Make the outdoors a part of your normal family routine. When the kids and I go to any nearby stores, we always walk. We found a walking trail in our area that leads to pretty much every destination we have nearby. Whenever possible, we walk on this trail. We are a green family and try not to use vehicles if we don't have to. If we can walk or use a city bus, we will. This involves a great deal of walking. But we turn it into an adventure by using the trails or whatever else is around us. If we aren't outdoors in that way, you'll catch us outside reading, playing in the garden, and more. I work at home and the kids are homeschooled. So you'll even catch us working and studying outdoors. What each family does will vary. But the point is to be outdoors as much as possible.
Say 'get to' rather than 'have to'. When kids think they have to do something, it becomes a chore. When they know they "get to," it becomes something fun. If you tell the kids to go outside and they don't want to, don't make them. You can make it more interesting by setting up something fun for them to do. But never force them to go outdoors, Otherwise, it becomes a negative, rather than positive thing in their mind. If you stay excited about the outdoors, chances are they will as well.
Play family sports. You don't have to be expert players. Simply play the sports you are all interested in. One of my daughters enjoys soccer, so we have a goal, ball, and other supplies to play that as a family. Another daughter enjoys basketball. Other interests include volleyball, badminton, tetherball, croquet, mini golf, and more. We keep around the proper equipment and supplies for all of our favorite sports and play as a family as often as we can.
Turn off the television. Outside of NBA basketball and educational shows I watch with the kids, I watch zero TV. Why? There are better things to do. If I'm not working, the kids and I are outdoors on some kind of adventure. Television has become such a huge part of people's lives that it can keep you from doing other things as a family. Not all families will want to cut out as much TV as we do and that's fine. But turning it out and getting outdoors even a few times a week is a great way to encourage your kids to love the outdoors.
Keep it interesting. If you do the same exact thing every time you go outside, the kids will get bored easily. Mix it up. While we walk the trails quite often, it isn't the only things the kids do outdoors. They love to garden with my mom. Skateboarding, biking, mock treasure hunts, and hopscotch are some of the other activities our family enjoys. We also like to collect items from nature to use in craft projects. Twigs, fallen leaves, fallen pine cones, and dried grass are just some of the great items nature offers as crafting tools. Each family will have their own preferences. It's not so much about the exact activity as it is about staying outdoors and keeping things interesting and fun.
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network