Outdoor activity ideas for children!
Studies have shown that children who spend more time outside are happier and more relaxed! Did you know that time outdoors can even improve our short-term memory, our concentration and our cognitive skills?
Now more than ever, there’s a huge need for active, outdoor play as our mental health is being challenged by the uncertainties and change that 2020 has thrown at us. The more outdoor activities we can encourage our children to do, the more they will reap the physical and emotional benefits. Creating outdoor experiences for the entire family is a great place to start and it’s up to us to help encourage our children to get outdoors.
Many children are unfortunately replacing outdoor play with indoor, sedentary activities like iPad games or social media. They may also be more involved in knowledge-based downtime like homework and studying than children from previous generations.
So here are some of our suggestions for some simple outdoor activities for our children:
1 Go for regular walks, bike rides or runs as a family: During lockdown it was encouraged that we take some exercise once a day and we found as a family we did this and it definitely helped our mental health and reduced the time on the Nintendo! Go and explore your nearest trails and bike paths wherever you are!
2 Let your kids plant a mini-garden: If they are in charge of it, then they will feel more inclined to go outside to water, weed and watch over it. Gardening can be usually satisfying.
3 Create an outdoor scavenger hunt where your kids collect items from nature: Every walk you go on you could think of something specific to collect.
4 Help your kids built a fort outside with a rope and an old sheet: You could go on a hunt for other items that might be fun for them to use on their fort.
5 Have a picnic lunch at the playground or park.
6 Make a bucket list of different parks you want to try and visit.
7 Go on a bug hunt! Give your kids a container and have them collect different kinds of bugs.
8 Turn your garden into an obstacle course: Use cones, sticks, a hula hoop, and other items from your garage or garden to create fun obstacles.
9 Blow gigantic bubbles: Make it into a competition and see who can blow the biggest bubble!
10 Play with water: Kids will jump at the chance to go outside and splash in water. There are lots of creative ways to do it even in colder weather: wash the car, water the garden, or build a water table.
11 Try a new sport: A friendly game of netball, frisbee, or football is a great way to get kids to enjoy playing outside.
12 Make up challenges for your kids to do outside: This is even more fun if there is a prize at the end!
13 Use outdoor toy rotation: Kids are lot more excited to play with toys that they haven’t seen in a while or can’t access. Divide your outdoor toys into 3 bins, and have one big bin of toys out at a time. Rotate when they get bored of them.
14 Bring your normal everyday activities outside: Do homework, eat meals, craft, read books, or play games all outside!
15 Outside art projects: If you are tired of your kids projects making a mess in your house, then bring them outside! Some fun ideas: a playdough picnic, where you let your kids make pretend food out of playdough. Nature art – collect leaves, flower, sticks, seeds, and pine cones to make natural artwork.
16 Ride scooters, bikes or tricycles: Set up a mini race and compete on wheels.
17 Play Bug or Leaf Bingo: Find 10 different bugs or leaves and identify them.
18 Photograph nature: Let our kids borrow your phone camera and see how many different types of wildlife they can find and and take photos of.
19 Make an outdoor activity jar with the above ideas: This helps with kids who have a hard time thinking of things to do, or making decisions. Write different activities on lollypop sticks. Let your kids choose an activity and then head outside. Make the activities easy to act on!
Try some of these ideas over half term and let me know how you get on! I would love to see pictures of you and your children enjoying the great outdoors. I know we will be!