Getting kids active is a challenge for parents and teachers alike.
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Most 10-year olds today are all about video games, iPads, and Netflix – but too often, they're stuck indoors. It can be challenging to get them outside to play.
We all know that sitting in front of the computer all day is not good for their health and well-being. If you're a Mom who's at her wit's end trying to find fun outdoor or physical activities for an adolescent, you're not alone.
I've put together a list of fun and engaging activities to get 10-year-olds up and about so they can stay healthy!
Kids need to be outdoors.
Spending time outdoors has so many benefits for children. It gets their creative juices flowing and gives them a chance to explore.
Going outdoors is not just about breathing clean air or soaking up vitamin D. Research shows that kids who play outside have better hand-eye coordination; they learn the value of teamwork and strengthen their muscles by climbing trees or playing on a swing set.
Most importantly, kids who spend time outdoors are happier!
Interestingly, they also learn better when they play outside. It stimulates the senses and allows them to be more focused. They are less distracted by what's going on around them, making it easier for them to pay attention to their school work.
So, how do we encourage them to go out and play more?
Make physical activities about having fun.
They're too old to play tag and hide and seek, but physical activities can still be fun for 10-year-olds (or maybe they aren't!). You have to be creative and keep things interesting.
Here are a few outdoor activities you can encourage them to do with you.
Climb trees: When we were kids, climbing fences seemed like the ultimate challenge. It was even more satisfying when you could get to a spot that no one else had ever touched before. Tree-climbing is also a great exercise because it takes your leg muscles and pushes them to their limits.
Go camping: You can rent tents, wooden huts, and more on campsites nowadays. Camping is the perfect opportunity to get out of your daily grind for a while with family or friends; plus, kids will have plenty of space to run around and play freely.
Try rock climbing: If you have an adventurous child who loves heights, bring them rock climbing. It's a great way to enjoy the outdoors and take in some fresh air. Kids can climb on something that looks like an x-shaped metal ladder, reaching as high up as possible without slipping or falling off.
Boating: Renting boats is an excellent way for family members and friends to bond with each other as they take in beautiful views from the water or enjoy recreational activities together.
Visit local farms: One of the best ways to get a true sense of sustainable farming is all about is by visiting one and seeing it in person.
Go hiking: A day outdoors is a great way to spend time with your family. Try going on long hikes this winter so you can study and research beforehand before heading out there.
How do physical activities affect children?
Physical movement is a great way to stay healthy and strong.
It can help strengthen muscles, bones, build endurance, improve balance & coordination. Physical activities improve concentration skills in children as well as adults.
Here are some of the benefits children can enjoy from being active:
Improve moods: physical activity can make even the moodiest tween feel better. Research has shown that just 20 minutes of physical exercise a day will release tension and lower stress levels, which means fewer emotional outbursts.
Prevent depression: A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found that physically active children have a lower risk of depressive symptoms, leading to lifelong mental health problems like stress, anxiety, or even suicide. Research has shown that kids with low physical activity levels often struggle academically, too – especially when they're trying to concentrate on math.
Prevent obesity: One of the best ways to prevent obesity in children is working out and getting a healthy heart. By doing physical activities, they can increase their metabolism, improve muscle strength, burn fat and reduce chances for diabetes.
Increase self-esteem: Being involved in physical activities can help boost your child's self-esteem by improving their performance level. Higher self-esteem can make them more successful at work and school, positively impacting how they view themselves. It's a positive cycle!
Improve coordination: Children and adolescents can complete various tasks, such as running, jumping, kicking a ball, or swinging a bat. Children who participate in physical sports have also shown significant improvements in hand-eye coordination because it requires precise movement to complete the task. Physical activities help children with their flexibility, which is essential for balance and motor skills development.
Good for the brain: Activities with high levels of physical movement such as running, swimming, and cycling increase blood flow throughout the body. Physical activity helps prevent or control diseases such as Alzheimer's by increasing oxygen circulation that delivers nutrients and removes toxins from cells in the brain.
Boost self-discipline: Kids who are more involved in sports benefit from an increased sense of discipline, leading them to become better students overall.
Socialization: There are many benefits when children play organized sports or stay physically active outside of school. Kids who participate in team activities learn how to work together as part of a larger group. They also tend to build positive relationships with teachers, other students, and community members because it's easier for them to get along with people once they understand each other person's strengths.
The Benefits of Outdoor Play
Children are always on the go. They explore their environment with curiosity to see what it has to offer them, and when outdoors, there is no limit to how much exploring they could do.
Outdoor play is beneficial to the physical, emotional, and social development of children. It helps them to learn how to manage their emotions and stress more efficiently.
When they play outside, your 10-year-olds continue to learn to use their bodies in different ways. Being outdoors will bring out the leader in your child while teaching them to respect nature.
Here are a few more things outdoor activities can develop in your children:
Letting your child lead you on an outdoor adventure is a fantastic way to expose them to leadership skills. Allowing them this opportunity will give them insight into their strengths and weaknesses, which will help mold them into future leaders.
Teach Patience and Self-Discipline.
Through being outdoors, kids learn how to be more patient and disciplined. For example, they may have to adjust their pace and overall expectations depending on who is with them when hiking. Or they may also encounter unexpected and have to change plans. These are natural ways children will learn patience and self-discipline.
Let your children be responsible for picking up trash along a trail or walking their younger siblings home from school every afternoon. Even tasking them with grabbing the mail from the mailbox, watering the plants, or mowing the lawn. These are super simple activities to help teach responsibility.
As you hike through the forest, try to let your child decide where to go and what to do. Allowing this will teach him valuable skills like resourcefulness and perseverance (and it will keep things interesting!)
Encourage Respect for Nature.
Providing your child with a healthy outdoor environment is an opportunity for you to bond. When they feel connected to nature, it will help them become more environmentally conscious and help them to learn about the importance of taking care of our planet.
Outdoor Play Activities for the Whole Family
Parents who want their children to become more active should lead by example. It would help if you were a role model in terms of what your kids see from you. If you're constantly sitting at the computer or watching TV, they may grow up with similar habits and won't understand the importance of being active.
However, if you can become an active family member by participating in outdoor activities together, your children will feel inspired to do more physical activities. They'll be mentally programmed to participate in outdoor activities because their loved ones are into it too.