The half term holidays are around the corner, so arm yourself with some great ideas to get your youngsters outside and having fun
Make the most of the changing seasons and plan some outdoor activities that embrace the magic of autumn, come rain or shine. It'll boost your family's mental and physical wellbeing.
At the Human-Environment Research Laboratory at the University of Illinois, researchers have found that spending time outdoors with trees and greenery can improve kids’ ability to learn and even reduce children’s symptoms of Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder. So there’s good reason to try one of our five ideas for getting connected to nature this summer and boost your wellbeing.
You can find more ideas for activities kids will love at:
1. Rewild your child
If you feel frustrated by how much time your kids are spending inside and on their screens, rewilding is the perfect antidote. As The Wild Network’s Richard Louv says, “the more high-tech schools become, the more they need nature”, so encourage your family to climb trees, pick up sticks and look under logs for minibeasts. Find out more at The Wild Network.
2. Take a photo walk
If your kids enjoy sharing snaps on social media, encourage them to develop their photography skills with a photo challenge. Check out @tschang on Instagram for examples of landscapes and street signs that will inspire your kids to get out and walking to snap the perfect shot.
3. Aim for a daily mile
Some screen time is beneficial, especially for older kids who benefit from social interaction with friends. But to balance the sedentary use of phones and tablets, aim for an hour of activity every day – some schools have started encouraging pupils to complete a Daily Mile, but you can start with a walk to the shops, a bike ride or a gentle game of football. Activity tracking devices such as the Garmin Vivofit Jr 2 are aimed at kids over four, or the Fitbit Ace for over-eights, with activity goals for kids and their parents to join in.
4. Eat outdoors
Meals are more fun away from the dinner table, so pack up a picnic and head outside – even if it’s only into the garden. An al fresco meal means spills are less of an issue and it’s a great chance to try something new; find ideas for finger foods at My Fussy Eater.
5. Make your own sun dial
On a sunny day, use shadows to mark the passing hours on a sundial. Stand a stick in the ground and surround it with 12 different stones to plot the passage of time, or if you’re on solid ground use chalk to make a central point and draw around the kids’ shadow each hour. For more tips see SunClocks.