Category: Outdoor Adventures (Page 1 of 9)

Get Your Vitamin N – May Outdoor Activity List

Back in February, I started uploading a monthly outdoor activity list which you can access under the freebies tab. You will need to subscribe to the blog and you will be sent an email with the password to access the freebies tab.  It is now time to think about the May outdoor activity list, which can be accessed under the freebies tab 🙂    If you don’t have the password, don’t worry, subscribe to the blog and you will be sent it in your confirmation email.  Spring should be well under way now, and I hope that even we in Sweden may have chased the snow away and stopped lighting log fires in the evenings to keep us warm!!

Any form of getting children into the outdoors is a good one.  Whether it is a gentle potter around the back garden or a good old hike for older ones across the countryside, if it is for 5 minutes or 5 hours, the benefits can still be reaped.  You don’t need to climb a mountain, a little dig in the garden is perfect too.  As the author Richard Louv famously suggests, we should be using vitamin N (N for nature) as treatment for nature deficit disorder.

That is why each month, at the start of the month, I will add onto the freebies page a list of 10 activities to help inspire you to head out there for your dose of vitamin N with your little, or not so little, people.  These are some of the things I do with my three to give me some direction and an aim for getting them out there, which often helps everyone’s frame of mind.  So head over now to the freebies tab and check out the May outdoor activity list.

The aim behind the ideas for the May outdoor activity list for getting vitamin N is that they are all very simple, so shouldn’t put you off.  And if you need a little more convincing about the ideas where mud is involved, head over and have a read as to why mud and dirt are worth all the extra effort 🙂  Vitamin N can be achieved without sitting in the middle of a forest, wild camping, and hunting for your supper!!  It can be achieved by just stepping outside your front door (or back door), into whatever awaits you out there.  With spring well under way there should be lots to see, hear, smell, and touch easily now.  A sensory pleasure for the mind, so it is a perfect time to head into the outdoors to see what you can discover, using our May outdoor activity list to guide you.

 

I am hoping through these activities that you make a lot of happy memories, have fun together, and enjoy being outside.  If you need more information about an activity on the list, I have blogged about doing most of them, so if you type in a few keywords in the search box, you should then be able to get some more information, or see what we have done in the past.

Let me know how you get on with the May outdoor activity list in the comments below, I will love hearing about your experiences.  You can also share your experiences on social media too, it will give others ideas and I can keep up with what you are all doing.  Use the #fridayoutdoorfun on your Instagram  photos, and don’t forget to join in with our Friday outdoor fun thread on Facebook (every Friday). And if the children have got mucky, then join in with our Mucky Mondays thread (every Monday) over on Facebook .  Go and have fun in May 🙂

May outdoor activity list, Get your vitamin N - May's 10 vitamin N ideas, vitamin N, nature play, outdoor play, www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

Outdoor Play For Teenagers – 11 Ideas

Outdoor play for children is so important for all ages (read here to find out why), and in this mini series of posts I will run through some varying outdoor play ideas for different age groups of children.  This post is all about outdoor play for teenagers.  This age group is such fun as you extend their boundaries, give them more independence, and more challenges.  Outdoor play for teenagers is still very important, and also in continuing to foster their love of nature and the outdoors, so when they are ready (very soon) they will want to continue out of their own initiative.  These outdoor play ideas for teenagers are supposed to do all of that…be fun, challenging, and help connect them to nature.  I hope your teenagers enjoy trying them.

Outdoor Play For Teenagers

  1. Climb a mountain, large peak, or hill together:  This will allow them to take a little responsibility for packing, looking after themselves, and some basic map reading but on a grander scale.  The time together will allow for some lovely bonding time as well.  They will like the sense of adventure too.
  2. Cook on a campfire:  We cook on a campfire regularly and my three smaller children are up to speed on fire safety, and hopefully are learning skills they can then use in the future.  With a teenager, take it that step further, and allow them (supervised) to cook the meal on the campfire.
  3. Take a hike at night time with them.  There is a good collection on the website for the National Trust if you fancy trying one of theirs.  For an extra challenge they also do night runs
  4. Let your teenager lead you for a wild camp.  Let them plan with you where to go, lead in the pitching, and any activities/organisation while you are there.
  5. Learn to surf….you might find this another fun one to do with them for something new to try!
  6. Swim in the sea (make sure they are safe and supervised!!).
  7. Go on an off road cycling adventure.
  8. Make colourful nature textiles using sun dye paints.  Mine have just done simple fabrics, but you can make cushion covers, t-shirts, the list is endless.  The effect is beautiful.
  9. Build a raft and try to sail it (again make sure any activity around water is safe and supervised).
  10. Build a mini pond.  This is a great activity for them to add a feature to your own outdoor space, however small.
  11. Learn to use (supervised) some other bush craft equipment.  My three love the Kelly Kettle.  It is fun and easy, and gives them a good start to fire making skills on a smaller scale.

