Getting outside and being in nature is very important for our wellbeing and for our children’s health and happiness. In lockdown it is even more crucial as we are spending most of our time indoors and children are missing out on playing in the playground at school, plus the daily walk to school and back. However, when the day is grey and cold, and there are fun things to do at home it is sometimes difficult to motivate children to go outside. Here are a few ideas to make outdoors fun:
Take a camera out with you and set a challenge or a different theme for each walk. For example on a rainy day, you could set them the challenge of photographing reflections in puddles, or you could ask them to take close ups of objects they come across on the walk and then you can try and guess the objects when you get home.
Make your walk an expedition to collect leaves, petals and twigs for a nature picture. Then when you get home ask your children to create a picture and use what they have collected to decorate the picture. Here is an example of a picture my children made using leaves.
Geocaching is a fun activity that you can do with the family. You can download the app for free and then off you go. More details can be found on the geo-caching website.
Hide and seek
Hide and Seek in the local woods is always a firm favourite. Especially when the adults get involved!
While you are in the woods, you can have fun collecting large branches to make dens. Older kids will enjoy trying to find the biggest stick to make impressive dens, while younger kids will enjoy the imaginative play of having their own secret hideout.
When you next go on a walk, take some buckets or jars with you to collect ingredients for your magic potions. Make sure that the children think about what ingredients they will need and what sort of potion they will be making. When you get home take the ingredients out and add some water with some food colouring to make it look magical. Then add the ingredients one by one to the potion and make a magical concoction.
Set up some different races and do time trials. Try hopping, skipping, running , jumping and relay races and see how they get on. With a bit of preparation, you could also set up an obstacle race, with branches to jump over and trees to run round
Buy a litter grabber, put on thick rubber gloves and pick up rubbish from hedges and grass verges. It will get you outside and provide a valuable service to the local community. It will also create a great understanding of the need to look after our environment.
When you go out for your walk set the challenge of having to spot something different for each letter of the alphabet. See if you can get all the way through the alphabet!
Walks at different times of the day
Go for your walks at different times of the day. Try walks at sunrise, sunset and night time and ask your children to spot how different everything looks
Print off wildlife bingo sheets. Search for them online, there are plenty of free options to print out. Then take a clipboard and a pencil and see how many you can find.
On a particularly miserable day, a promise of a warm bath and a hot chocolate on your return can also work wonders.
I hope you have found some of these ideas useful! Enjoy your outdoor activities and let me know if you use any of these suggestions!