Make Outside Great Again

For months now, the federal government has been airing Public Service Announcements (PSAs) to educate and inspire people about the forest. The PSAs are well-written and produced, and in each case, they involve a character telling people to visit the forest, as it is “closer than you think.”

I’ve been thinking about these PSAs because I like to occasionally play outside with my daughters. The problem is that my children seemingly need a reason to go outside. They like to do things outdoors, but if playing Barbie and or baking seems more intriguing, then we’re likely not going to venture outdoors. That’s fine. That’s who my daughters are, but I still want to take a walk, ride bicycles, do something that does not involve basking in artificial lighting and sitting in the cool of the day by the air conditioner. The really great thing about going outside is that, for most readers, outside is even closer than the forest. It will not cost you anything, save energy and maybe some perspiration.

Summer is quickly approaching. So is the next weekend that some dads will have their children at home. Find a fun and entertaining project to get off the couch, out of the house and away from the tablets. Shake things up a bit. Need some ideas? Type fun things to do outside into an Internet search engine. You will find a list of things from many different sources. Here are just a few ideas:

Go on a run, walk or hike
Ride bicycles
Play soccer or volleyball (sets are relatively inexpensive)
Go fishing
Make a bonfire and roast hotdogs and marshmallows
Tent camp in the backyard
Sketch or draw your home. Put the artwork on your refrigerator
Catch butterflies or ‘lightning bugs’

These ideas barely scratch the surface of what could be done outside. You can even have Bible study and plan your reading to involve Creation or some Biblical event that took place outdoors. In either case, act things out with your kids and talk about what it must have looked or sounded like. The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof (Psalm 24:1). If that’s the case, why are we not taking the time to enjoy His earth?

I’m not saying that I never take it easy. I’m not pretending that I’ve never said, “I just want to lay around today,” but I do want my girls to experience all that childhood (and my income) offers. They may not always be willing to go outside. They might seem content with their technology and toys, but find ways to get them outside. When you go back inside, play a game with them using their toy of choice. This is the day which the Lord hath made (Psalm 118:24). Rejoice and be glad in all of it, not just your home.

Chris Woodward

Assistant Editor, One Million Dads
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