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5 ways families can make the most of their outdoor space this summer

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(BPT) - Are your kids getting enough time outside? A survey commissioned by the makers of Claritin® of 5,000 American parents of children aged 5-13 found that 81% agreed their children are excited to be outside – yet 55% are worried their kids aren't spending enough time outside.

Getting outside isn't just good for your kids’ mental and physical health – it’s an excellent way for families to bond and create memories together. When surveyed, 78% of parents said that some of their favorite childhood memories are of playing outside, with 66% revealing they want to recreate those memories with their children.

While more than half (55%) of parents admit their kids spend more time outside now than pre-pandemic times, 72% acknowledge they'd spend more time outside if their personal outdoor space was more exciting.

Not sure where to start? The Outsideologist Project, from the makers of Claritin®, offers many ideas to encourage children to spend more time playing outside – whether it’s in your own backyard, local park, or anywhere in between. Below are five tips on how you can make your outdoor space more exciting and engaging with fun activities the whole family will enjoy.

1. Sports

What are your fondest memories of playing sports – catch, kicking around a soccer ball or shooting hoops with your parents? Many kids develop a passion for sports from their parents. You can nurture their interests by regularly playing different sports with them.

While you may not have enough people to play teams, you can teach your kids the fundamentals and help improve their skills. Turn your lawn, backyard, or even the park into a mini training camp. For example, if your children are interested in soccer, you can designate sections of the yard or field for different skills, like dribbling around cones, scoring a goal and passing the ball.

2. Games

There are plenty of backyard games your kids can enjoy this summer and beyond. The tried-and-true classics like tag, water balloon fights and hide and seek are always a hit, but you can also try fun creative games as well.

If your children like to play pretend, you can make their day by creating a treasure hunt so your little pirates can go exploring. Hide a few small prizes in your backyard, draw up a map with clues or challenges and set your kids off on a great adventure.

You can also create a backyard obstacle course with cones, pool noodles, hula hoops or any other materials you may have. Bend the pool noodles or cardboard boxes to make tunnels or hurdles, and place hula hoops, or use chalk to create hopscotch-like obstacles. If you have slides, incorporate those into the course for more challenging obstacles.

3. Gardening

It's never too early to get children involved in gardening. If you're an experienced gardener or a hobbyist, you already have a wealth of knowledge to pass on to your kids. Teach them which plants grow best in which seasons, show them the different parts of a plant or flower and explain how they grow and thrive.

If you grow your own fruits and vegetables, you can teach your children how to plant and tend these crops. Into flowers or herbs? Teach your kids how to identify them and explain their different uses.

Don’t have a green thumb? Depending on your kids' ages, do some research and have an interactive science lesson on photosynthesis, the plant lifecycle or how the outdoors engages all five senses.

4. Art

Arts and crafts aren't just indoor activities. You can have your child look for natural materials in your backyard to incorporate into their art projects. For example, they can paint a rock, make an owl sculpture out of a pinecone or press flowers to use as decorations for bookmarks or journals. Best of all, creating art outside means there is no mess inside your home and makes for an easy cleanup.

5. Camping

No list of outdoor recreation would be complete without camping. You don't need to plan for a long weekend at a state park to enjoy camping. Simply set up a tent in your backyard, break out the sleeping bags and make sure you have bug spray and sunscreen.

If you don’t have a tent, grab some blankets and get creative! You can make an outdoor fort or just relax and do some stargazing.

"Getting outside is essential to children's overall well-being," said Claritin spokesperson Catherine Vennat. "That's why The Outsideologist Project is dedicated to providing parents/guardians with fun and engaging activities for their own little adventurers.”

For more ideas and inspiration on making the most of your outdoor space, including a fun expert-guided curriculum of activities to do with your kids this summer, follow @outsideologistproject on Instagram and Facebook. To learn more about the project, visit Claritin.com/The-Outsideologist-Project.

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