Tag: parenting (Page 1 of 8)

Inspiration Wednesday – Embrace The Dirt!

Inspiration Wednesday - Embrace The Dirt!, benefits of mud and dirt, dirt, mud, children and dirt, muddy children, dirt is good, mud is good, 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

Outdoor Play For Children – 12 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 children between preschool and teenager age.  This age group is such fun as you are starting to loosen the reins a little, and give them some freedom and independence.  When we are out, I often set boundaries that are within my hearing range, but then let them go off.  They have a lot more fun as they think they are “unsupervised and free”, but they are in fact very safe and being looked out for.  However, they enjoy this feeling.  These outdoor play ideas have been successful for us because we have kept them simple and not had high expectations for the trip into the great outdoors 🙂  I hope you enjoy trying them.

Outdoor Play For Children

  1. Have a water fight:  Admittedly this one is probably more fun in the warmer months, but give them a few bowls and buckets and they will be amused for hours!
  2. Make a dam:  My three love experimenting diverting the flow of water into the sea, but also trying it in streams and rivers as well.  Just watch your water safety and take your construction away afterwards!  This is not only a summer activity, mine have done it in the depths of a Swedish winter with their wellie boots and waterproofs on too.
  3. Build a fort:  This is a little more intricate than a den and can be a place they can head back to again and again, so maybe somewhere very close to home.  They will invent their own games to play in it once they have built it.  Mine also love making these indoors, but they are more temporary structures then!
  4. Make coloured nature ice blocks and let the creativity flow outdoors in winter.
  5. Find a local forest school and attend a session.  Lots hold sessions on weekends or in the school holidays.  If this isn’t convenient, you could get together with a group of like minded families and form your own nature club with all the children.
  6. Make a bug hotel/mini beast house.  This is great for getting children to think about the wildlife around them and use their imagination to build one.  Oversee and let them have a go with some tools (mine used hammers, saws, and drills to make this one)
  7. Play frisbee.  A great outdoor game, fun at any time of the year.
  8. Catch a fish in a net.  Some have more patience than others at this.  Our little lady has endless amounts when it comes to this, our mini men less, but they keep on coming back to try again. 
  9. Go wild berry picking.  Make sure you know what you are picking though!!  We pick wild strawberries, wild raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, and sloe berries.
  10. Go Tracking.  This we find a lot easier in winter in the snow, but you can look carefully for muddy tracks too.
  11. Go wave jumping….any time of the year is good as long as your clothing and footwear are right!
  12. Play in the sand dunes.  This you need to be careful with and I always set boundary limits for my three and ask them to stick together, and NOT play hide and seek (they can’t hear you calling and it is quite easy to lose them!)  But there is otherwise plenty of fun and imaginative games to be had in sand dunes.

I hope you have enjoyed these outdoor play for children ideas and have found some inspiration from them.  Don’t forget to check out the other three age groups as well, in case you fancy trying something from there, adapted to suit the age of your child. 🙂  Let me know how you get on in the comments.Outdoor play for children, children outdoor play, outdoor play, nature play, play, outdoor, outdoors, www.mammasschool.co.uk

Inspiration Wednesday – Raising children

Inspiration Wednesday - Raising Children, parenting, children, family, 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

Inspiration Wednesday – Parenting Children

Free Play – Children Need It To Thrive

“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning, but to children play is serious learning.  Play is really the work of childhood.” (Fred Rogers)

Free play is something that we prioritise for our children, and we find very important.  We find it re-centres our three, and allows them to “just be”.  Children these days have a lot of structure in their lives.  There is structure during the school day, there are after school activities, and there are a lot of screens to be used.  Add that in together with an increased reluctance to allow our children to take risks and decreased time for unrestricted outdoor play , free play is in danger of becoming a lost activity for our children.  This post discusses what free play is, why it is important, and how we can help as parents, or people looking after children, to provide opportunities for it to happen.  

An impromptu tea party for a dog who can’t escape her play with his broken leg 🙂

What Is Free Play?

