Research has recently shown that children spend less time outdoors than prison inmates (shocking, I know!) There’s so much adventure to be had in the great outdoors! But when you have super active children, the activities outside need to be enough to wear them out. Here are 9 super fun activities you can enjoy with your children, whether it’s to get them away from their electronics or to burn off some of that (seemingly endless) energy.
1. Climb a tree
This is a classic activity to do with children. Whether you’re lucky enough to have big trees in your back garden or if you have to go to nearby forest, tree climbing is something that can be enjoyed by kids (and big kids alike!) Let the children choose the tree but it has to have a few low branches to start their climbing. They’ll also learn how to negotiate their footwork on the way up and down, it’s up to you how much you help them. It can be a good idea to set a branch limit though so they don’t get stuck!
2. Build a hideout
It doesn’t matter if you have one child or ten children, building a hideout is always great fun! They can use it to hide from the adults, use it to spy on siblings or as their own little space to chill out in. Twigs or ferns make great building materials if you’re wanting a more natural look or you could make a teepee from bamboo canes and old sheets. Make a whole day of it and give them a picnic or some snacks to have while they’re in there, they will have a whale of a time creating scenarios from their hideaway. And if they don’t want to leave their hideout when it gets dark, stargazing while enjoying some toasted marshmallows is a great way to finish the day.
3. Run around in the rain
Pull on those gumboots and go on a hunt for puddles. Make it a competition to see who can find the largest puddle or who can make the biggest splash. Obviously, this one can only be done when it is or has been raining but the rainy days are the days where very active children go a bit stir crazy. The world is so different when it’s raining!
4. Play Pooh sticks
Everyone has heard of A.A Milne’s character, Winnie the Pooh and his love of Pooh sticks right? All you need are some sticks, a flowing river and a bridge. Your children can go off and find their own sticks (or lolly sticks with names written on work just as well). You throw the sticks into the river from one side of the bridge and then quickly run to the other side of the bridge to see who’s won! There could even be a prize for the person who wins the most races.
5. Pick wild fruit
Picking your own fruit is such a fun day out, ending with a delicious snack of fresh fruit. Some farms offer a PYO (pick your own) fruit service or you can set off to find your own bramble bushes (just make sure the fruit is cleaned before you eat it). Give each child a container and off they go! You could even decide on a recipe to cook when you get home, using the fruit you’ve picked. Kids are more likely to eat something if they’ve helped make it.
6. Go for a family bike ride
Not only will this wear the kids out but it’s a good way to get the family to spend some time together, away from technology. Packing a picnic to enjoy at the end can be a great incentive to finish the ride. Who doesn’t love a tasty picnic?
7. Get dirty making mud pies
It’s no secret that children love getting dirty. No matter how many times we try and clean them up, somehow they find that dirt. So why not embrace it? Set aside a small area of your garden, either a large container or even make them a mud kitchen, give them a few old kitchen utensils (wooden ones would be ideal) and let them dig or make mud pies.
8. Make a home for wildlife
The good thing about this activity is that it’s helping nature as well. Bees are needing our help more than ever. A good way to help the bees is to plant some bee-friendly flowers. All you need for this is either a pot or patch of earth, compost and the flowers. The bees will love coming to your garden to take the pollen from them.
Frogs also need our help. There also has been a decline in the frog population so creating a suitable habitat in your garden can help re-establish local frogs and other wildlife.
The most important feature for making a frog-friendly garden is creating a bush-like setting such as native grasses and ground covers, shrubs and small trees (providing protections from sun and wind and food for insects, which would then be the food for the frogs).
Most frogs will visit the water to breed, so a temporal pond made with an impermeable layer of plastic or clay with soil and vegetation can be great for breeding frogs after filled with rain water. Just make sure the hole can hold water for about 6 weeks. Don’t forget to provide perches so the newly frogs can leave the water when needed.
Once they leave the pond, they will require the shelter of rocks, leaf litter, logs and ground cover to stay in your garden.
9. Go on a night walk
Who says that the fun has to stop when the sun is setting? In the summer, when the nights are longer, take the opportunity to go on a night walk with the children. Stargazing is such a good activity to do, teach them about the different constellations and see which phase the moon is at that night. Track the wildlife that comes out at night and listen to the birdsong at sunset. It will seem like such a big adventure to them because it’s dark, even if you only make it to your back garden!
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