University of Florida

Encouraging Children to Play Outside

With so many games and movies available on TVs and iPads, your child may feel less motivated to ride a bike, swim in the pool, or play in the backyard this summer. However, children need at least one hour of physical activity each day to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

When children play outside regularly, they create healthy habits, become more creative, develop motor skills, and build stronger bones. Not only that, but active children feel more accomplished at the end of the day.

Motivating Your Child

Use the following tips to help your child jump off the couch and go play outside.

  • Remember it starts with you—be a good role model and be active with your child.
  • Help your child plan activities that interest him or her.
  • Involve the whole family when doing activities.
  • Provide different playtime choices—hula hoops, beach balls, and jump ropes are great options.
  • Limit your child’s television, video game, and computer time to less than two hours each day.
  • Introduce your child to different sports—such as soccer, basketball, and tennis—to see which one he or she enjoys.
  • If weather keeps you inside, then dance, play hide-and-seek, or go to the mall and walk.
  • Do noncompetitive activities with your child and focus just on having fun.


By teaching your child to be more active at a young age, you can help him or her develop healthy habits that will last a lifetime.

Adapted and excerpted from:

Active Play Tip Sheets,” USDA Food and Nutrition Service(12/2012).

Encourage Active Play and Participate with Children,” USDA Food and Nutrition Service (06/2013).

Healthy Tips for Active Play,” USDA Choose MyPlate (rev. 05/2012).

children running

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