Free play is totally unstructured and a fully child initiated form of play.  This child led experience is a spontaneous activity born out of an interest, curiosity, or enthusiasm about something they want to pursue further.  Their imaginations take them wherever they want to go, with lots of motivation and learning along the way.  It is a simple form of play that does not require complicated gadgets or electronic toys, just whatever is to hand, whether that be a stick or a doll.

While I cook our sunrise breakfast, the children are “catching fish” for theirs, with a spontaneous game of “fishermen”. No toys, just good old sticks

Why Do Children Need Free Play?

  1. Free play leads to increased enthusiasm and motivation as they are following their own interests and curiosity, rather than something predetermined by an adult.
  2. It is a very important learning method through self discovery.

    They decided to build a den on hike one day while I cooked lunch

  3. It decreases anxiety and stress:  Fight or flight pathways are activated during play (same pathways that are activated by stress), so they get exposed to stress but in a positive way.  This in turn makes them less responsive to stress and they can regulate it more effectively.
  4. It helps develop social and emotional connections

    Collecting the dead roses I was cutting and the fallen petals, led to an important game of potion making here

  5. It increases a child’s resilience.
  6. Teaches the child good negotiation skills if the play involves other children.

    Being allowed to play on a beach in winter led to experimenting with dam building and redirecting water

  7. Following on from the negotiation skills, it can then teach them to compromise and adapt.
  8. It uses their imaginations and leads to increased creativity.

    They have built a pretend fire in the garden to toast marshmallows on

  9. Due to using their own initiative, it helps improve problem solving skills.
  10. It increases their confidence as they engage in new experiences.

    Looking for crabs on the beach

     

How Can We Provide Free Play Opportunities?

  1. Fancy dress boxes:  You needn’t spend a fortune on outfits.  Mine have collected a few over the years, but a lot of their outfits are old bridesmaid dresses, dance costumes of mine, or old hats, scarves, and shoes.  They love dressing up and then making up a scenario to go with it.
  2. Have less toys with electronic functions, or predetermined functions, but instead allow more for the child’s imagination to take over.

    Crushing chalk and mixing with water was the play going on here, which started originally as drawing with the outdoor chalk

  3. Less parental intervention or suggestions, less coached activities, and less screen time.
  4. Provide protected time for free play to actually happen.  If it has been a hectic week with commitments, scale down the scheduled activities and let them play.

    They made their own see-saw

  5. Take them to outdoor spaces, and then allow them time to have free play in that environment.  For example, on beaches or in woods.  Sit and watch the play take over when you give them the time.  If you don’t walk as far that day in the woods because a “campfire” needs to be made or a den built, or a river-let of water “fished” in, come back another day.  They will have learnt more from having the time to play rather than being moved on because a trail needed to be walked.
  6. If you are taking a circular walk, allow more time than needed.  This then allows them time to investigate and play with chunks of ice, or admire a ladybird.

    Investigating the ice on a hike

  7. At home, leave craft supplies out, and see where their creativity leads them into with what is left out.
  8. At play parks allow them to determine how to use the equipment.  If the game involves walking up the slide (as long as no one wants to come down) it isn’t harming anyone.  As adults we think we know how equipment should be used, but stand back and let the professionals show you 🙂
  9. Allow for boredom…..don’t fill it in!

Making a planet for their dinosaurs

When we take them to the library, we try not to make it rushed, allowing them time in there too.

I hope you have enjoyed finding out about the benefits of free play and ways in which we as the grown ups can make this happen.  There are benefits for us as well…..life is slower.  There are less scheduled commitments, we feel less like a taxi driver, pulled in multiple directions, and there is less stress in our daily living due to being less busy 🙂  It is a win for everyone!

Free Play - Children Need It To Thrive, Free play, play, unstructured play, www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

Inspiration Wednesday – Taking Risks

Inspiration Wednesday - Taking risks, risks, risk, children risk, risk children, take a risk, www.mammasschool.co.uk

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

Inspiration Wednesday – Reading

Inspiration Wednesday - Reading, Reading quotes, quotes, quote, children reading, children books

Page 1 of 8

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén

Close