Tag: nature (Page 1 of 2)
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
- 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!
- 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!
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!!
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- Learn to surf….you might find this another fun one to do with them for something new to try!
- Swim in the sea (make sure they are safe and supervised!!).
- Go on an off road cycling adventure.
- 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.
- Build a raft and try to sail it (again make sure any activity around water is safe and supervised).
- Build a mini pond. This is a great activity for them to add a feature to your own outdoor space, however small.
- 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.
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
- 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!
- 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.
- 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!
- Make coloured nature ice blocks and let the creativity flow outdoors in winter.
- 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.
- 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)
- Play frisbee. A great outdoor game, fun at any time of the year.
- 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.
- Go wild berry picking. Make sure you know what you are picking though!! We pick wild strawberries, wild raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, and sloe berries.
- Go Tracking. This we find a lot easier in winter in the snow, but you can look carefully for muddy tracks too.
- Go wave jumping….any time of the year is good as long as your clothing and footwear are right!
- 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.
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 🙂
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 🙂
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
- Catch some falling blossom
- Feed some young farm animals
- Make a bird feeder
- Make seed bombs
- Bird watch
- Blow dandelion bubbles
- Make an Easter bonnet
- Do some spring craft
- Make some Easter chocolates
- Make dandelion cookies
- Make Easter nests
- Climb a tree
- Make Easter biscuits
- Visit a pond and do some pond dipping
- Blow bubbles and try to catch them
- Blow the heads off dandelions and make a wish
- Fly a kite
- Make a bird house
- Make a fairy garden
- Do flower pounding
- Go on a nature hunt
- Make a flower press
- Press flowers and make something with them
- Celebrate the arrival of spring ( Valborg)
- Go on an Easter egg hunt
- Make a bug house or mini beast hotel
- Make a den
- Paint egg shells for Easter
- 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.