We all say it to our kids, ‘back in our day, we’d spend all day outside!’
I know I’ve said it enough times to mine.
And I guess it is true – back in those days, we did spend a lot of time outside. I mean, it took half the day to even load up a computer game. Well it certainly felt like it. Not to mention that kid’s TV was actually only on at certain times of the day.
My own kids have gone from wide eyed incredulous at the thought of such torture, to eye rolling boredom as I retell the hardships of growing up in the 1980s. Again.
After too much nagging on my part I decided it was about time I flipped it over and made going outside more fun than being inside on screens. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti screens – but I got fed up of the screen time battle. Everything in moderation is the name of the game.
1. Go On An Adventure
Getting outside with the kids doesn’t need to cost lots of money. The important thing is to make it sound like a really exciting adventure that they can help plan out before you even go.
- Grab a map of your local area (Google Maps will do) and plan out your route together. You could highlight which way you are going to go and give your child the very important task of directing you.
- Decide on your mode of transport. Of course foot is the most obvious but you could also ride a bike, skates, scooter, or even an electric scooter if your little one is after a bit of added excitement! You could include a bus or train ride – my eldest son thinks going on a train is the main part of any day out!
- Pack some snacks, even if you are only planning on an adventure around the block.
- Take a notepad and camera and encourage your child to record some notes as well as take some photos or video footage.
- Collect anything of interest on your adventure – leaves, interesting sticks or other memorabilia.
- When you get home sit down together to chat about the adventure and perhaps record it in a scrapbook to look back on. Its the little things that create the big memories!
2. Give Them A Vegetable Patch
Teaching kids to garden is a genius idea. Some will love it, some will get bored after 5 minutes. If you find yourself with one that is particularly green fingered then encourage it. Not only will you always have a willing gardener to pull up those weeds, with any luck, they’ll be growing you a few vegetables.
Start small and just get them planting some simple things like potatoes, tomatoes, carrots etc. Encourage them to water them and keep them free of pests.
When it comes time to harvest I guarantee your child will feel super proud that what they have grown is being turned into that night’s dinner.
3. Make Some Bubble Mixture
For the younger ones (and although they won’t admit it, some older ones), blowing bubbles provides endless fun. Chase them, catch them, pop them.
Making your own bubble mixture is simple.
Better still, get yourself a bubble machine that does the blowing for you! Pop it on the trampoline and bounce over them bubbles!
Speaking of trampolines…
4. Get Bouncing
I can’t tell you how many hours I have spent bouncing on our trampoline. Not only is it super good fun – it’s good for you too!
And as much as we all love to jump, there is a whole lot more you can do on a trampoline. Check out these Pinterest boards for some inspiration.
Trampolines used to be really expensive but they have really come down in price and you can get some really reasonable ones now. If you have young children (and even for older ones) it’s worth also buying the enclosure to save on any potential bounce offs!
You might be interested in: The Best Trampoline Buying Guide >>
5. Collect Bugs
Many young children have an insatiable obsession for bugs and insects – my 10 year old still checks under the rocks in our front garden most mornings to see what that ants and woodlice are up to. Meet their thirst for all things buggy by setting them the challenge to go and see how many different kinds they can spot.
Ask them to take photos or if you are feeling brave, give them a tub to collect some. Grab a magnifying glass so they can see it up close. Get them to draw a picture of it and then they can have fun researching everything about it and labelling it.
6. Get Wet
On a hot day nothing quite beats a water fight. My kids love nothing more than having a reason to pour a bucket load of cold water over my head!
Grab some water guns, water bombs, or just a plastic cup and some water. Or, if you’d rather skip the water fight, set up a paddling pool or pop a sprinkler on.
7. Play A Sport
Have your own mini sports day. Work out an order of events and let everyone take part. Activities can be as simple as running races, egg and spoon, potato sack, three legged races and limbo with a broomstick!
Or keep it really simple and head out in the garden or local park with a football or tennis ball and play catch. One knee, two knee is a favourite with us!
If you want to encourage a little competiveness amongst the family, why not buy some fitness trackers for the kids? You can all synch up and see who takes the most steps in a day!
8. Build A Treehouse
Ok so this is quite a mega project! But seriously, it’s every kids (and adults?!) dream right? I know I would have really loved a treehouse in my back garden when I was a kid. You can either buy a flat packed treehouse or playhouse – or if your DIY skills are up to the task, build your own!
Failing that, treat them to a treehouse holiday 🙂