Category: Parenting (Page 1 of 6)

Children Taking Risks – Why We Are Letting Them Build A Tree House

“By allowing your children to take risks you are empowering them to grow brave and sure” (anonymous)

My trio are currently in the throws of building a tree house.  A tree house with the plans for construction firmly rooted inside someone’s imagination, and plans that change on a daily basis.  But they are creating and making, and everyone is happy.  They are teetering up a tree, banging nails and hammering away and we are totally happy with that.  Because it is all about the children taking risks.

Let me explain further.  These days I live my life with my heart in my mouth for the majority of the time I am with our three children.  Since the arrival of our twin boys, I believe I have now been pushed into a better style of parenting, than the cautious helicopter style I used before (without being aware of it) when we just had our equally cautious little lady.  But this double trouble are a totally different kettle of fish who are willing to try anything and everything.  They are risk addicts.  But as Angela Hanscom put it, “Children are natural risk takers.  They need it.  They crave it”.  My trio first started using tools (saws, drills, hammers etc) at forest school, so as a parent I was broken into it gently.  Don’t get me wrong, common sense is always applied.  Drills and saws are always supervised, but they have their own proper hammers (with little handles for easier manoeuvrability) and a pot of nails, and have had access to these and wood for a good 3 years or so now.  So now, without a plan, they are mounting an assault on the tree and we are happy with this…..why?

We are happy because children taking risks, for a number of reasons, is something that doesn’t go hand in hand so much anymore.  We are in danger of breeding a generation who are unable to take risks due to less time outdoors for a number of factors.  Increased screen time (less time in the outdoors), perceived stranger danger risk (which has led to increased adult presence watching over child activities, so less risks taken), and us adults having a more sedentary lifestyle and not setting the best of examples for getting them into the great outdoors, are some of these factors.

“Children learn to manage, control, and even overcome their fears by taking risks” (Angela Hanscom)

Children Taking Risks Leads to Benefits:

  1. Better physical development:  They are using so many physical skills and strength as well.
  2. They will be learning to assess risk.
  3. They will learn to manage and control risk.
  4. Their confidence will increase.
  5. They will become better equipped to deal with the real world when they are older.

Children taking risks are a natural occurrence stemming from their need to learn and find out about the world they live in.  Our intentions of wanting to protect our children may be good, but too much interfering and it can become detrimental to them.  Yes, if they are in imminent danger of harm by all means intervene, and quickly too.  Common sense does need to be applied, but instead of calling “Be Careful!” as they clamber up a tree, or swing a stick around, think what else could be said.  For example; “that branch is looking a little thin where else could you put your feet”.  But only say it when the situation requires it.  They are often doing totally fine, but our parental instinct kicks into overdrive (and I find this so difficult with our double trouble who will virtually stop at nothing!).  However, that simple phrase “be careful” it can trigger a few things. They will begin to doubt themselves and perhaps make them have a fear that they didn’t have before.  We are also teaching them to avoid risk.  Often they are often handling a situation perfectly until us grown ups intervene!!  “The only risk is that we take away all the risks” (anonymous).

Children taking risks is natural.  Mistakes do happen but they can learn from them.  React if they are in danger, but in some situations the children only require some awareness and advice.  They need to be encouraged to seek out adventures.  I can thoroughly recommend reading Angela Hansom’s “Balanced and Barefoot” as recommended on my post Get Outdoors!  My 7 Favourite Books To Inspire.  So go on…get out on those adventures, give them a hammer, nails, and wood and see what they create!!Children taking risks, risks, risk taking, climbing trees, building a treehouse, www.mammasschool.co.uk

Why Hike With Children & Its Benefits

Why hike with children?  Whether you head out on an all day adventure or just a short walk, the benefits to children and parents alike are huge…..as is the effort to get out the door!  I am realistic, and as a Mamma of three, I know that planning, logistics, weather, and the thought of the aftermath tidy up operation, can sometimes be very overwhelming, but I want to explain why all this is sooooo worth the effort for everyone concerned.  We try to get out for a hike once a week, and yes there days when I just can’t face it, but I know on those days when the double trouble are headed for an early very long bath, I wish I had done it.  Previously I have written about hiking with kids and tips for surviving it, but in this post I wanted to talk more about its benefits.

