Playing alone is far from lonely… kids learn skills, build confidence, and stay healthier. Don’t be afraid to send them “outside” to play when they complain there’s no one to play with.

We all know that mothers back in the day just told their kids to “go play outside,” no matter what was going on outside. Even though times indeed have changed, we need to be mindful that solo play is healthy time for kids, helping them build confidence, hone skills, and actually have fun.

The key to all of this? Solo play away from the digital. Here’s a list of 10 ways a child can play all by him- or herself, and be better off for it. Next time your kido is hanging around complaining of having no one to play with, have one of these ideas on hand.

  • Take a bike ride. Or roller skate, scooter, or skateboard. (Don’t forget your helmet and pads!)
  • Jump rope and count how many times you can jump before you miss.
  • Play tennis? Try hitting a tennis ball against a brick wall.
  • Like basketball? Try shooting hoops and seeing how many you can sink.
  • Improve your soccer skills. Grab a ball, and see how long you can keep it in the air using your feet, knees, and head.
  • Practice hopscotch. See how long you can hop on one foot.
  • Do jumping jacks.
  • Invent some dance moves.
  • Hula hoop. See how long you can move the hoop before it falls to ground. Try to swing more than one hoop at a time.
  • Do sprints (short running races) and time yourself to see how fast you go. Use a pedometer to count the number of steps between your favorite places, like your house and the park.

Read more on GoLocalProv. Every week I share tips on how families can make the most of their family time – including helpful hints that make parenting easier and connecting you to great local happenings.