Do I Have to Go Outside?

by Todd Fitzgerald, Board President, Teach a Kid to Fish

I heard something that I never thought I would hear in a million years.  I was walking down the aisle of a local grocery store and overheard a lively conversation with a mother and her child.  It went a little something like this:

Mother: “It’s so nice outside; I think we should go out and play when we get home.”

Child:  “I don’t want to!  There is nothing fun to do outside.”

Mother:  “We just got you some really fun outside stuff for Christmas, we can play with that.”

Child:  “First, I didn’t get the Xbox game or IPod I wanted and that other stuff sucks.”

Mother:  “I know honey, but the weather is so nice and we need to get outside.”

Child:  “I don’t care if it’s nice, I want to play my Xbox and stay inside.”

To hear this mother trying to get her child to go outside and play was so unnerving to me. I remember a time when parents couldn’t get their kids to come inside regardless of the weather.  I remember all of the kickball, football, soccer, basketball games that would go on at the same time in my neighborhood. 

Countless games of hide and seek, flashlight and freeze tag would go on forever.  Imaginations would run wild with games of cops and robbers, reenactments of our favorite action shows and movies took us to strange lands and mysterious worlds.

Even on the days when we couldn’t get outside we were inside creating indoor football fields, baseball diamonds and basketball hoops out of laundry baskets. We recreated the feats of Michael Jordan, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson that we saw them do.

The HBO Documentary “Weight of the Nation, Kids Quiz” asked kids this question, “How do you burn food without cooking?”  Answers from boiling, roasting, FLAME THROWER, when it’s spicy!  One young lady nailed the answer, “Like doing exercise, burning fat and calories!” 

We must encourage our kids and parents to get out get active and make healthy lifestyle choices.  Here are some tips to get your kids active:       

1)    Make outside fun. Create fun games and activities

2)    Encourage creativity.  Encourage kids to be creative and use their imaginations

3)    Do it together. Life happens and we are all busy, but take time to make an investment in activity! The ROI (return on investment) will be well worth the investment in your kids and you!

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