Outdoor Sports with Your Child
Summer is the perfect time to Get Out and enjoy the Great Outdoors. We've given you some tips for hiking and camping with kids, but if "roughing it" isn't your thing, there's plenty of ways to enjoy the great outdoors from the convenience of your own backyard or the park down the street! Try one of these outdoor sports with your kids this week:
- Baseball: Summer is baseball season! Grab a couple mitts and teach your child how to throw a baseball. If your son or daughter is interested, sign them up for Little League - consider being an assistant coach. Attend a minor or major league baseball game as a family.
- Basketball: Walk over to the local elementary school or park and shoot some hoops in the evening when the temperature is a little cooler. Play a game of Knock Out, H-O-R-S-E, or Around the World.
- Bicycling: Bicycling is great family activity for all ages - whether your child is strapped in a safety seat on your bike, riding a tricycle, using training wheels, or setting the pace on his own "big kid" bike. Find some trails near your house and go for a ride! Don't forget to bring water and wear helmets.
- Play backyard games: Invest in an inexpensive set of badminton rackets, bocce balls, croquet wickets, or horseshoes and spend some time in the backyard learning how to play these fun games!
- Take a sports clinic together: Many local community centers offer classes or workshops to teach basic techniques and principles for sports such as tennis, golf, yoga, or fencing. Call your local recreation center and ask if they offer clinics that families can take together. Pick an activity with your child and sign-up!
"Sporty" Character Lessons
Playing sports and games as a family can teach children several important character lessons. Make sure you take time to talk to your kids about what they're experiencing and learning through these activities.
- Teamwork: Playing games and sports as a family will help your child learn that it's necessary to work together with teammates to accomplish a goal. Help your kids identify the different skills each member of the family has and how those unique skills help the team. Talk about what might happen if one member of the team tried to do everything without depending on others. Ask your kids to think about other areas of life that require working as a team (i.e. school projects, chores at home).
- Good Sportsmanship: Ask you children what they think it means to be a good sport and discuss the character qualities that are part of good sportsmanship, like being fair to your opponent, respectful to authority figures like coaches and umpires, humble when you win, and gracious when you lose. Praise your child when he or she demonstrates good sportsmanship.
NFI staff member Mike Yudt shared his thoughts on how to encourage children to try new activities but not to push them too hard.
Check out Mike's advice here>>
Helpful Resources for Your Outdoor Fun
If you're not sure how to pull your kids away from the TV and computer or how to get started with participating in outdoor activities as a family, check out these resources and tips below:
< Safety Tip! >
Playing outside in the summer can turn from fun to dangerous if your children spend too much time in the sun without proper protection and hydration. Make sure your kids stay safe by reading the Summer Safety Tips provided by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Share your Memories with Us!
We would love to hear your stories and memories of outdoor fun! Post a picture on our Facebook and tell us about the games and activities you enjoy doing with your family or your own dad!