Spring has sprung,
Summer’s not far away.
Days are getting warmer now,
Time for outside play.
I don’t know why I turned poet just then, it just sort of popped into my head. Anyway, it’s getting warmer and the garden is looking more and more inviting. Time for more outside play, get the kids out there, more fresh air and vitamin D but what exactly can they DO out there? Especially if you have a kid who’s a very indoorsy type of person, how do you convince them to at least spend some time outside. Here’s some ideas to tempt them away from toys and TV and get running around instead.
1. Flying Paper Planes
This really gets kids moving, make paper planes and fly them around the garden. Chase after them and if they go over the neighbours fence, no worries, just make another one. Don’t know how to make a paper plane? …
Now you do.
2. Washing the Car
No not yours, though actually there’s no reason why they couldn’t help with that too. But I mean one of those Little Tykes Cosy Coupe cars or other ride on garden toys. Give them a bucket of bubbly water and a sponge and they can play car washes and clean all the winter mud and muck off at the same time. Result!
3. Baby Bath Time
Kids love playing with water and bubbles so, similar to above, but this time playing bath time with their toy baby dolls.
4. Watering the Garden
With the help of a small, plastic watering can my kids will happily spend ages watering the flowers in our garden. A little tip, to save you repeatedly being asked to refill it, also give them a bucket of water that they can dunk the can in to refill it themselves.
5. Planting Seeds and Bulbs
With a small bag of compost, a few plastic plant pots and a packet of seeds you can turn outside play into a grow-your-own adventure. Sunflower seeds are brilliantly easy to grow and kids are amazed by how tall they get. Get them learning about measuring height by recording how tall the sunflower has grown each week. If fruit and veg is more your thing (hey it might also convince them to eat some!) tomatoes and strawberries are really easy. Even I, notorious plant murderer, can get these things to grow!
6. Go on a Nature Walk
Of course, outside play doesn’t have to be in your garden. Get away from the house altogether and go on a nature walk. Smell the flowers, look up into the trees, down into ponds, lift up rocks and spot the creepy crawlies. Go on a nature walk and see what you can find. To make it even more interesting, collect some items as you go. Some twigs, pebbles, a daisy, a leaf and use them for the next activity.
7. Sink or Float
With a bowl of water and some items collected from your garden or nature walk, ask your kids to predict whether each item will sink or float. Then test their theories. Blow their little minds by asking them what an ice cube will do. Do they know why ice is different? Older kids might like this video which explains what’s happening.
8. Make a Den
Make a hideout in the garden with an old sheet draped over the back of some chairs. If you’d rather your dining chairs stayed indoors then pop up play tents, like this Vet Surgery play tent, are cheap, fun and fold down for storage when not in use.
9. Make a Wildlife Area
Give a bug a home by making bug friendly areas in your garden. Get the kids involved in making a pile of sticks, logs, leaves, moss and stones under a shady bush to attract wildlife to your garden.
Not only does this get them outside but chalk is also great for practicing writing and drawing without them even realising! Make maps, draw rainbows, for even more physical activity draw a hopscotch!
11. Take a Mindful Break
When all that has tired them (and you!) out, lay out a rug and take a mindful break (check out what mindfulness is and how it helps). Get them spending some time just laying, breathing and focusing on the sounds they can hear or watch for shapes in the clouds.
What are your kids favourite things to do outside?