I hope you have enjoyed these ideas for outdoor play for teenagers, and let me know how you get on!!Outdoor Play For Teenagers, teenagers, teenager outdoor activities, outdoor activities for older children, teenagers outdoors, www.mammasschool.co.uk

Get Your Vitamin N – April Outdoor Activity List

Back in February, I started uploading a monthly outdoor activity list which you can access under the freebies tab. You will need to subscribe to the blog and you will be sent an email with the password to access the freebies tab.  It is now time to think about the April outdoor activity list, which can be accessed under the freebies tab 🙂    If you don’t have the password, don’t worry, subscribe to the blog and you will be sent it in your confirmation email.  Hopefully the weather is beginning to get a little warmer now, and you can ditch some of the layers, making getting outdoors with little ones a bit easier.

Any form of getting children into the outdoors is a good one.  Whether it is a gentle potter around the back garden or a good old hike for older ones across the countryside, if it is for 5 minutes or 5 hours, the benefits can still be reaped.  You don’t need to climb a mountain, a little dig in the garden is perfect too.  As the author Richard Louv famously suggests, we should be using vitamin N (N for nature) as treatment for nature deficit disorder. 

That is why each month, at the start of the month, I will add onto the freebies page a list of 10 activities to help inspire you to head out there for your dose of vitamin N with your little, or not so little, people.  These are some of the things I do with my three to give me some direction and an aim for getting them out there, which often helps everyone’s frame of mind.  So head over now to the freebies tab and check out the April outdoor activity list.

The aim behind the ideas for the April outdoor activity list for getting vitamin N is that they are all very simple, so shouldn’t put you off.  And if you need a little more convincing about the ideas where mud is involved, head over and have a read as to why mud and dirt are worth all the extra effort 🙂  Vitamin N can be achieved without sitting in the middle of a forest, wild camping, and hunting for your supper!!  It can be achieved by just stepping outside your front door (or back door), into whatever awaits you out there.  With nature springing back into life after a sleepy winter, it is a perfect time to head into the outdoors to see what you can discover, using our April outdoor activity list to guide you.

I am hoping through these activities that you make a lot of happy memories, have fun together, and enjoy being outside.  If you need more information about an activity on the list, I have blogged about doing most of them, so if you type in a few keywords in the search box, you should then be able to get some more information, or see what we have done in the past.

Let me know how you get on with the April outdoor activity list in the comments below, I will love hearing about your experiences.  You can also share your experiences on social media too, it will give others ideas and I can keep up with what you are all doing.  Use the #fridayoutdoorfun on your Instagram  photos, and don’t forget to join in with our Friday outdoor fun thread on Facebook (every Friday). And if the children have got mucky, then join in with our Mucky Mondays thread (every Monday) over on Facebook .  Go and have fun in April 🙂

Get Your Vitamin N - April's Outdoor Activity List, outdoor activities, Vitamin N, outdoors April, children April, www.mammasschool.co.uk

Bastasjö Friluftsområde – An Outdoor Family Haven

Bastasjö is a lake that is the centre piece of the Bastasjö friluftsområde, outdoor area.  It is very convenient being only about a 15 minute drive from the centre of the city of Karlskrona in the south of Sweden.  It is a huge area of hiking trails around the surrounding woods.  What makes this place so good for families are several things.  There are a lot of marked trails in a variety of distances, so you can pick what you think you can manage.  There are also good fire pits, surrounding the lake on all sides, allowing for you to build a campfire safely and cook in the great outdoors.  At the side of the lake where the main car park is, there is also a building, which houses toilets.  You can rent this out as well if you are running an activity in this location.  

We arrived at Bastasjö in the depths of winter during the Swedish sportlov holiday, and although we were doing our own thing, it was interesting to see they had a “drop in” campfire with sausages cooking, everyday this holiday week from 10am until 1pm.  They also had other activities, for example a night run and orienteering.  There are illuminated trails, as well as ones you can use for cross country skiing when there is enough snow on the ground.  We chose our trail, the blue one that skirted round the lake, spotting a fire pit that looked good at the half way point, and we set off.

