Getting outside more often can improve kids’ well being, physical fitness, and even their alertness in the classroom. On this frequently cloudy island of ours, it can sometimes take a little bit of imagination to get kids outside, but from midnight picnics to making treasure hunt clues for kids – there are plenty of simple ways your can turn the great outdoors into their very own playground.
In the Garden
To get kids enthusiastic about playing in the garden, turn it into an exciting adventure! Classic games include water balloons and paddling pools, but you can also try your hand at a water wall. Start by gathering up some empty plastic bottles and cut pound coin-sized holes in one side. Then, nail or glue them to the garden fence, with holes facing upwards and aligned with the bottle mouth above, so that water will flow directly down from one bottle to another. It’s a bit like a marble run, with the water caught in a cup at the bottom to be poured back into the top.
Alternatively, try an easier and less permanent project: a sprinkler. You only need one plastic bottle for this – just make some holes in it, duct tape it to your garden hose, and let your kids invent games until their hearts are content.
Looking like rain? The kids can still transform the garden into a playground – but this time, it’ll just have to be their own miniature shoebox version! Kids can use sticks, stones, leaves, and their own toys to create a tiny garden inside an old shoebox, complete with its own paths, benches and shrubbery. If they have a particular interest, suggest a theme – for example, making a fairy, mini-beast or even Transformers’ garden. Who says machines don’t need some time out in nature too?
Exploring woods and beaches is exciting in its own right, especially if it’s a new and unexplored territory, like surprising seaside favourite Newquay. If you’re walking, just make sure little legs get to have plenty of rest and enjoy regular snack breaks.
However many treats you bring along, sometimes, making the walk into a game is the only way to halt the chorus of “I’m bored.” Simple ideas include sending kids off to spot particular animals or plants, as well as bringing a bag to collect interesting leaves or pebbles. Why not make it into a real adventure and go for a night-time picnic in your local park? See what stars you can spot, listen out for any owls hooting, and look for the faint outline of a bat’s wing as it flits away…
A more structured approach for transforming the countryside into a playground involves making treasure hunt clues for kids. This is a great party idea – it can be quickly assembled the evening before, and is great if you can get teams of kids to work together. Think about the age range you’re working with and whether your clues have a theme. If you’re stuck for ideas, you can always search for more treasure hunt clues for kids online.
So there you have it, just a few ways you can turn getting out and about with kids into a great big adventure – they’ll prefer it to staying inside any day!