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Unplugging the Kids: Exploring the outdoors, getting essential exercise and going on adventures

In today's digital age, it's not uncommon to see children glued to screens for hours on end. While technology has its benefits, it's important to remember the value of unplugging and exploring the great outdoors. Studies have shown that spending time in nature has numerous physical and mental health benefits for both children and adults. From improving mood and reducing stress to increasing creativity and cognitive function, the benefits of outdoor play are endless. Nature provides countless opportunities for adventures and creating lasting members for children and their family members. So why not unplug the kids and embark on an adventure that will not only be fun and exciting but also beneficial for their overall well-being?


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Getting children outside and away from their tech devices

can sometimes be challenging, especially if it’s you thinking that they need exercise. The main reason for this is because many children - and adults for that matter - find exercise boring and not as engaging as their devices. Staying indoors experiencing a virtual world is often more appealing because it takes less effort.


The thing I've noticed when working with the indoorsy-tech-obsessed children, is that you can actually get them outside moving and exploring if you provide something engaging enough for them to participate in.


One fun way, in particular, I've been playing around with (but needs a bit of preparation to do) is to create a treasure map with burnt edges, and tea stained areas to make it look older of course with a storyline to follow, the treasure they are seeking and the first clue or activity. The activity can be as simple as run to point A and back or sit down on the ground 5 times fast.

VR, child play, screen-free time, techy kids, nature play, outdoor activities for children, treasure map

Now before I lose you and you put this in the too-hard-basket, I would like to share with you an even simpler idea that takes no preparation on your behalf, only your imagination and if you keep reading I will even help you out with that too!


You see, as a child of the 80’s (yes, I really am that old) 'choose your own adventure' books were all the rage. If you're not familiar with these types of books the idea is simple... you literally choose your own adventure! You read the page and at the end of it you have to make a choice, eg If you want to do this turn to page__. If you want to do that, turn to page ___. etc


So implementing this into your child's workout is simple. You let them choose their own adventure, based on the choices you give them. If you're still struggling with this concept I'll give you a scenario to use:


Nature Adventure Story


You are an explorer named _____.

You have landed on a deserted island.

There are many rumors about this island and how dangerous it is.

The only reason you're here is to find the lost treasures hidden in the forest.


As you step off the boat you are forced to make your first decision.


Do you head left or right? (or whichever available directions there are), yhe child makes the first choice and you start walking in that direction.


“Suddenly, while you're walking, a black panther jumps out in front of you, standing right in your way, what will you do?


Do you run away, or do you fight it? If they choose to run away, set a distance that they have to sprint such as 5,10, 20 meters etc, if they choose to fight it, get them to push you for a distance again, 5,10, 20 meters or until they're tired, don’t make it too easy!


“You finally managed to get passed the giant cat, but are now faced by a wall of vines in your way, the only way by it is to crawl! If you choose to crawl on your hands and knees you must crawl ___ meters, if you choose to crawl on your hands and feet you have to crawl ___ meters.


What do you choose? (hands and knees crawling is easier so make it a longer distance than hands and feet crawling). Continue along with the story and allow them to catch their breath.


child play, screen-free time, crawling for kids, nature play, outdoor activities for children

That’s just a sample of a story that I made up in one of our sessions, you can make the story as long as or short as you like and as hard or as easy. Another sneaky tip is if your child struggles with certain elements of moving or motor skill bring it into the story Some examples are throwing and catching or balancing.


Every child I've made a 'choose your own adventure story' with has loved it and they often ask to do again next time.


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Below you will find a list of story ideas that you can use and some general movements that can go along with them:


The Time Traveler's Dilemma:

You discover a mysterious time machine and find yourself faced with the choice of traveling to different eras. Each era presents unique challenges and decisions to make, altering history as you go. Will you strive to maintain the timeline or embrace the opportunity to change the course of events?


The Secret Agent's Mission:

You are a rookie secret agent assigned to a high-stakes mission. Along the way, you encounter unexpected allies and dangerous enemies. Your choices will determine the success of your mission and the safety of those around you. Can you navigate the world of espionage and make the right decisions under pressure?


The Quest for the Lost Treasure:

You embark on an epic adventure to find a legendary treasure hidden deep within a treacherous jungle. As you explore ancient temples and encounter mythical creatures, your choices will impact the outcome of your quest. Will you find the treasure or succumb to the challenges along the way?


The Galactic Explorer's Odyssey:

You are a space explorer aboard a state-of-the-art spaceship, tasked with unraveling the mysteries of the universe. As you venture into uncharted territories, you encounter alien civilizations, cosmic anomalies, and moral dilemmas. Your decisions will shape intergalactic relationships and determine the fate of your crew.


The Magical Academy:

You receive an invitation to a prestigious magical academy, where you learn to harness your hidden powers. Throughout your journey, you encounter rival students, mythical creatures, and complex magical trials. Your choices will shape your reputation, friendships, and ultimately your destiny in the world of magic.


asd, child play, screen-free time, techy kids, nature play, outdoor activities for children

Movements:

  • Jumping

  • Climbing

  • Balancing (rails, rocks, logs park benches)

  • Throwing and catching (different objects, distances)

  • Crawling (hands and knees, hands and feet, sideways, inverted/upside down, army crawl)

  • Running (forwards, backwards, sideways)

  • Getting up and down on the ground multiple ways

  • Stepping over things

  • Stepping under things

  • Pushing

  • Pulling

  • Hopping

  • Skipping

Have fun creating and implementing these adventures and others!


Clint

 

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