We had travelled inland for about 20 minutes to reach Bastasjö, so there was still a fair amount of snow on the ground compared to what we had at home on the coast, so it made for a scenic walk.  The lake was truly frozen over, and there were even some intrepid people having a mini ice hockey game on it…..but keeping very close to the edge still.  They obviously did not trust the ice thickness that much.  My trio were keen to use their binoculars to watch them (see my other tips for hiking with children).  They have never known sea or lake ice so thick you can run, walk, or play on it.  They were memorised.  It all helped to take their minds off the fact they were hiking with backpacks, and were surprisingly perky!  They were even surprised to find themselves at our chosen fire pit thinking the first part of the walk had gone fast, and I was quite surprised to find us there without any whinges of “I’m hungry”!

The children dropped their backpacks, and although the little lady announced she was doing the Kelly Kettle, all three raced off and suddenly starting constructing a den in the woods behind the fire pit.  I was happy at my work in the peace and quiet sorting out a lunch of hot dogs and campfire toffee apples.  Whilst I was busy, a lady who had seen us light the fire from the other side of the lake where the building is, had walked round and started taking photos….apparently she needed photos of people out enjoying the area with their children during sportlov!  Once cooked, three hungry little den builders appeared and gobbled their food up.  There was a lovely wooden shelter at this fire pit, and although it was not windy today and not such a painful experience to eat outdoors, it was lovely to be a little sheltered while we ate.  I had not planned to stay at the fire pit for the whole 2 hours that we did, but the children were so happy climbing trees and den building, that I left them to it until they were ready to leave.  Instead, I amused myself by trying to keep the fire going by using twigs from the ground, and although they were covered in snow I somehow managed, so was feeling quite pleased with myself!  

Eventually the trio felt it was time to pack up and move off, and we set off to complete the trail and the loop around Bastasjö.  They tested the limits of the ice on the lake intermittently and tried to break it with large rocks……no luck in breaking it though, it was really solid ice.  

I would definitely recommend visiting this lovely outdoor area beside Bastasjö if you are in the area, and for us it will be fun to return in the summer and see a totally different looking place to the one we had experienced today.  There are also geocaches in the area, but due to the cold, my phone battery dies very fast, so we never got to look for them today, so we will save those for the warmer months as well.  Something to look forward to coming back for, as well as maybe different organised activities we could try next time.

Bastasjö Friluftsområde, Bastasjö, Outdoors, Sweden, Hiking, www.mammasschool.co.uk

Country Kids
 

Get Your Vitamin N – March Outdoor Activity List

Last month, I started uploading a monthly outdoor activity list which you can access under the freebies tab (with the password you get sent after subscribing to the blog).  It is now time to think about the March outdoor activity list, which can now be accessed under the freebies tab 🙂    If you don’t have the password, don’t worry, subscribe to the blog and you will be sent it in your confirmation email. 

Any form of getting children into the outdoors is a good one.  Whether it is a gentle potter around the back garden, a good old hike for older ones across the countryside, if it is for 5 minutes or 5 hours, the benefits can still be reaped.  As the author Richard Louv famously suggests, we should be using vitamin N (N for nature) as treatment for nature deficit disorder. 

That is why each month, at the start of the month, I will add onto the freebies page, a monthly list of 10 activities to help inspire you to head out there for your dose of vitamin N with your little, or not so little, people.  These are some of the things I do with my three to give me some direction and an aim for getting them out there, which often helps everyone’s frame of mind.  So head over now to the freebies tab and check out the March outdoor activity list.

The aim behind the ideas for the March outdoor activity list for getting vitamin N is that they are all very simple, so shouldn’t put you off. And if you need a little more convincing about the ideas where mud is involved, head over and have a read as to why mud and dirt are worth all the extra effort 🙂  Vitamin N can be achieved without sitting in the middle of a forest, wild camping, and hunting for your supper!!  It can be achieved by just stepping outside your front door (or back door), into whatever awaits you out there.

I am hoping through these activities that you make a lot of happy memories, have fun together, and enjoy being outside.  If you need more information about an activity, I have blogged about doing most of them, so if you type in a few keywords in the search box, you should then be able to get some more information, or see what we have done in the past.

