As glad as we are that you are reading this post, we really want you to go outside. Because unless it's 12 degrees, raining or 4:00 in the morning, there's no reason for you and the kids not to be outside. So bag the laundry; forget the cleaning; turn off the computer. And grab a few of these outdoor-play basics for a run-around, get-out-of-breath, fresh-air good time.
1. Whiffle ball set
The thwack of that long yellow bat against that lightweight white ball may very well become part of your soundtrack to summer. Don't worry about adhering to any rules; just enjoy tossing and batting (and hunting for) the ball.
2. Hula hoop
Hula hooping is one of the best exercises out there. It's not easy, though, so expect it to be a bit of a challenge. The important thing, as always, is to have fun trying.
3. Soccer ball
Kids, whether they're destined to be athletes or not, love to kick a soccer ball around. And because kids, as you probably know, can be rather tough on balls, we advise you to invest in an above-average (meaning not the cheapest on the market) soccer ball, so that it has some chance of surviving the season.
4. Kid-friendly Frisbee
Regular Frisbees, as great as they are, can be hard and a little scary for young kids to catch. The Beamo, on the other hand, is lightweight (though enormous) and slightly less likely to knock a child out. Also, given its aerodynamic design, it's capable of flying incredibly far. And flying incredibly far is fun. Less fun? The damage a capable-of-flying-incredibly-far-Beamo can do to those delicate plants in your garden. Our advice? Take the Beamo to a big, open park where it can do its thing without smashing the daffodils.
5. Kiddie pool
We are fans of inflatable pools, but those hard plastic ones do the job just as well. You'll be surprised by just how much exercise your kids get in their kiddie pool. Passively bobbing and soaking up the sunshine? Pffffftt.
6. Trike or bike, with a helmet
Make sure that your child can comfortably push the pedals and that she understands fundamental bike/trike safety rules. A good bike shop can help you find the right bike or trike (and helmet) for your child.
For blowing and chasing.
8. Sidewalk chalk
For drawing cats, monsters, trains and castles. Also, for drawing Hopscotch courses.
Any jumprope will do, but our favorites are ones with sturdy, easy-to-hold wooden or hard plastic handles.
10. Exercise ball
An exercise ball, like a Frisbee, can really do a number on your daffodils, which is why it's best enjoyed in a big, open, plant-free space. There's almost no limit to what your kid can do with an exercise ball. And what, in your child's eyes, even constitutes exercise, may just surprise you.
So there you are. Those are our suggestions. Now turn off the computer and get outside!
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