(BPT) - The sun is shining, the breeze is fresh and Mother Nature is calling: Are you ready to answer the call of the outdoors? It's easy to get into a rut where your family spends most of their time inside, often in front of screens or doing other sedentary activities. Spring is the ideal time to shift your focus and enjoy some bonding time with your family outside.
More than seven in 10 (72%) parents believe their families don’t spend enough time outside, according to a new survey of American parents with children ages 5 to 13, commissioned by the makers of Claritin®. Furthermore, 49% of parents said their kids find the outdoors boring.
However, the survey also found that nearly two in three (63%) said their kids seem to be happy after playing outside. Being outdoors may offer numerous mental and physical benefits, so consider taking a proactive approach and plan your next family activities outside. Here are five fun ways to get out of the house and get into nature, no matter if you live in an urban, suburban or rural area.
Eat al fresco
Rather than eating at the kitchen table, enjoy your next family meal outdoors. Set up the patio for eating and you'll be amazed how simply being outside makes the meal feel special, plus people tend to linger longer to chat and enjoy each other's company. If you don't have a table, spread out a big blanket on the patio or in the backyard and enjoy your meal picnic style. No blanket big enough? Lay out beach towels for each person for a fun take on outdoor dining.
Plant a garden
Planting a garden offers so many benefits for your family. In addition to being a reason to get outdoors regularly, it's an educational opportunity for kids of all ages to learn about earth science and biology. It's also a budget-friendly way to supplement your food purchasing, plus everyone feels proud growing their own fare and it can encourage healthier eating. Whether it's a plot in the backyard, raised beds in the landscape or containers on the deck, this is a great outdoor opportunity for multigenerational family bonding.
Tune into The Outsideologist Project
Looking for a little inspiration? The Outsideologist Project, from the makers of Claritin®, provides parents with tools and resources to inspire a love of the outdoors and aims to get 1.2 million kids to spend an extra hour per week outside. The Outsideologist Project also invites families to participate in livestreamed activities on their Instagram page (@OutsideologistProject). Hosted by experts in the fields of plants, animals, space, weather and nature photography, the guided activities provide families with plenty of ideas on things to do outside this spring and summer.
Plan a photo scavenger hunt
Get outside for a nature-themed photo scavenger hunt and enjoy the excitement of the search. Include items on the scavenger list that are appropriate for the ages in your family, striving to make the hunt engaging but not too difficult. Pair children up with adults, then reach for the camera and capture pictures of the items you find in your backyard or local parks. Photo scavenger hunt items could include leaves, sticks, rocks and other natural treasures.
Enjoy a backyard campout
You don't need to travel to a big forest to enjoy an authentic campout experience. Just get creative in your own backyard! Pitch a tent, get out the blankets and sleep outside to feel like you're away from home without giving up the conveniences. Tent not an option? Perhaps some backyard stargazing will provide the flavor of camp you crave. You can share stories, sing songs and find shapes in the stars while creating lasting memories with your family.
Worried about allergies? You're not alone. The survey also found that 70% of parents said if seasonal allergies were less of a concern, their family would be outside more. If allergies prevent you too from exploring all the wonders nature has to offer, consider relief options to help you enjoy your time outside.
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