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11 Ways to Get Your Teen Outside for 20 Minutes a Day

Teens get messy outside with colored chalk.
Photo by Eliott Reyna on Unsplash

Getting your teen outside every day for just 20 minutes can make a huge impact on their health and happiness (and yours, if we’re being honest)!

Sunshine is known to be a crucial element in health and well-being; from activating necessary vitamins that keep us physically healthy to impacting mood and emotional regulation. And even though so many kids seem to have an aversion for the outdoors, the reality is, a few minutes can be the difference between positive well-being and, well not so positive.

A lot of parents aren’t sure how to get their kids out the door, so I made a list of ideas on how to get your teen outside for 20 minutes a day. Here are some examples of 20 minute outdoor activities for teen health and fitness:

TAKE A 20 MINUTE WALK EACH DAY

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A 20 minute walk is a perfect way to get both exercise and sunshine everyday. And you don’t just have to tell your kid to “take a walk” and kick me out of the house for 20 minutes(although I’m totally guilty of doing this!). Here are some ideas for getting your teen to go for a 20 minute walk without the why argument!

SHOOT BASKETBALL HOOPS

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Shooting hoops is fun whether you’re teen is on their own or with friends. It can be a great way to vent out excess energy and anxiety, and of course, use those muscles, hand eye coordination skills, and get a bit of sunshine. If you don’t have a hoop at home

JUMP ROPE 

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Jumping rope may seem a bit childish for. A teen, but it’s actually a really great core and whole body workout that is very grown up. If you have a patio, backyard or driveway, your teen can jump rope and maybe even practice a few cool tricks, like these:

RIDE BIKE, SCOOTER OR SKATEBOARD

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This may seem obvious, but too many teens actually have one or more of these items and rarely ever use it! If your teen has a bike, scooter, skateboard or even skates or rollerblades, encourage them to use it more often! Like every day, for say 20 minutes! 

They can use these to:

GO SWIMMING

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If your lucky enough to have a pool live in an area where there is a beach and/or outdoor pools available, have your teen go swimming or chill by the water. Some places where you might find access to a pool or beach area:

PLAY CATCH

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This doesn’t have to be throwing a ball back and forth, although if your teen likes it and it gets them outside, more power to em! But if baseball or football isn’t their thing try these ideas:

DO YOGA, THAI CHI OR MEDITATE OUTSIDE

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This can be something you do with your teen or that they can do on their own. My daughter and I do yoga together on the patio twice a week usually, and it’s just really nice and relaxing. 

If you don’t really have a good outdoor space for this, consider doing it at a park or at the beach. Or join a class that practices outdoors together. 

This is a great way to not just soak up some rays, but to practice mindfulness and spiritual self care as well.

JOG, RUN OR SWEEDWALK

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If you have a teen who has a lot of energy (don’t roll your eyes, they exist), running, jogging or speed walking may be a good outdoor activity. Whether your teen is a morning person or a night owl, a ten minute jog is good way to release stress and endorphins. 

If your teen is too embarrassed to be seen by the neighbors (like my daughter), try these ideas:

This is also another activity you can do with your teen, if you want!

EAT MEALS OUTSIDE

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It doesn’t have to be every meal, but choose one and make it a special thing to eat outside.

 I adopted this idea when I started working from home and my kids started unschooling. My son hates most outdoor activities and my daughter has a hyper mobility disorder that makes it hard for her to walk, run or play sports. Since they are both vitamin d deficient, I had to come up with creative ways to get them out of the house and into the light! 

Every day at lunch time  we all stop working and have lunch on the patio by the pool. On super hot days, we sit on the edge with our feet dangling in the water and eat our sandwiches or smoothies. 

If lunchtime doesn’t work for you, try having coffee with your teen on the porch (even if they are having cocoa or something else). You could also have a picnic, grill out, or just serve an afternoon snack on the porch. Whatever works for you and your family!

PLAY GOLF

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I know this is a stretch, as most single moms aren’t going to be able to afford golf lessons. And that’s ok. There are a few ways you can get your teen to enjoy golf – and the outdoors for little to no money.

GET A JOB THAT’S OUTSIDE

Photo by Enrique Ortega Miranda on Unsplash

I don’t mean they have to spend 8 hours outside. My kids would never! 

But there are lots of jobs that require being outdoors for at least part of the time.

I hope this helps get the ideas rolling on how to get your teen to spend at least 20 minutes a day outside! If you have any other tips, shoot me a quick email or add it to the comments below!

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