for it, you can’t go wrong with a sandbox and a few plastic toys from the dollar store. You can purchase a large plastic sandbox and fill it with sand, or, if you are handy, you can DIY a sandbox fairly inexpensively. Fill it with clean sand and let the kids play! Challenge the kids to see who can build a bigger sandcastle or have them make you a lunch out of sand objects and see how creative they can be!
- Water guns. There is something so fun about grabbing your friends and having a water gun fight. Whether you buy big, fancy Super Soakers or inexpensive plastic water guns from the dollar store, water guns are hours of fun. Help your kids create some “bunkers” in your outdoor space by using large cardboard boxes or moving chairs around. You can then place buckets of water behind the bunkers to allow kids to refill quickly and get back in the game when they run out of water. Even better, water guns are portable and can be brought to friends’ houses or the park!
- A rubber ball. Another inexpensive object, a rubber ball allows kids to get creative. Kids can practice their dribbling skills on the cement or learn to play foursquare with the ball and some chalk. They can grab multiple rubber balls and play dodgeball with friends or just a simple came of catch if the kids are younger. Rubber balls can be kicked or tossed- so many possibilities! Challenge kids to come up with their own backyard game involving one or more rubber balls and then try to play their invented game with them!
No matter how big your outdoor play space is, encourage kids to go out there often. Put together an outdoor scavenger hunt and offer a cold Popsicle as a prize. Make crafts out of sticks or flowers. Go on a bug hunt. Start your kids on the path to be outdoor lovers early!