Wednesday, June 19, 2013

How Will You Get Your Kids Outside This Summer? #BeOutThere

By 1:00pm this Friday (June 21) my children will officially be done with school until they return for the start of the next year at the end of August. The two months of summer break is something I both look forward to and dread at the same time. I enjoy having my kids home and I really enjoy not having to get the four of them ready for school everyday. I dread the nonstop sibling fighting that will ensue after the first week (or first day, who am I kidding?) and coming up with ideas to keep them active and entertained. It is so easy to fall into the trap of handing them an electronic and telling them to have a good time, but I try my hardest to not go that route. I want my boys to get outside and be active and healthy.

The National Wildlife Federation's Be Out There Initiative wants to help us all get our kids off the couches this summer and out into the great outdoors? Here are just a few reasons why:

Children are spending half as much time outdoors as they did 20 years ago. (Juster et al 2004); (Burdette & Whitaker 2005); (Kuo & Sullivan 2001)

Today, kids 8-18 years old devote an average of 7 hours and 38 minutes using entertainment media in a typical day (more than 53 hours a week). (Kaiser Family Foundation)

In a typical week, only 6% of children ages 9-13 play outside on their own. (Children & Nature Network, 2008)

Children who play outside are more physically active, more creative in their play, less aggressive and show better concentration. (Burdette and Whitaker, 2005; Ginsburg et al., 2007)

Sixty minutes of daily unstructured free play is essential to children’s physical and mental health. (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2008)

The most direct route to caring for the environment as an adult is participating in “wild nature activities” before the age of 11. (Wells and Lekies, 2006)

The bottom line? It is healthy for your kids, for you and for our planet if we all spend some more time outside. As part of this initiative, the National Wildlife Federation is putting together an e-book that will help parents find solutions for getting outdoors with the kids during the summer. Some of the ideas in this book will be coming from mom bloggers, including myself. They have asked me to contribute to the Be Out There e-book and I am so excited to be a part of it!

The theme for my contribution is "Nighttime Activities" - how you can avoid the heat of summer days by getting outside with the kids when the sun goes down. So I want to know: what does your family like to do outside at night together? Share your favorite activities in a comment below, and you just might make it into the e-book with me!

This is a compensated campaign with The Motherhood and the National Wildlife Federation. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. If I use your idea in my e-book contribution, you will be credited accordingly.


  1. What a wonderful opportunity for you, Marianna!

    Few nighttime activities I like doing with my kids in the summer:
    1) Playing tag with flashlights
    2) Catching fireflies! (And then letting them go)
    3) Playing frisbee with a glow-in-the-dark frisbee

    1. Oh I totally forgot about flashlight tag! That is a great one.

  2. YES!!! Unfortunately we are in Orlando, FL where it is far too hot to be outside most of the time, but being outside is so important. Our "initiative" is to get out of the house more so I think that counts. Today we went bowling. Put DOWN the video games. But if I have to give you a favorite nighttime activity I'll say...going on a long walk around the neighborhood and playing Eye Spy!


  3. We don't get out at night often. We have little ones that need to go to bed. But, we do get outside a lot.

  4. We love to have a late dinner and grill. Then we sit around the firepit and have s'mores. Somehow it always ends up in a big chase. And as long as it's still warm, which it usually is, a late night water balloon fight is a great way to cool off!

  5. We love to play in the pool during the afternoon or grilling out as a family for dinner. Camping is equally fun.

  6. I would say watching the fireworks on the 4th! Or a drive-in movie?

  7. Because my kids are very small and we live in a metropolitan area we don't go on any big adventures, but we do like to get out at night. We have a great balcony with a picnic table and during the summer we eat dinner outside and then play bubbles & sidewalk chalk!


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