Ten Ways to Encourage Children to Play Outside
Bringing Back Outdoor Play!
As adults, most of us have hazy memories of long summer holidays as children spent playing out with friends, teddy bears’ picnics in the garden, learning to ride a bike without stabilisers around the block, building dams in the streams in the woods and lying in the long grass as teenagers, snoozing in the sun.
But as things stand, our children are unlikely to have such recollections about their own childhoods. For a range of reasons – stranger danger, increase in technological entertainment and increased safety concerns – all have contributed to preventing our children to play children.
But you don’t have to send your child out alone at dawn, with them returning at dusk, to be able to get them to engage with nature and get outside. Just as it’s beneficial for children to be outdoors, it’s also great for adults, so while they are too little to go out alone, why not get out there with them?
Children naturally copy adult behaviour, so make yourself a role model for them and spend time outside, gardening, relaxing and playing with them.
There is all sorts of research studies that demonstrate the benefits of playing outside, including development of social skills, provision of vitamin D, reduction of stress, increased confidence, and even improved vision!
If you need some ideas for activities in the great outdoors, we’re here to help:
1. Take indoor toys outdoors
If your baby loves the playmat, why not pop it out on the decking or the lawn for them to get some fresh air. Or take the dolls to play outside in the garden. You don’t have to be restricted to indoor play with favourite toys.
2. Teddy Bear Picnics
Preschoolers will love collecting their favourite teddies and having a picnic. Lay a blanket down and take lunch outside, but don’t forget to make sandwiches for Ted and Bunny too.
3. Trip to the Park
Not all of us are lucky enough to have big gardens to play in, so why not head out to your local park and play on the swings?
4. Planting Seeds and Watering Plants
Children are fascinated by how things grow, so why not plant some seeds with them and involve them in watering, feeding and planting in the garden? It’s a great way to teach science and little ones will be proud of their achievements.
5. Nature Checklist
Make up a list of bugs, birds, plants and trees that are common and do a quick google image search to find pictures of each. Then get outside to find each one and tick them off as you go.
6. Map Reading
Older children will love to go out on an adventure. Mark a route out on a map and find your way around with the help of a compass.
7. Magic Potions
Grab a bucket, fill with a bit of water and go off and find lots of ingredients to make a magic potion – petals, twigs, soil, leaves, grass trimmings and stones will make any spell come true!
8. Building a Den
Find an old sheet and a rug and go and find a spot in the garden on local woods where your children can build their own den.
9. Visit a Farm
Most children love animals, so head out to your local farm or petting zoo for a day out.
10. Bird Watching
If you don't already have one, get a bird table and some nuts and seeds and watch out for the different birds who visit the garden with your little one. They will learn the different species and will love to see rare or unusual birds coming for a snack.
This post was written by Fundamentally Children