Let me know how you get on in the comments below for each month, I will love hearing about your experiences.  You can also share your experiences on social media too, it will give others ideas and I can keep up with what you are all doing.  Use the #fridayoutdoorfun on your instagram  photos, and don’t forget to join in with our Friday outdoor fun thread (every Friday). And if the children have got mucky, then join in with our Mucky Mondays thread (every Monday) over on Facebook .  Go and have fun in March 🙂Get Your Vitamin N - March outdoor activity list, outdoors, outdoor fun, outdoor activities, spring fun, vitamin N, www.mammasschool.co.uk

Our Spring Bucket List – Enjoy The Colours Of Spring

It is the start of a new season, and time for us to reveal our Spring Bucket List.  We have enjoyed doing the activities on our autumn and  winter ones, but we are looking forward to feeling a little warmth from the sun, feeling the temperature creep above freezing, and embracing the riot of colour that comes with spring.  Although as I write this, just a few days away from March, we are still firmly in the below zero temperatures and with snow both on the ground and falling from the sky.  It is hard to believe anything will grow in the near future!  So let’s see what’s on our list for the season of spring.

Our Spring Bucket List

  1. Catch some falling blossom
  2. Feed some young farm animals
  3. Make a bird feeder
  4. Make seed bombs
  5. Bird watch
  6. Blow dandelion bubbles
  7. Make an Easter bonnet
  8. Do some spring craft
  9. Make some Easter chocolates
  10. Make dandelion cookies
  11. Make Easter nests
  12. Climb a tree
  13. Make Easter biscuits
  14. Visit a pond and do some pond dipping
  15. Blow bubbles and try to catch them
  16. Blow the heads off dandelions and make a wish
  17. Fly a kite
  18. Make a bird house
  19. Make a fairy garden
  20. Do flower pounding
  21. Go on a nature hunt
  22. Make a flower press
  23. Press flowers and make something with them
  24. Celebrate the arrival of spring ( Valborg)
  25. Go on an Easter egg hunt
  26. Make a bug house or mini beast hotel
  27. Make a den
  28. Paint egg shells for Easter
  29. Dance in the rain

We can add one more rather fun one for the country we live in (Sweden), and that is watching the cows being let out of their barn for the first time after the winter.  It is a big event here 🙂

I hope we have given you some fun spring inspiration with our spring bucket list (just click on the links if you need further help or information about them) and let me know if you try any of them and how you get on.Spring Bucket List - Enjoy The Colours Of Spring, Spring, Spring craft, Easter, Spring activities, Spring fun, Spring kids, www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

 

Renovation Bay-Bee

A Grown Up’s Outdoor Wish List – Outdoor Gifts

Just before Christmas I did a post on children’s outdoor presents.  These can be ideas for any occasion, and they are practical.  That was for children though, and although I love being able to buy my three outdoor gifts, I have an outdoor wish list too.  So I thought I would put together a list of outdoor gear that is fun for grown ups to have and then it could be used as a resource for outdoor gifts.  It is by no means a definitive list of everything that is essential, just a wish list of some non essential outdoor gifts 🙂

Outdoor Gifts For The Grown Up Outdoor Adventurer In Your Life (Or Yourself!!):

A Waffle Iron:

Now my waffle iron is a very old hand me down from my Norwegian mormor (Grandmother) so goodness knows how old is it (she lived to be almost 92 and died over a decade ago just to give it a bit of context!).  It is cast iron, totally impractical to carry (it is heavy and when out hiking we are already carrying quite a lot of weight), but boy oh boy is it yummy and cosy to make waffles on the campfire and eat them!!  The good news is there are newer versions of these available now in outdoor shops.  They also make toasting irons too (which I have my eye on) so you can make lovely toasties too out in the wild.

Gloves:

Bear with me on this one….I have gloves, and lots of them.  However, I have not found a glove (yet) that can keep me warm and that I can still do fiddly tasks things in.  My fingers get very cold (painfully so), very fast, so the only gloves I have found so far are the chunkier Gore-Tex outer, fleecy lined ones.  Now when you are trying to take lots of photos with a camera, deal with children and what they throw at you, prepare food, make hot drinks, and deal with campfires, I have to remove them to achieve anything, and then my fingers are goners.  You can not underestimate how lovely it would be to have amazingly warm and waterproof gloves that you can still do things in!  If you know of some make sure you drop their name in the comments below 🙂

Funky Outdoor Clothing:

You can still look great as well as wearing practical clothing in the great outdoors.  I adore my fritids byxor by Revolution Race (you can read my review about them here) and they look really good too.  Best of all I get to wear my favourite colour purple, feel good about myself, and be dressed to meet the demands of the great outdoors.

