How to Get the Kids to Put Down the Screens and Pick up the Great Outdoors

Published on March 1, 2016

About half of parents in the U.S. say their children get too much screen time. And most parents would agree that they prefer their child to be learning and/or playing outside. With the rainy days in Sacramento dwindling and spring and summer quickly approaching, parents should consider planning outdoor activities for their kids. So how do you get the kids to put down the screens and pick up the great outdoors?1. Fly a kite. The Sacramento region is full of parks with expansive grassy areas. A wide open space free from trees is the perfect spot to show your child the magic of flying a kite. Show them how it operates based on the wind’s force and watch their eyes light up with wonder.2. Go on a hike. Based on your child’s age, there is no better way to show them what the great outdoors has to offer than taking them on a hike. Make sure to do your research first – you don’t want to pick a location that is too strenuous for you and your young child. Keep in mind, a “hike” can mean walking along a semi-flat path through an area rich with trees and shrubs. Explain to your child what they see along the way.3. Work on a house project together. Whether it is mowing the lawn, trimming the bushes or hanging a new photo, showing your child how things “work” makes them think and shows them the importance of completing tasks that you begin. If it is raking leaves, give them a smaller rake and let them go at it. Buy them a kids’ tool set and let them build something next to you while you complete your project.4. Let them hang a photo of their choice in their room. Is there something your child really likes? Trains? Planes? Flowers? Take them on a trip to find whatever it may be and let them take a picture of it. Print the photo and bring it home and let them choose where they want to hang it in their room. Giving them ownership of the project will stimulate their imagination and make them more excited about what is on the walls in their room. Watch as they show every friend or house guest “their picture.”5. Let them play in the backyard. First and foremost, make sure the backyard is kid-proofed and safe. Next, get them some outdoor activities they will enjoy. A makeshift sandbox or small pool with toy boats could work. Sidewalk chalk also can come in handy. Sometimes the quickest way to unplugging and letting your child experience the great outdoors is by opening the door to the backyard.6. Visit William Land Park. Land Park is 166 acres of developed space that includes picnic areas, an amphitheater, a rock garden, lakes, a wading pool, and of course, Fairytale Town, the Sacramento Zoo and Funderland. Come see us and enjoy the wonders of what Land Park. Our rides here at Funderland are a regional favorite, and we love making sure families have a great time!Being outside helps kids build up their immune systems, provides exercise, enhances their imaginations and gives them a steady dose of vitamin D. So put down those phones, tablets, and remotes and head outside this month for some good old fashioned FUN!