How to play outside: 50 things for ‘digital kids’ to do
by Terry Hayek
So you’ve been asked to go out, and you’re not sure what to do.
Of course, you are not happy about it. There’s no electricity outside, no Wi-Fi and the sunlight on your iPad screen is absolutely terrifying.
You remember going out before, but can’t remember much beyond going from home to car to car to shop to car to home again – a familiar pattern.
Either way, you’re sure it’s bad to be out. After all, your parents have to stay in – why should you go out? There is nothing to do, and you will be bored. Remember that your failure to play outside is our failure as parents and teachers, so we’re going to work it out together.
Before you open the door, shield your eyes with your arm; The sun (that big, hot ball of fire in the sky) is bright. But more on the sun later – just shield your eyes and walk outside. You may notice that everything is quite different—more spacious, different sound, no touchscreen.
You interact with a different ‘outside’ than a computer or tablet—where multitasking is a matter of walking and talking, or throwing a baseball and smiling. There are no download times, no notification bars, and when people want you, they shout your name and make eye contact with you. (It might be unsettling at first, but you’ll get used to it). Be prepared for an outward shift that is not ‘user-centred’, inside a structured and me-centric home.
(Seriously, don’t make me lock the door; I will and the court will be on my side.)
see more Shifting focus from ideas to the impact of those ideas
Now that you’re outside and your eyes have adjusted to the light, notice that the closer you get to trees and flowers, the more they compete with your iPad’s retina display.
It’s not by accident—your iPad is designed to replicate real life—like tree bark, sunsets, and human faces. Resist the urge to take a TikTok video—just keep walking, and pay careful attention to the world around you, which has been here 4 billion years longer than your smartphone. Don’t worry about ‘what to do’. Just observe.
If you’re feeling crazy, rebellious, and out of control, take off your shoes and walk barefoot on the grass. Sounds weird doesn’t it? Tickling your feet? Feeling good between your toes? great Take a walk in between—maybe lie on your back and look up at the clouds. Discover something you’ve never seen before—imagine the sky as a giant wallpaper for your iPad, pinch and zoom clouds, and everything.
(No, seriously – if you do that last part and admit it, I’m locking you out and you’re not coming back.)
Start the interaction
Your next step is to find other people and see what they are doing. Note that you won’t see any colorful avatars or duck faces outside (well, except for an actual duck face). Here everything is real, permanent and sage. Bright yellow stars in the sky? that sun Keep track of it. It can burn you in the summer and darkens when it starts to set. If you close your eyes and turn your face towards him, it can make you feel pleasure.
And when it starts to set and spread Light paint Across the world without an Instagram filter, just know it happens almost every night. Maybe a reminder on your phone to check it out from time to time?
There is a knock on the door.
You may want to communicate with others, and do it without a text or DM, and you may have to knock on doors and ask if you can come play. (Yes, teenagers can knock on doors, too.)
Knocking etiquette is simple—thump your fist on the door moderately loudly but not offensively 3 or 4 times, then wait. If no one comes to the door within 30 seconds, try one more time—or a doorbell, and wait again. It could be that someone isn’t home, but without a GPS chip around their neck, it’s hard to know for sure. You can be on your own for a bit.
If they answer? Ask if they want to play. That’s it.
What you should do, we’ll go over those ideas in a moment. For now, just notice that the houses and hills and trees aren’t shaped like blocks like in Minecraft. You don’t get XP and level up for completing tasks, and there’s no constant stream of news to keep you connected. These are not errors.
What do you ‘do’ without clear goals, objectives and objectives? This is your life’s work, kid.
of other reasons
As you play, remember that exertion can make you sweat on a hot day. These little wet spots on your forehead are completely normal, and will go away when you wipe them or reduce exertion Don’t be alarmed.
And note that without Google, you might have to live without knowing it the second you want to know it. You will (probably) survive.
Stopping the game
Knowing when to stop your game is a very personal thing.
If you need to use the restroom, stop playing and use it.
If you’re hungry, you can grab a sandwich and go back outside to play.
Eventually, your friend may have to go home, or it may start to get dark. This means you’re running out of time outside, but remember that you don’t necessarily have to go inside just because it’s dark. Stay a little closer to home—maybe tag along in the front yard, or collect lightning bugs in a jar (even if they stink up your hands—wash your hands before touching your phone).
Still stuck? Here are 50 ideas.
How to play outside: 50 things for ‘digital kids’ to do
- Fly a kite.
- Build a stick fort.
- Dig a hole. bury something Create a time capsule.
- See what’s under the rock.
- Identify the type of tree.
- Run tag, hide and seek or spotlight (tag at night with flashlight).
- Go on a scavenger hunt.
- Make an entry in a nature journal.
- Take a walk or go on a hike.
- Climb the tree.
- To tell the story.
- Learn to tie 10 different types of knots.
- Ride your bike, skateboard or scooter.
- jump rope
- Design a container for an egg to hatch (and survive) from 10 feet using only organic materials.
- Throw a baseball or football.
- Identify, catalog and describe all local wildlife patterns.
- Identify and collect edible berries, grasses and other foods. (Only eat after an adult is okay.)
- Camp in the yard.
- Avoid rocks.
- Use a stick and the sun to determine cardinal directions.
- Build a soapbox car.
- Learn to make a campfire with an adult.
- Burn the leaves with a magnifying glass.
- Sand wood to an attractive polish by hand.
- Make a lemonade stand.
- Plant a tree, shrub or garden.
- Use a compass.
- Spot sizes in clouds.
- Sparkle (safely).
- Study the creek water with a microscope.
- Write down what you see – and what you don’t.
- Hopscotch game.
- Close your eyes and do not open them until you have identified at least 10 words.
- play charades
- Play I-Spy (“I spy something red that’s taller than a house.”)
- Have a water balloon fight.
- Play team sports.
- Be a historical detective (guess when and why things happened).
- to draw
- Look at the stars with a telescope.
- Identify animal footprints in the mud.
- Find fossils.
- The sidewalk is painted with chalk.
- Play town planner and redesign (through sketches) a local area—a park, shopping center, etc.
- the fish
- Clean something – a car, a park, a neighbor’s yard, etc.
- Sit and do nothing.
Image attribution to Flickr users johntrainor, roxijc, markiverson, and pennuja