A Tinder Pouch:

I used to carry any tinder I collected in a plastic carrier bag, which served to do the job, but after the children getting a leather pouch each for Christmas, I also invested in one for myself.  It is a little bigger than theirs (let’s face it, I do most of the tinder collecting!!) and is made from Swedish Sami reindeer leather.

A Fire Steel:

There are many ways to light a fire, but I find this way one of the most enjoyable!  I love using our fire steel and it makes lighting a fire such fun.

Knife:

As outdoor gifts go, this is such a useful piece of kit, even though you can get by without one.  This is something I am currently dreaming of.  A nice sharp tool in a handy belt pouch to help peel tinder so it is easier to light, or to assist with the food preparation.  Any recommendations would be gratefully received in the comments below!

Kelly Kettle:

It is no secret that I adore this piece of kit, (read our user guide here) and it comes with us on all our adventures.  It is extremely fun to use, and provides us with hot drinks to keep us warm.

Kelly Kettle Whistle:

This is an accessory for the Kelly Kettle that whistles when your water is boiled and ready to use.  A fun, totally unnecessary accessory for your camp kettle 🙂

Hobo Stove:

This little gadget is a stove that sits on the base of your Kelly Kettle, instantly transforming it from a kettle to a hob to cook on.  It fits inside the Kelly Kettle when it is packed away so takes up no extra room, and is very light.  It is really fun to use and makes cooking safer than on the ground.

Mini Axe:

I would love a mini axe to help with firewood.  Don’t panic I am not about to start felling trees, but this is more for the wood found on the ground, or even at the fire pits when we are walking (some lovely people leave firewood near the pits here in Sweden).  It would be easier to use if I could split them, and then I could start carrying less of my own wood from home too.  Again I will take any recommendations as to what you think is a good tool in the comments below 🙂

A Good Billy Can:

Before I got my lovely billy can, I was carrying saucepans!  Not very practical to pack in a rucksack and carry.  In this I can carry the meal so that doesn’t take up extra space and it works so well on the campfire too.

Outdoor Fire Gloves:

I am currently carting around our fire gloves from our indoor log burner.  These are not especially weather proof and have taken a battering from being used out in nature.  They are also very large.  Any recommendations, drop them in the comments below!

A Fun Mug:

I love having an enamel mug for our hot drinks when we are outside.  I realise Moomins might not be everyone’s cup of tea (Ha!) but we have gone with a set of 5 different ones and it just adds a little bit of fun and glamour (?) to being in the great outdoors.

I hope you have enjoyed reading about what I think would make great (non vital) outdoor gifts.  Any other recommendations or ideas would be gratefully received in the comments below, and my wish list may grow even longer!!

A Grown Up's Outdoor wish list - Outdoor Gifts, outdoors, hiking gifts, bush craft gifts, campfire gifts, outdoor gifts, www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

Valentine’s Day – A Family Alternative

 

Last year, for the first time, I tried an alternative Valentine’s Day idea….I made it more about family (well Dadda was still at work, but it included the children!), and we headed out to an island with an amazing view for a sunset picnic.  With sunset still occurring early enough during the winter, there is no danger of missing bedtimes 😉 !!  So what better way to celebrate Alla Hjärtans Dag (Valentine’s Day) than with a sunset picnic.  We lit a fire in the fire pit to keep us warm, we watched the sky change through a rainbow of colours, we listened to the bird song as they started to roost at dusk, we got to see a few murmurations, and we got to see the stars come out and spot a few constellations.  It was only -2°C, there was no wind, and this sunset picnic was a perfect end to the day 🙂

Some Simple Food Ideas For A Valentine’s Day Picnic:

The last thing you want to be doing for your Valentine’s Day picnic is going all out with the food so you can’t enjoy the experience and magic of the moment as well.  You need to keep it themed but simple.

  • For our sunset picnic I had made heart shaped sandwiches (using a biscuit/cookie cutter).
  • I served these with a side order of jam croissants.
  • They were accompanied by heart shaped Swedish biscuits (pepparkakor).
  • For drinks we had a flask of hot chocolate and a flask of hot squash.