8 Reasons To Hike With Children 

  1. Physical health:  This is the obvious reason to hike with children.  As the grown ups we can teach our children ways to look after their health and lead by example, with exercise being one of them.  To hike with children may not be the first form of strenuous exercise that crosses your mind, but if you add a backpack onto yourself (and of course you get lumped with all the heavier items), and a few child carrying manoeuvres or sprints dashing after them, and it can be one hell of a serious workout for the parents too!
  2. No weather is bad weather:  This very familiar phrase can have us feeling a little overwhelmed at the thought of heading out with children on those bad weather days, but there are good reasons to meet the challenge of a non sunny day head on.  Children do not seem to have the same hang ups about the weather as us adults, but yet we can teach them to have these hang ups quite fast by our own attitudes.  There is also the notion that good things happen only when the sun shines……but there is plenty of fun to be had out there in all weathers IF your gear is right…..yes, otherwise you will be downright miserable!
  3. Being out in nature is so good for their development in many ways.  I am talking about physical development in this part.  They are using so many more and different muscles walking on the uneven, varying terrain, than they would on a man made surface.  Children’s strength and muscle tone are improved as they lift, shift, climb, and move about in nature.  They will use a wide range of skills, utilising both large and small motor skills
  4. The children learn to take some risks.  Being in nature, naturally lends itself to more risk taking due to the environment the children are in.  We are in danger of raising a risk averse generation, and this will have further consequences when they are older.  By taking risks, they are learning to manage and control risks, and learning about risk management.  Otherwise they will not take risks and then will be unable to manage risks, or control them.  Their development suffers when they are not allowed to take risks as “children need it, crave it, and are natural risk takers” – Angela Hanscom.
  5. They learn a lot of new skills.  Aside from the physical development we have already discussed, they can learn a lot of other new skills from the practical (compasses, maps, kit, self care, cooking, etc) to communication, negotiation, and teamwork.  Then there is the confidence that comes with achieving something like a hike.
  6. It is a chance to unplug and reconnect as a family when you hike with children.  There are no distractions out there on the hiking trail.  Just you, your family members, and nature.  Being outdoors in nature helps teach the children to enjoy the simple things in life, and to live in the present moment.  It does this whilst also instilling a sense of awe and adventure.
  7. Despite the stress of getting everyone out there, it is a stress buster!  Nature is known to decrease stress, and increase happiness.  It is food for our minds.  This is because it doesn’t place any demands on us, but it is still engaging.  It is a must for our mental health and well being.
  8. Us getting out in nature is very important for nature too. Being outside helps develop a bond with the outdoors so it is also good for nature.  The children will grow up wanting to protect it, respect it, and nurture it more after having been immersed in it.  This in turn will help to conserve it more. 

These are just a few reasons to pop on those boots and waterproofs and get out into the great outdoors for a stomp.  We are very lucky here in Sweden to have the concept of allemansrätten which gives a lot of freedom to get out there and enjoy nature, but all over the world there are open spaces to be enjoyed, wandered around, and respected.  So, when the walls are closing in on you, the noise is deafening, and mountains of Lego prickling under your feet is getting too much, go for one big push of getting everyone ready to head outdoors.  I promise you, you won’t regret it…..that doesn’t mean everyone will be happy all of the time (if you have accidentally gone on a walk with my three that is the reality!), but it does just seem to make life a lot easier to deal with out there.  The mess is out of sight, the noise seems less as the wind blows their shouting away, and there are very few ways to get up to mischief!!  Why hike with children, Hiking with children, Outdoor families, outdoor life, hiking life, hiking, www.mammasschool,co.uk

Get Your Vitamin N – June 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 June 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.  Signs of summer should be emerging now, and here in Sweden we have just 2 weeks left of school until we can enjoy the long, lazy, Swedish summer life 🙂

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 am adding 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 June outdoor activity list.

The aim behind the ideas for the June 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.  Welcome in the long summer days using our June outdoor activity list to guide you for ideas.

 

I am hoping that 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 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 June 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 June 🙂June Outdoor Activity List, June activities, June outdoors, outdoor activities, summer activities, Vitamin N, outdoorplay, nature play, www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

 

Our Summer Bucket List – Long, Lazy, Days

It is the start of a new season, and time for us to reveal our Summer Bucket List.  We have enjoyed doing the activities on our spring, autumn and  winter ones, but we are looking forward to wearing less clothing out in the sunshine, and enjoying the VERY long, slow Swedish summer days and holiday.  School is out for the summer on the 15th June, so not long to go!  So let’s see what’s on our list for the season of summer.

Our Summer Bucket List:

  1. Celebrate midsummer 
  2. Make a strawberry cake 
  3. Lie on the grass and listen to the birds
  4. Go strawberry picking
  5. Go raspberry picking
  6. Go blueberry picking
  7. Make a daisy chain
  8. Paddle barefoot
  9. Go wild camping
  10. Swim outdoors
  11. Collect pebbles to paint at home
  12. Read stories outdoors
  13. Go crabbing
  14. Make some beach art
  15. Go on a hike
  16. Make some air dry clay figures
  17. Go and visit the älg/elks again
  18. Explore lots of the islands in our archipelago 
  19. Play in a stream
  20. Raise our own butterflies from caterpillars
  21. Play on beaches
  22. Paint with special paints that develop in the sunshine.

