10 Benefits of Outdoor Play – How to get your Kids to Play Outside

Kids that play outside regularly are healthier, happier, live longer, and have better lives. We call this the Backyard Game affect. It may seem like a big claim to make but is one of the core beliefs behind backyard games.

According to a recent USA Census, close to 20% of high school aged are overweight and many of these are obese. Children are starring at their electronic screens longer then ever, and are subject to more surgery foods then ever before. Not only is this bad for their health, but can lead to self esteem issues that impact their entire lives.

Outdoor play for as little as 30 minutes per day, not only provides good exercise but many other benefits. Through education and providing a positive mindset to a healthy life is so important to reverse this trend.  Playing outside has been so fundamental for childrens for so many generations, our kids will be missing out on some of the best memories without playing outside!
Benefits of Outdoor Play Infographic


10 Benefits to outdoor play for kids:  

  1. It stimulates imagination.
  2. Provides plenty of exercise.
  3. Reduces stress & fatigue.
  4. Teaches responsibility.
  5. Improves hand eye coordination.
  6. Helps kids socialize.
  7. Fresh air and Vitamin D is great.
  8. Improves vision.
  9. Promotes healthy lifestyle.
  10. Presents new and fun learning situations.

How to Get your Kids to Play Outdoors:

Sometimes our kids need a little motivation to turn of their electronic screens and want to play outside. In fact, the average American child is estimated to spend over 7 hours a day in front of a screen, and less then 10 minutes a day in unstructured play outdoors.

But how can we get mad at our kids, when most parents do the same thing?

Encouraging kids to go outdoors and play is much easier in the summertime. Keeping them active all year round is a bit of a challenge. If your children are reluctant to play outdoors, you could try motivating outdoor play by offering a trade. The more they play outdoors, the more likely they are to discover they enjoy it!  Or maybe to get that special snack they love.

Related: List of Baby Essentials (what you need and what you can ditch)



Here’s 5 Steps for Parents to Take to Encourage Outdoor Play:


1. Lead by Example – Do not expect your kids to go outside and play, while you sit and watch tv. Use this as family time to go outside and do something you may enjoy (or at least chores like gardening).

2. Limit Screen Time – As parents we are also guilty of being overly addicted to our phones.  Challenge yourself by you and the kids placing their cell phone, tablets, or any other electronics at a tray by the front door when coming home from school. Wonder parenting tells us the importance of doing this gradually.

There are lots of productivity trackers that can be installed on your computers or cell phone that limit amount of time spent daily.


3. Make it Fun – Instead of just going outside to play, how about making it fun! We have a collection of Backyard Games for Kids that the entire family will love!

4. Teach Your Kids Something Fun – This is another example of leading by example.  Try teaching your kids something fun that will turn into a hobby. This may be building a fort, working on bikes, shooting hoops, planting a garden, or collecting bugs.

5. Reward Them – if all else fails, bribe them. If they spend an hour playing outside, they can earn some TV or video game time.

10 Fun Outdoor Activities for Kids:

Being able to incorporate fun and outdoor activities into a daily routine will make this process easier.  That way they can discover that they actually do have a lot of fun playing outside and will be asking to go outside and play instead of being encouraged too. Ideally, encourage kids to spend 1 hour involved in some unstructured outdoor play in good weather, or to create areas to be active and play indoors during cold or rainy weather.

1. Going for a walk

You may need to turn off the tv as well and stretch those legs.  It may not be safe for your kids alone, so going out for a walk together or planning longer excursions or nature walks, is one of the easiest ways to get out.


2. Tossing a ball around

Playing Outside with Kids

Sometimes the best toys can be the simplest. Keeping a football, frisbee, or soccer ball handy to toss around while working on hand eye coordination.  We have a list of Frisbee Games every kid loves!


3. Join A Sports League

Playing an organized sport should be essential for young kids. Not only is it good exercise but helps kids meet new friends, build team and cooperation skills, and inspire competitiveness.


4. Building a Tree Fort

Involving your kids in the design and building of their treehouse, will have them excited for it and a great learning opportunity. As a bonus they will have the coolest play house that all their future friends will want to come hang out in.


5. Camping

Camping with Kids | Outdoor Camping in Your Backyard

Something about camping with the clean air, amazing stars above you, and no interruptions is one of the most fun things you can do outdoors. It pushes kids to go outside their comfort zones and experience new activities they are not familiar with.  You don’t necessarily even need to leave the comfort of your own house.  Setup a tent in your backyard and have “play” camping.


6. Backyard Games

As Backyard Games enthusiasts (obviously) we have no shortage of ideas that kids can play outdoors.  The outdoor kids games can really be as simple as who can fill a pail of water the fastest, or playing with new cool improved throw and catch toys.  There are so many inventive DIY toys and new toys available on the market, that are affordable and fun.  Improvements to throw and catch are games like Ringstix or Djubi.  Our favorite group kids game is boochie but we also have a bunch of group games that are great for kids birthday party games.


7. Get a Swimming Pool

10 Benefits of Outdoor Play – How to get your Kids to Play Outside 1

I bet you won’t be able to keep the kids out of the backyard, especially when it’s nice weather, with a swimming pool.  This doesn’t even have to be a huge swimming pool.  Get yourself and above ground swimming pool and try some of these swimming pool games.

Host Outdoor Birthday Parties

Outdoor Birthday Party for Kids
Free yourself from the burden of cleaning those sticky finger cake marks off the walls by holding your Birthday Parties or Summer play dates outside.  It gets the kids outdoor and they create great memories that will encourage them to play outside after the party is over.  There’s so many outdoor birthday party games to play with groups of kids.  We love the idea of hosting outdoor movie nights too!
What tricks to you use to get your kids to play outside?  Comment below!

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