I had also taken a table runner and a nice candle (that would stay lit outdoors!) to make it a really special cosy sunset picnic. I wouldn’t normally be quite so extravagant with extras outdoors, especially as I usually have to lug it up some hill!  I completely forgot their fruit (bad mummy moment!!) but I did totally remember the marshmallows 🙂

With the fire lit (we didn’t need it to cook for once, but it added warmth and awesomeness to the experience), we needed to put it to good use toasting some yummy marshmallows.  Always a favourite.  The stars were starting to come out by now and Venus was shining brightly.  The children were trying to get snowballs to reach the sea, and we were treated to huge murmurations of birds.  Eventually it was time to dampen the embers and head off, but everyone was very chilled and happy having had their sunset picnic outdoors, listening to and watching a natural spectacle or two 🙂  What better way to experience Valentine’s Day together?!

Valentine's Day - A Family Alternative, Family Valentine's Day, Sunset picnic, www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

 

Renovation Bay-Bee

Get Your Dose Of Vitamin N – Monthly Outdoor Activity Lists

Any form of getting children into the outdoors is a good one.  Whether it is a gentle potter around the back garden, a good old hike for older ones across the countryside, if it is for 5 minutes or 5 hours, the benefits can still be reaped.  As the author Richard Louv famously suggests, we should be using vitamin N (N for nature) as treatment for nature deficit disorder. 

However, we also know that, especially during these darker, damper, winter months, it can be extremely hard to drum up the enthusiasm to head outdoors and do everything that getting out there entails. I will be the first to admit it is blooming hard work convincing three small people that they really do want to go out, and then shoehorning them into various weather proof outfits.  That is why each month, at the start of the month, I will add onto the freebies page, a monthly list of 10 activities you can do to help inspire you to head out there for your dose of vitamin N with your little, or not so little, people.  These are some of the things I do with my three to give me some direction and an aim for getting them out there, which often helps everyone’s frame of mind.

The aim behind the ideas for getting vitamin N is that they are all very simple so shouldn’t put you off, and if you need a little more convincing about the ideas where mud is involved head over and have a read as to why mud and dirt are worth all the extra effort 🙂  Vitamin N can be achieved without sitting in the middle of a forest, wild camping, and hunting for your supper!!  It can be achieved by just stepping outside your front door (or back door), onto whatever awaits you out there.

I hope through these activities you make a lot of happy memories, have fun together, and enjoy being outside.  If you need more information about an activity, I have blogged about doing most of them, so if you type in a few keywords in the search box, you should then be able to get some more information, or see what we have done in the past.

Let me know how you get on in the comments below for each month, I will love hearing about your experiences.  You can also share your experiences on social media too, it will give others ideas and I can keep up with what you are all doing.  Use the #fridayoutdoorfun on your instagram  photos, and don’t forget to join in with our Friday outdoor fun thread (every Friday). And if the children have got mucky, then join in with our Mucky Mondays thread (every Monday) over on Facebook .

Photo credit Tom Pitman Photography

Just subscribe to the blog and you will receive an email with the password for the freebies page, and then you are all set to access every month’s new ideas by clicking on the month’s thumbnail in the freebies tab.  Have fun!!!

Get Your Dose Of Vitamin N, Vitamin Nature, Nature, outdoors, February Outdoor Activities, www.mammasschool.co.uk

Outdoor Play – 15 Tips To Encourage Outdoor Play

I will be the first to admit there are definitely days when I would rather hibernate from the Swedish weather battering our island, or I am just too tired to tackle the issues that arise with dressing three small children for the elements (talking more about winters than summers here, and you can read a previous post here about those trials and tribulations).  However, outdoor play is something that all children need, and to be honest mine are easier to handle after using their energy up in the great outdoors, and we generally have a better day together as well.  This post is to give you some top tips on making getting out there a little bit easier for everyone, and more enticing for our little people.  This post is not to promote the benefits of outdoor play, but you could read these other posts I have written about the benefits nature play  and outdoor play.