I hope we have given you some fun summer inspiration with our summer 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.  Enjoy and have fun!

Our Summer bucket list, summer activities, summer, summer outdoors, www.mammasschool.co.uk

Bare Feet – 7 Reasons to Let Your Children Have Them!

Bare feet….my trio love having them!!  But why, as grown ups do we tend to shy away from letting them do it?  Conformity?  Our adult brains weighing up the consequences of dirt and injury?  Why do we stop it so much when it leads to a child feeling so free and less encumbered?  As my little lady says, she “loves sinking her toes into chocolately mud”!!!  I now bite my tongue and let them get on with it (within reason…I’m not about to let them trundle over areas with broken glass or anything!).  Let me see if I can persuade you too with the following seven reasons 🙂

1. Our feet used to be just fine walking bare.  Shoes can change how they function, and also damage them, as well as have knock on effects on ankles, hips, knees, and backs.  Going with bare feet allows the feet to develop the way they are meant too.

2. It’s a sensory experience and makes children happy to experience all the pleasure from that.  My children love squishing and squelching the mud through their toes.  They like warm soft grass to tickle their toes and they can feel it like a bouncy cushion.  They love feeling warm sand on their bare feet, and wetness from puddles.

3.  Going with bare feet increases the body’s and foot’s strength.  We worry about injury and illness to the feet, but in fact going without shoes can aid us prevent these more (within reason!).  Increasing the foot’s strength can prevent injury, and toughening up of the skin of the foot can give it more protection.  In fact, shoes provide the perfect environment to grow and trap more fungus and bacteria.

4.  Going with bare feet helps proprioception (spacial orientation from stimuli), and also vestibular development.  It is due to the direct connection between the child (via their feet) and the terrain they are walking on.  How many times has your child tripped over due to their footwear?  Footwear can hinder our nervous pathways and we gain more of them from having bare feet.

5. You can feel connection with nature more 🙂 I am a big one for wanting children to connect to nature more, for reasons I go into more depth elsewhere on the blog. Have a look at the following links:

http://mammasschool.co.uk/parenting/outdoor-play-children-natures-sanity/

http://mammasschool.co.uk/parenting/healing-nature-relying-beach-work-magic/

http://mammasschool.co.uk/outdoor-adventures/wild-camping-children-sweden/

6. Children feel freer…..anything’s possible when you feel free and less encumbered.  Life is more enjoyable with a feeling of freedom!

7. It’s a researched and proven stress buster!!  So, what are you waiting for, kick off those shoes and socks and get out there and enjoy a bare feet life with your little people 🙂  We have a lot to learn from them!

Bare feet - 7 reasons to let your children have them, barefooted, go with bare feet, www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

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

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

15 Preschooler Outdoor Play Ideas

Outdoor play is so important for children of all ages (read here to find out why), and in this mini series of posts I have been running through some varying outdoor play ideas for different age groups of children.  Here I am talking about preschooler outdoor play ideas.  This age group is such fun as they really start to gain a little independence in their mobility, have opinions, and the outdoor adventure could go in any number of directions if you allow them to lead.  These preschooler 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.

Preschooler Outdoor Play Ideas:

  1. Take a walk but let them choose the way and the route and see where you go 🙂  Make sure you allow plenty of time for this…they can not be rushed on this adventure.
  2. Collect Shells.  This they find really interesting.  All the shapes, sizes, and colours.
  3. Plant seeds or grow plants.  Children love to see things growing that they have planted.  Tomatoes are quite good, as you can grow them in pots, they grow quite easily, and then they can eat the the produce too.  We love growing cherry tomatoes.
  4. Go for a star walk.  Head out into the dark (easier in winter) and look at the stars and chat about shapes you can see.
  5. “Paint a fence”.  Fill a bucket with water, give them a brush and they will happily be engrossed “painting” for longer than you think.
  6. Mark a path with sticks.
  7. Make mud pies.
  8. Fly a kite.
  9. Play with toy cars in sand or a sandpit.  Take your indoor cars outdoors and they will love making hills and pits, and roads for the cars.
  10. Make some nature art.  In the photo ours was done on a beach, but you can do this anywhere using leaves and sticks too (btw…it’s a happy fish!).
  11. Throw stones into the water and listen to the “music”.  Grab a fist full of pebbles and throw them into the water…listen to the sound they make when the fall in.
  12. Make pictures with outdoor chalk.
  13. Go on a bug hunt.  This was also down as a toddler activity, but for a preschooler you could step it up a notch with a spotter book, or a list of bugs to find
  14. Watch clouds and see how many shapes you can find
  15. Roll down grassy slopes.  They find this very addictive!

