"Go outside and have fun!" Come home when the street lights come on.

Go outside and play!

Do you remember the “good old days” when you were told first thing in the morning to “go outside and play” and you played with your friends until the street lights came on? You went home when you were hungry, and when your mom yelled out the door for you to come inside. And if you didn’t come home in 5 minutes she called you again, by your full name.

Sadly, that rarely happens now.

Today, kids spend way too much time inside on their phones, tablets and computers, parked in front of the TV, DS or other electronic device.

Even with the world at their fingertips it never fails, every day I hear “I’m bored” from at least one of my children. When I tell them to go outside and play I hear “It’s too cold (hot, muggy, windy) to play outside.” “There’s nothing to do!” even though there is a garage full of balls, bikes, scooters and games that haven’t been played with in ages.

Confiscated electronicsElectronic devices used as babysitters have become too much of a norm. I get it. I’m totally guilty of it. I work from home and need SOMETHING to entertain five kids while I try to get my work done. But I have to admit it has become an addiction.

I took my daughters’ electronics away the other day because the house was a complete disaster, and they weren’t listening to me, or doing their chores. They all cried. You would have thought I kicked a puppy or something. #MeanestMomEver

Go outside and play!

When I look back on my summer vacations as a child, I have fond memories. And they all entail being outside.

Riding my bike all over town, climbing trees, playing Kick The Can, Freeze Tag, and Hide and Seek. Swimming all day long, only leaving the pool to get something to eat and reapply sunblock.

Packing lunches and heading to the park to play on the rocket slide and the swings, getting ice pops from the ice cream truck and then going home and arranging sleepovers with my friends, camping in tents in the backyard and making s’mores.

Iowa Cornfield

Growing up in rural Iowa, if you weren’t into outdoor activities there wasn’t much for you to do.

I realize times have changed, and you can’t just let your kids run around town unsupervised, but there has to be some middle ground. Give your kids some boundaries, a cell phone and tell them to “Go outside and play!”

Now that we have been in our “new” home for over a year (admittedly, we STILL have boxes to unpack but we are getting there) I have decided we need to have more structured electronics-free time. Me included. We need to start getting outside more and having fun doing it. Guess it is time to restock the old geocaching backpack, get out the sunblock, and find some adventures in our new area. Maybe we should check out the parks and see about going hiking, fishing or even camping.

Go outside and have fun! Before you know it your kids are going to be grown and living on their own and you won’t have the opportunity to play with them any more.Go outside and play! Before you know it your kids are going to be grown and living on their own and you won’t have the opportunity to play with them any more. While “things” are fun, it’s the experiences that your kids will remember. Long after that iPhone is obsolete, you kids are going to talk about that amazing camping trip you took when they were XX years old.

So this weekend we are heading out of town on an overnight trip that will include meeting up with friends, geocaching, playing at the park, and hopefully some amazing North Carolina barbeque. And if my kids are really good, we will stay outside until the streetlights come on, light a fire, and make some S’mores while we talk about the amazing adventures we had that day.

Isn’t time you go outside and play, too?

Comments 17

  1. This is so true! Kids do not know how to play outside anymore, they are too busy on their phones and devices. We will definitely be playing outside tomorrow!

  2. I tell my kids all the time they need to come outside more with me to enjoy what life, and this beautiful earth has to offer.

  3. You really said it all when you said that times have changed. We used to have to be told to come in from playing outside when we were kids. My boys are men now but I never had to tell them to come in from outside because they were on the video games. It is a great idea to go electronic free at least a couple times a month I believe. Summer is suppose to be for being outside in my opinion. Thanks for sharing the idea.

  4. That is exactly how my summers were too. I would play outside all day, climbing trees, tag, riding my bikes etc. My 5 kids love playing basketball and catching Pokemon. They also like to play in the pool, but they sure aren’t outside as much as I was.

  5. I can remember playing freeze tag, hide and seek and riding bike with friends in the block. How much time has pasted. It’s true that kids only want to play on electronic devices and say their bored. What happened to the good old days. I’m glad your doing the things back then. Kids should have fun outdoors. They sure do grow up fast!

  6. I wish my kids knew how to play outside (or even inside!) they just don’t want to play anymore which is the big issue at our house. They just want to be glued to my side!

  7. You are so incredibly right that we don’t spend enough time outside! Thankfully I have two boys who love being outside all of the time…even in our Chicago humidity. Thank goodness for all of the shade our huge tree provides!

  8. I am guilty. Working from home in front of my computer many hours a day, I don’t mind the kids on their devices. However, I make sure they are all VERY active in sports – we are at practice or a game almost 6 days a week! I do miss the good ole days though

  9. The good old days, YES. I make my kids go outside with me everyday. Even if it is just to walk to the mail box. I swear they don’t get fresh air enough.

  10. Oh my! We did this yesterday. It was a bonding experience for the kids. I am giving them an hour and 30 minutes of electronics time today and its already bothering me.

  11. I’m in my late twenties and my favorite thing to do still is go outside and play all day – hiking, soccer, biking, whatever 😀 I grew up in a rural area so there really weren’t too many distracting electronics I had access to: 2 local TV channels, super slow dial-up Internet, and that was about it. I think the limited access to electronics helped me establish good habits, though I’ll admit, I love love love having my smartphone with me all the time so I don’t have to lug around a set of encyclopedias and field guides to look up stuff while I’m exploring XD

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