15 Tips To Encourage Outdoor Play:

  1. Have basic things in your outside space to encourage play.  Water tables (mine even love just playing with a watering can that has filled with rain water), sand pits, and simple mud kitchens are all easy ideas.  For our mud kitchen we have an old table, some old pans, and some old spoons.  It’s not had any money spent on it, and they use the surrounding nature mixed with water the rain has collected in various places.  Also having basic tools is good such as little trowels.  
  2. Take the indoors outside.  In better weather (I’m all for limiting the clear up operation!) allow indoor toys in the outdoors.  Mine love making up small world imaginary games, such as hiding the dinosaurs in the bushes etc
  3. Invest in a basic night time star chart (the National Trust do a fab night time explorers kit) and go out looking for the star constellations.  This is a really good activity in the winter months when it gets dark so early, but you may not want to be cooped up inside for the rest of the day.
  4. Dress them appropriately, as if they get wet/cold they will not want to stay out in the colder weather, and also you’ll be faced with a pile of washing.  Weatherproof them from head to toe throughout the cooler months and you will be more relaxed about them wading and splashing through the deepest of puddles.  In the warmer months, use old clothes and try not to let them see how much the dirt issue is getting to you, or show you are thinking about the clear up operation!  (read here why it is good for them).  This, along with leaping around climbing trees, is one of the hardest things I find to bite my tongue about…
  5. Don’t let the little people hear you voice the weather conditions as an excuse for not doing outdoor play.  I would often rather stay indoors in the poorer weather, but until us adults start being negative about it, the children don’t have so much of an issue.  They will pick up on our vibes though and will learn habits of avoiding weather such as rain.  It is hard, but dig deep for that enthusiasm for a good old splash about.
  6. Get them into any nearby open spaces, and take their lead.  Don’t make suggestions or comments, just let them be and see what happens…..let the magic begin!
  7. Spotter books are a great accessory to outdoor play.  They can be for beaches, gardens, woods, the list is endless.  It can give some direction when enthusiasm from both sides is low, a focus and a talking point.  In the poorer weather we take a look at ours, head outdoors without them, and fill them in after with what we have spotted.
  8. Let them use what nature provides for their outdoor play.  Let them climb trees, play with sticks, take risks, and have a fantastic game of hide and seek.  Nature provides great props for outdoor play.
  9. Explore different outdoor areas as they all offer something different in terms of exploring and having fun.  Get out into woods, meadows, around ponds or lakes, and seasides.  Play parks are great too, and if they want to walk up the slide, let them (as long as it isn’t interrupting someone else’s play coming down!).  Let them use their imagination as to how the equipment should be used….you will be surprised with what they come up with, as well as the skills they are developing.
  10. A basic bug kit will keep little people amused for hours.  They can explore the undergrowth and lift stones and sticks and see what they can find.  Just remember to return the mini beasts back to their homes where you found them!
  11. Give them a little bit of responsibility in your home’s outdoor space.  Whether this is a small patch of soil they can plant and grow things in, or making a habitat such as a mini beast hotel, or even making a mini garden pond (see our post on this). My trio really loved potting the spring seeds 🙂 Children really thrive on being given something that is their own responsibility. 
  12. Make it a habit.  If you have a day less full of commitments than other days, make that your “outdoor adventure day”.  Fridays work well for us as all the children have finished school by around midday.  I realise this is not the case in the UK, but then we avoid Saturdays full of swim classes, and we can squeeze another one in on a Sunday if we want to.  But by heading out every Friday, we have a designated outdoor adventure/explore time. And then for the rest of the week we just squeeze in mini outdoor sessions, that are not so long or ambitious.
  13. Don’t interrupt the children (unless you need to go home or they are in danger!!).  Let them get on with it.  Make sure you have packed the thermos, listen to the play, and let nature and being outdoors work its magic on you too.
  14. Make it a social occasion.  We usually try and have some food, but apart from packing a picnic, you could take an afternoon snack and drink.  You don’t need to whip up a whole gourmet meal on a camp fire.  A thermos of hot chocolate and a snack will add just as much to the outdoor adventure.
  15. Arrange to meet others.  You are more likely to keep to your plans if you are meeting others out and about as well.

There has been many a time when I have not felt that I had the energy to bundle three children up and get them outdoors, but once we have been out and returned I never think that I wished I hadn’t bothered.  I feel refreshed from the time outdoors, they need me less, and I seem to get a bit of a break to enjoy just being and watching them.  There are less arguments, and when we get back home they seem to settle better into play indoors as well.  I brace my self for the initial moans and groans of getting out the door, but then they never want to come back once out!

I hope these tips give you some ideas and help you to get you little people outdoors to play.  Drop any more ideas I have missed into the comments below 🙂

Outdoor Play, 15 tips to encourage outdoor play, nature play, children outdoors, get outside, www.mammasschool.co.uk

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