When screens are a top priority in most children’s lives, it can seem quite a hardship to tear them away and find something else to do.
I have compiled a list of what we find fun and encouraging to help our children connect with the outdoors and enjoy themselves too.
Find a trail.
Around many areas of the U.K., there are woodland trails. The forestry commission has introduced its new trail to follow on from the Julia Donaldson and Axel Schaffer books. We thoroughly enjoyed the Gruffalo and Stick Man trails, so were thrilled when the Zog trail appeared. Our eldest son is 9 and he still enjoys following the signs and completing the activities. You can find your nearest trail here.
A real life treasure hunt. Download the geocache app and you can scour the U.K. and beyond for hidden treasure. This is a great free activity to keep the kids involved and active. Let them hold the map and lead the way. They will enjoy the thrill of finding a hidden object, unsure of what they will be looking for. Read about our first geocaching experience here.
Go to the park.
It sounds simple, but even an hour or so at the local swings can turn a grumpy child into a happy one. And if the child is happy, then parents are happy. Maybe, if the weather is nice, take a large blanket and some snacks, and have an impromptu picnic.
Make a den.
Source the local woodland and set up camp for the day. Hunt for large fallen trees and make your own hiding place. Use tree branches to add decorative touches, and pebbles and stones for a walk way. Get the creative juices flowing and keep the kids active.
Go on an animal hunt.
Learn about animal tracks and do some tracking of your own. Have a walk into the woods and see what species of birds you can spot. Take binoculars and hide out in the trees to watch the squirrels. Maybe take a colouring set and draw what you can find.
Follow an adventure checklist.
I have made a bingo card ready for laminating, that can be printed off and used to assist in an adventure in the hills. Kids will enjoy checking off what they can find and will race around to seek out other bits off the list. Can they find a cave? Wild berries? Animal hides? What strange and wonderful insects can they find? You can print it off here.
Spend the night in the garden.
Make a tent in the garden and have a night under the stars. Kids will love a makeshift camping set up. Why not light a fire and roast some marshmallows? Have a teddy bears’ picnic and get the kids favourite toys in on the action.
Go to the beach.
Pick the closest beach, take some pennies for the arcades and a picnic on a blanket. An ideal day out when money is tight. Kids will keep themselves amused, digging holes in the sand and rushing in and out of the sea with the waves. If you can take a ball, there’s beach football, volleyball, dodge ball, and a whole host of other playground games to play. PRO TIP: Take talcum powder to get rid of sand off little hands and toes.
Keep the streets tidy. Go on a rubbish crawl.
Do something good, while getting a daily dose of fresh air. Take 5 minutes every day to walk around where you live and pick up any rubbish that you may see. It will give a sense of pride and doing something good for your community, while instilling healthy habits for the kids.
Paint and hide rocks.
An indoor and outdoor activity, kids will enjoy creating and putting to use something that they have made. The rock painting community is big on Facebook, have a look here. All you have to do is paint a rock, put your name on it and hide it around your community. Or even beyond if you wish. Then sit back and wait for it to be discovered. Maybe find some yourself in the meantime.
How will you get your kids outdoors?