Get outside and socialize!

Whether you are an adult or a child, play is a wonderful way to get exercise and to socialize. Go retro and bring out the outside games of the past.

With spring upon us, many of us are ready to get outside and take in the fresh air. We have been cooped up in our homes, many of us, behind a computer screen. Children in particular are spending less time in free and outdoor play and more time in front of screens at an alarming rate. Research has already indicated this to be one of the causes of obesity, but we are also seeing lower social interaction as an effect of too much screen time.Get outside and socialize

By encouraging outside play for the family, the benefits are plentiful. According to research, families that play outside regularly are fit, increase coordination, have stronger immune systems, are more creative, have lower stress levels and increased respect for themselves, and others.

Why not go into spring with a twist this year and go retro by bringing back old fashion outdoor games? Many of us have fond memories playing tag, kick-the-can, hide-and-seek, and jumping rope. Many of our children have never participated in these games. So now is the perfect time to encourage old fashion fun.

Here are just a few examples of some classic outside games:

Tag/freeze tag: To play, one person is “it,” they chase others and try to touch or tag. That person becomes “it” and repeats.

Hopscotch: Draw the traditional hopscotch design and toss the rock onto the first square. Hop over the rock and jump onto each part of the diagram until the end, then turn around and hop back.

Jump rope: This can be played alone or in groups, with many different versions.

Kickball: Just like baseball, except kicking a large, rubber ball.

Red light, green light: Players run when one person says “green light.” Players freeze when that person says “red light.” Those who are caught moving must go back to the starting line. The first one to the traffic light wins!

Foursquare: Draw a large square on concrete with chalk and divide it into quarters. Two to four players can participate by bouncing the ball into another player’s square. If a player allows the ball to bounce twice or fails to hit it back, they’re out.

Capture the flag: The more players the better for this game involving two teams, each having a flag or marker for the team base. Each team tries to capture the other team’s flag without getting tagged by opponents.

These are just a few great outdoor games that you and your children can do that are great fun as well as offer exercise and awesome social interaction. Michigan State University Extension provides additional information on how to increase physical and emotional wellbeing by visiting their website.

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