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5 Books to Encourage Your Kids to Play Outside

Yes, it’s summer, and a hot one in much of the United States. Even so, as parents we need to encourage our kids to play outside more. That’s not easy for everyone, especially if the kids don’t play outside as much as they ought to. Whatever the case, it’s time to haul the kids away from their favorite screen and get them to play outside. These books may help with ideas. Buy them or check for them at your local library.

This is important. Too many kids are spending way too little time outside these days. More children are obese. Kids on average spend too much time in front of one screen or another. All too few spend any time at all playing outside on their during any given week. Just compare that to your own childhood, when more kids spent significant parts of the day outside, playing. That’s what I want for my kids. More time outside, playing, just being kids and having fun.

1. Outdoor Parents Outdoor Kids: A Guide to Getting Your Kids Active in the Great Outdoors

Yes, how much you go outside matters quite a bit. If you go out more, your kids will follow. This book is about finding activities you can enjoy together as a family.

2. Great Big Book of Children’s Games: Over 450 Indoor & Outdoor Games for Kids (Ages 3-12)

Yes, this one is for indoor and outdoor games, but the big thing is to play away from the TV and computer screens. I like being reminded of the indoor games kids can play, as sometimes the weather’s not right for playing outside or you have other reasons for keeping the kids in. Doesn’t mean they have to start watching TV or playing on the computer, though.

3. I Love Dirt!: 52 Activities to Help You and Your Kids Discover the Wonders of Nature

Yes, you get to be involved too. This book is a reminder to look at the outdoors as a child, not an adult. If you want to help your kids learn about things like bugs, dirt, trees and all the other things they can discover outdoors, this should be a good book for you.

4. Fifteen Minutes Outside: 365 Ways to Get Out of the House and Connect with Your Kids

Need cheap, simple, quick ways to get outside? That’s what this book is all about. I hope you won’t spend only 15 minutes outside for all of these activities, but if that’s all you have, it’s better than nothing at all.

5. The Green Hour: A Daily Dose of Nature for Happier, Healthier, Smarter Kids

On the other hand, who says fifteen minutes is enough? Go for an hour a day. This book has a variety of projects and ideas for getting the kids to play outside.