With more and more kids stuck to their gadgets these days, it can feel challenging to think of ways to encourage outdoor play. However, it’s so important as outside games can improve creativity whilst staying active can improve a child’s health.
A child should always get some daily fresh air, away from the artificial lights of computers, tablets and television screens. You don’t have to venture far to feel the benefits of the outdoors, just encouraging play in the confined space of a garden can make a difference. Here are ten creative ways you can get your child to enjoy playing outside.
1. Create a child friendly space
First thing you need to do is to create a child-friendly space in your garden. This could simply mean recreating their favourite parts of the playground in your garden such as setting up a tyre swing, building a treehouse or even just setting up a tent. Clear a space for outdoor games and remove spiky plants.
2. Kit them out in appropriate gear
Avoid grumpy faces and mucky clothes by ensuring they always have suitable clothing for outdoor play. Wrap them up warm, and get all suited and wellington booted for a day spent splashing in puddles and enjoying the mud. Encouraging them to get messy with the right gear may inspire them to get outside more. Take a spare set of clothes too when out and about.
3. Try a new sport
If your child would rather be in front of the television than outside in the sunshine, try and spark their interest with a new sport. Try football, badminton, tennis, dodgeball, frisbee and even croquet to encourage them to leave the house.
4. Wildlife watch
With hundreds of national parks around the UK, there’s lots of wildlife to discover and spend time searching for. Spot birds, foxes and rabbits as they burrow homes out in the wild and make a game of it with a scavenger hunt. There’s nothing more exciting than catching a glimpse of a wild rabbit darting across the grass or a bird feeding its babies in its nest – share this wonder with your little ones.
Lay a blanket on the grass and settle down together for a homemade picnic. Perfect for a warm Sunday afternoon, you can even create meals in the kitchen together before venturing into the great outdoors for garden games and snacks.
6. Plant and watch grow
For an outdoors activity that lasts longer than one afternoon, plant sunflowers, potatoes or tomatoes. This is also a great opportunity to teach the children about plant life and nutrition – as you nurture and watch the plants grow over time. They’ll be running outside to check on their new green friends every day.
7. Build a home
Put your kid’s creative skills to the test and let them build a home for animals. Use materials you can find in the garden and create a home suitable for birds, butterflies, hedgehogs, worms, or plant a bumblebee safe haven. You can get starter kits for wormerys and bumble bee homes or make your own.
8. Making perfume with flowers
Not all creative outside activities have to be rough play. Make daisy chains, leaf crowns and get creative with flowers. Making perfume with flowers or flower pressing can be a fun and inexpensive thing to do as a family while still encouraging them to play outside.
9. Scavenger hunt
Find an organised event in your local area or leave clues, create a map and set up your own scavenger hunt. This fun game can be something to get excited about at the weekend and can start in the house before heading outdoors.
10. Chalk hopscotch
Often etched in school playgrounds; the notion of chalking a hopscotch has been around for generations. That’s because there’s nothing wrong with a chalk hopscotch, in fact, it can be a superb way to get the kids outside if they don’t like the mud and encourages them to be active as well. When they get bored of jumping they can stay outside and decorate the patio. Jumbo pavement chalks will keep the kids entertained for ages on your driveway and washes off with the rain.
Try out one of these creative ideas to inspire your kids to play outside and leave the tablets at home!
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