In a world where entertainment is available at the touch of a button, it can be hard to drag your kids away from the likes of games consoles, TVs, tablets and phones. Here, we exploring some of the ways you can “unplug” your kids from the drain of screen time and broaden their horizons to include the great outdoors. So what are some creative ways to entertain kids outdoors?
There’s nothing more grounding for both you and your kids than getting out in nature, returning home with muddy boots, cheeks turned pink from chilly air and that unmistakable smell of fresh air on your clothes. A way to jazz up a family walk in a way that will have your little ones forgetting all about their iPad is to make it into a scavenger hunt. For example, task your kids with spotting particular things, such as a yellow leaf, a piece of moss, a blackbird, or a feather.
It’s competitive, it’s fun and there’s not a screen in sight. Take it back to basics with a game that everyone enjoys, with crazy courses that make for an active day out that’s plenty of fun, too. Many crazy golf facilities will also have a cafe on-site, which invites a treat meal or snack at the same time.
A summer camp
School holidays are a prime breeding ground for an increase in screen time and, as much as we’d like them to, our workplaces don’t have half terms. There are alternatives to planting your kids on the sofa though, and often the easiest to organise and most enjoyable for your child are summer camps. These are safe, secure environments run throughout the weekdays of a school holiday in which dedicated staff provide a range of fun activities for kids to enjoy. These are often out in nature, on a sports field, or rooted in arts and crafts.
A bike ride
Cycling isn’t the most “out there” idea for entertaining your kids outside, but it sure is effective. Pick a safe route in your local area that you and your kids can explore on two wheels, getting a healthy dose of exercise while having fun.
Cycling in their leisure time is a great way to build up kids’ confidence on a bike with no time pressures, particularly while they’re able to be under your watchful eye.
Camp in the back garden
Who says you have to go far from home to have an adventure? Camping in the back garden can be just as fun as heading to a campsite, with the added bonus of a fully equipped kitchen for that essential fry up in the morning, plus your own bathroom facilities.
For older kids, getting them involved in Geocaching can work much like nature hunts can for younger ages. Geocaching is essentially a big game treasure hunt that sees participants use GPS to locate “caches” hidden around the country. Once you’ve found one, open it up and sign the log book, putting it back as you found it to allow someone else the satisfaction of finding it.
High ropes adventures
Treetop adventures such as those offered by Go Ape allow kids to explore the world above our heads in a safe, controlled and fun way. Assault courses assembled between trees offer a magical escape for kids, with boundary-pushing and confidence-building challenges that will give them bragging rights for a fair few days to come.
Plant a vegetable garden
Getting green fingers works in several ways when it comes to getting your kids involved, particularly if you choose to plant a vegetable garden. On one level they’re getting outside and partaking in something of a mindfulness activity by preparing the soil and planting the seeds. On another, they’re learning about where food comes from, as well as grasping patience as they wait for the fruits of their labour – literally.