I hope you have found some inspiration from these preschooler outdoor play ideas, and will come back to read about the other age groups 🙂 Let me know in the comments below how you have got on.

15 Preschooler Outdoor Play ideas, preschool, children outdoors, outdoors, outdoor, outdoor play, www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

11 Toddler Outdoor Play Ideas

Outdoor play is so important for children of all ages (read here to find out why), and in this mini series of posts this week and next week, I will run through some varying outdoor play ideas for different age groups of children.  I am kicking off with toddler outdoor play ideas.  This, in my opinion, was the hardest age group for me with my three children.  At this age they are walking, but sometimes still like a push in a buggy, or still need a push in a buggy.  I found frustration levels could run high when they couldn’t do something, and getting them all dressed up for a bad weather day outside is a whole other talent (and then in the winter once done, they can hardly move!!).  However, it is so good for them (and us) to get out there, so I thought I would suggest a few ideas that you can do with each other once you are outdoors.  These toddler 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.

Toddler Outdoor Play Ideas:

  1. Mud Kitchens:  Any old pots and pans or utensils will do, maybe with a plastic jug thrown in for pouring, and your little toddler will delight in making up the most yummy mud meals you can imagine.  This also enables children to get very hands on with earth, dirt, and mud, which reaps a whole heap of other benefits too.
  2. Bubbles:  I purchased a large cheap bottle of bubbles and mine loved chasing them wherever we were, and seeing where they went.  I was also a little cunning here.  I had a pair of twins that would run off in different directions when we were out.  So, when it all got too much for me, or it looked like I was in serious danger of losing one or both, I would use bubbles in open spaces (such as the beach) to help stop this from happening.  It was perfect.  I was happy that they weren’t escaping, and they were having a blast!!
  3. Puddle Jumping:  Or if your toddler isn’t quite jumping yet, just wading will do.  Make sure they are dressed appropriately as there will be a fair few bum splashes at this age too, but it is all fun for them.  You can either take a little walk on a day with lots of puddles, or just use any puddles right outside your door.
  4. Bare feet:  If the weather/terrain allows, kick off that footwear, and let your little person enjoy running and playing unencumbered by clompy shoes.  They will feel more connected to nature, a little more stable (maybe), and  enjoy the sense of freedom that not wearing any shoes brings.
  5. Bug hunt:  Go on a very simple bug hunt.  You needn’t go far, just far enough to look under a rock or log.  Perhaps take a simple bug pot with a magnifying lid on so they can enjoy examining the mini beasts you find before returning them back to their home.  Children are naturally fascinated by nature.
  6. Pooh Sticks:  Have a good old fashioned game of pooh sticks.  We still have to stop to play this on every bridge we cross over.  Choose your sticks then stand on your bridge, throw them in together, then race to the other side of a bridge to see whose reappears first.
  7. Go collecting sticks, or stones, or both:  They will be intrigued by size and shape, and you could even take some home to do craft or paint on later.  Sometimes, if an outing/walk has a purpose, they are more interested in it.
  8. Outdoor Art:  Take a huge old sheet outdoors somewhere, with some washable paints.  I put the paints into old Tupperware tubs that small feet and hands can tread in.  Strip them off down to whatever you are happy to wash (nappy in my case!!), and let them squish their little toes into the paint, then run all over the sheet (or use their hands).  When my little lady was small, we did this often, and one day she ended up painting her whole body!!  Not quite what I had in mind!!  I always had a washing up bowl of soapy water handy for after!
  9. Water play:  The best toddler outdoor play ideas are when they are kept simple, no need to invest in water tables and spend money.  A few jugs, a watering can filled with rain water, and some buckets, and they are good to go.  They will be fascinated with pouring from one container to another, or even making splashes.  Just make sure they are being watched when water is involved 🙂
  10. Wash their toys:  Give them a bucket and a sponge/cloth and let them wash down their ride-ons, bikes, or trikes.  They will enjoy this, and if you are feeling brave, let them “help” you do your car.
  11. Take the indoors outside:  Toddler outdoor play can involve indoor toys outdoors.  Any plastic toys will be enjoyed hiding in bushes, climbing up mountains of mud, or large plastic lorries and cars driving through sandpits.  

I hope you have found some inspiration from these toddler outdoor play ideas, and will come back to read about the other age groups 🙂 Let me know in the comments below how you have got on, and in the mean time I am off to psych myself up to get my three into their winter weather gear for an afternoon of outdoor play in the Swedish winter!!  It usually takes around 20 minutes for this to be achieved, with lots of heated discussions/squabbles!!!

11 Toddler outdoor play ideas, toddler outdoor play, outdoor play, outdoors, www.mammasschool.co.uk

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