While there are many benefits to spending time outdoors as a family, it’s not always the easiest thing to do. There are many distractions such as mobile phones and game devices, as well as the TV, but being outdoors as a family is well worth the effort. Here are 10 great tips for getting your family to go outdoors:
1 Go on a trip
One easy way to spend time outdoors with the family is to plan a trip. Choose an activity or destination that everyone in the family will enjoy. Some suggested activities you could plan are wild camping (stay fairly close to home to start with), trig bagging or even stargazing.
For a more engaging trip, choose a pace where none of you have been before. get out a map, work out how you will get there and then choose an activity once you get there.
2 Exercise together
For this to work, it needs to be fun. There is no point in telling the kids they will be going for a family walk or bike ride if you do not incorporate a fun element to it. You could aim for a hill summit, where you know there is a ruin or another landmark, head to the beach for a walk, or go for a walk in local woodland and collect leaves for leaf prints or do bark rubbings.
Geocaching or geotouring turns a “boring” walk into a treasure hut, while a family outing to a mountain bike trail centre seems so much more fun than simply “going for a ride”.
Another good idea is to go for a night walk. Take torches and wrap up warm for a fun evening walk.
3 Give your garden some TLC
If you have a garden, you are much more likely to spend quality time in it if it is a relaxing and welcoming space. To create some shade and shelter, you could add a shade sail or pergola. This space can then be used throughout the year. You could also install a children’s play area, a sand pit or a treehouse, or simply set up a dining space outside and enjoy some family meals alfresco.
You could even install some outdoor gym equipment or practise some yoga on the garden lawn or decking.
4 Take food outside
Speaking of food, this is another great way to encourage your household to go outside. From a summer barbecue to a spring-time picnic, or even a winter sausage sizzle or baked potatoes in a fire, you can involve the whole family and get everyone involved. This is one of the many reasons why garden canopies are becoming so popular, as they create a sheltered space for you to use come rain or shine!
5 Build together
If you have children full of energy, a DIY project could be the ideal activity to complete outdoors. Perhaps you have a garden project you’ve always wanted to attempt, like a new pond or water feature? Or build a playhouse or a treehouse. Get your children involved with the whole process as this can help to motivate them.
6 Play games
It may seem like an obvious tip but playing outside with your children is one of the best ways to spend time in the fresh air. From a team sports game to an exciting water balloon fight, or even host your own sports day. The options are endless. You could plan these games weekly and turn them into a fun family day. If you have young children, don’t forget to keep them shaded and cool from the sun.
7 Take up a new family hobby
You could also find a new hobby for your family to take up and learn together. Everyone could have a say in what they want to do, and even vote from a selection of options. From photography, nature painting or even bird watching, there are many hobbies to enjoy in the great outdoors.
8 Harvest together
Whether you are green fingered or you plan a visit to a local farm, harvesting can make for the perfect activity. Berry picking in summer is a great activity, especially as you can then eat the goods.
9 Relax together
Looking for a more relaxing and laid-back approach? You could simply find an area and set up camp for the day. This could be on the beach, in a field or on a hill. Then let the kids just play wild. If they are using their imaginations and they are away from electronic devices, you might be surprised just how much they enjoy themselves and bond as siblings and with you.
10 Don’t forget snacks and treats
One final tip to encourage kids to spend more time outdoors is to ensure there are regular snacks and treats. While many parents will usually be keen to cut the amount of snacking that children do, when outside they are burning calories.
Children often get hungry and if they do not have access to quick bites and snacks then they may end up grumpy and spoiling your whole day.
It’s ok to treat them every so often and especially when you are all exercising as a family.