6 Ways To Motivate Children To Play Outdoors

26th March 2018
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Nowadays, you rarely see children playing outdoor games.

Most kids are more excited by consoles and tablets than games like hide-and-seek and hopscotch.

But in this world of gadgets, it’s important to encourage kids to play outdoors.

kids playing outdoors

This is because outdoor play can give kids a variety of remarkable benefits which include:

  • Making kids more active.

  • Creating a huge difference in their physical development and growth.

  • Reduces laziness as it encourages the body to do physical work.

  • It helps kids stay physically fit thus preventing obesity.

  • Prevents addiction to television.

  • Reduces their screen time.

  • Develops a child’s athletic talent, confidence, and team spirit.

  • Reduces a child’s stress levels.

  • Getting your kids to play outside more.

If you want your children to experience all the benefits outdoor play offers, you can encourage them to go out more through these helpful tips:

1. Discover Your Child’s Interest

What type of games and sports does your child like?

If you find that your kid has an interest in a certain sport, encourage him.

If he loves to play basketball or tennis, enrolling him in a relevant sports coaching session will help develop his skills.

A good training program will also help develop your child’s talent and boost his confidence.

But don’t forget that your encouragement will motivate your kid to pursue his passion so always show your support.

2. Create A Healthy Environment

With today’s technology, more and more children are increasingly finding entertainment in electronic devices which isn’t good for their health.

According to American Academy of Pediatrics or AAP, teens and kids should not use any electronics for more than one to two hours a day.

Here’s how unsuspecting gadgets can cause harm to your children.

They hinder cognitive development
A child’s brain develops at a fast pace and overexposure to electronic gadgets can slow down cognitive development. From the time they learn to read and utter words, the person teaching them should be you and not some false character on a tablet or TV.Don’t let an electronic device be their main source of knowledge.

  • They Hinder Cognitive Development
    A child’s brain develops at a fast pace and overexposure to electronic gadgets can slow down cognitive development. From the time they learn to read and utter words, the person teaching them should be you and not some false character on a tablet or TV. Don’t let an electronic device be their main source of knowledge.

  • They Can Create An “Obsession”
    Giving your child a gadget to play with as a means to pacify him can cause him to be “obsessed” with this device. Avoid having to deal with regular temper tantrums. Limit gadget exposure before your little one develops an addiction to it.

  • They Impose Health Risks
    An overuse of electronic gadget will expose your child to various health risks. Poor posture, eye strain, and exposure to electromagnetic radiation are some of the hazards.

  • They Can Curtail Social Relationships
    When a child and gadget becomes inseparable, it can hinder the bond with family and friends. If you allow gadgets to take over your kid’s life, he could grow up as a social hermit.

  • They Can Delay Physical Development
    Instead of spending hours staring at the TV or other gadgets, children should be playing their hearts out on the playground. The lack of outdoor activity can delay physical development and cause obesity.

As the saying goes, prevention is always better than cure. Your child doesn’t need gadgets to have some fun. Allow your kid to grow normally with outdoor activities.

3. Establish A Curfew

Technology isn’t entirely bad.

After all, when it comes to homework, Internet research is of great help.

But you need to limit your child’s tech consumption by establishing a curfew for gadgets.

This means setting a specific time when it’s okay for your kid to use gadgets to create boundaries for proper use.

You can also have a specific shelf or box where your child can place his phone or any gadget before he can go outside.

This will make him mindful of when and where he’s using it.

It will also help give you the assurance that he will get some quality outdoor time.

When establishing a curfew, keep in mind that consistency is key.

It may take a while for your child to get used to the idea of having no gadgets for an hour or two.

But no matter how much your child begs you to let him play his tech toys, be consistent with your rules.

Also, always talk to your little one.

Engage your child in a conversation about his outdoor activities and ask what he enjoys best.

By doing so, you’re showing him how interested you are in his activities.

This will also help know about his well-being and that he stays active and safe.

4. Be A Role Model

Children tend to look up to their parents.

As a parent, it is your responsibility to create a “tech-free” zone at your home.

Show your kids how you discipline yourself on tech use.

For them to follow you, you should live by example.

5. Create A Fun Outdoor Area

By having a fun outdoor space at home, it’ll be easier to convince your child to come out and play.

Plus, you can ensure his safety while inside your premises.

Things like sandboxes and swing sets can give your little ones hours of fun and exercise.

If you dwell in an urban area and don’t have a backyard, you can still encourage your kid to play outdoors.

You simply have to find a safe playground or park and make it a routine to take your child there.

You can also seek recommendations from your neighbours to find other great outdoor places for your little one.

Also, regularly socialize with your neighbours.

Studies show that adults who get along with their neighbours have kids that are more likely to spend time outdoors.

This is because the parents’ behaviour will carry over to the children; as such, they will also be friendlier and more open to playing and interacting with other kids.

6. Accept That It’ll Get Messy

Once your kid starts playing outdoors, he’ll probably end up dirty and sweaty.

But even if he’s a mess, your child needs to know that you’re okay with it.

As such, allow your kid to get dirty while playing.

Don’t stop him from playing in the sand or getting mud splashed on his pants while he’s outdoors.

If you’re worried about his clothes, assign “play clothes” and teach him how to clean up after himself.

When your child realizes that he has your full support, he will be more motivated to engage in outdoor play.

Outdoor play is not simply for fun and exercise, it also helps your kid develop athletic and physical skills that he can use now and in the future.


This article was written by Barry Bremner who is a veteran C-level executive with more than 25 years of experience across multi-faceted industries including Leisure & Recreation.

He joined Zayed Sports City as Director of Business & Corporate Services in 2009 and was appointed to General Manager in 2013.

During his time with Zayed Sports City, he has developed and implemented new management systems as well as raised the profile of the organization by securing leading events to take place at Zayed Sports City, including WWE, Monster Jam, the U-17 World Cup, FIFA Club World Cup and the Mubadala World Tennis Championship.

During his tenure at the property, annual visitors to Zayed Sports City have increased from 420,000 in 2009 to 1.3m in 2016.


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