Tag: parenting (Page 1 of 8)
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:
- Celebrate midsummer
- Make a strawberry cake
- Lie on the grass and listen to the birds
- Go strawberry picking
- Go raspberry picking
- Go blueberry picking
- Make a daisy chain
- Paddle barefoot
- Go wild camping
- Swim outdoors
- Collect pebbles to paint at home
- Read stories outdoors
- Go crabbing
- Make some beach art
- Go on a hike
- Make some air dry clay figures
- Go and visit the älg/elks again
- Explore lots of the islands in our archipelago
- Play in a stream
- Raise our own butterflies from caterpillars
- Play on beaches
- 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!
We get a lot of enjoyment out of making and using campfires as part of our outdoor experiences. It adds an extra sense of adventure to our outdoor trips, whether hiking, camping, or just visiting a beach to play, and in the cooler months it makes our meal break a very cosy one. I haven’t always been happy with fires though and learnt a lot through forest school back in the UK before we moved here. Since then I have tried to carry on the experience of eating by a fire as the children loved it. I have learnt a lot over the last 12 months and I thought I might share some basics and tips to help you get started, or give you more confidence if you are new to it.
How To Build A Campfire:
- You will need some supplies first! This is what we use with a lot of success: Newspaper, cotton wool, Vaseline, tiny kindling (very small twigs, or we prefer silver birch bark we have shredded), bigger sticks (thumb width), and larger wrist sized logs. Don’t forget to sign up – you will then get the password to access our freebies page, and you can see what is in our fire starting kit!
- Build a tepee like structure: Small amount of newspaper in the middle, with some cotton wool on top (that has a bit of Vaseline on – this helps light the fire). Then place the kindling around that in a tepee shape, then the larger sticks around that, and then the bigger logs around that.
- Our stacking system: This is a system we use very effectively for our campfires so you could give it a go too. It doesn’t go so high as a tepee structure so is easier to pop a grill over to cook on. We place the smaller sticks in a crisscross square shape, placing a loosely crumpled piece of newspaper and cotton wool with Vaseline on in the middle. Then place a larger log across the top of the stack.
- Once the fire is lit, make sure you top up the fuel before the flames die right down to get it really going at first. If it dies down too much, you need to try blowing under at the glowing embers to get the flames going again. Once it has calmed down a little you are ready to cook on it 🙂
How To Put Out Campfires:
- Never leave a campfire before it is fully out as it may harm the environment and wildlife.
- Let the firewood all burn down to ash, and spread the ash and embers out a little
- Gently pour on some water slowly. We carry extra water for this, to make sure we can always put our fires out. Or if we are by water we take a bucket with us.
- Mix the embers up with a stick, allowing the water to infiltrate more, and bring anything that is still glowing and alight underneath to the surface to be dowsed with water.
- Pour on a little more water; you will hear hissing doing this and produce smokey steam (watch where you are standing!).
- Again use a stick to spread the embers out and stir water in.
- Keep repeating until you are confident nothing is still alight/glowing.
Some Rules For Campfires:
- Use fire pits where you can, or carry a lightweight and portable stove with you. By using provided fire pits, or carrying your own stove, you are helping to protect the habitat of creatures in the area that you have decided to cook in, plus reduced the risk of fire spreading.
- You need to consider any fire dangers for the time of year (e.g. is it very dry?) and bear in mind any local restrictions. You don’t want to spread your fire.
- Take only wood from the ground, never from the trees, and gather it from a wide area. You don’t want to remove everything from one small area as it has a job to perform in the ecosystem providing nutrients and habitats.
- Allow your wood to burn completely down to ash, and then spread them out when you are extinguishing your fire.
- Put out a fire with water not dirt,
- Avoid building your fire on rocks as it will scar them. Also, if near coastal water that covers them after you’ve been and gone, when the water rapidly cools the rocks it may cause them to crack.
- Never leave your fire unattended, it is a fire risk and a hazard to any inquisitive animals.
- If you have moved any rocks, for example to make a bit of a wind break, make sure you return them to where they were.
- Make sure you take all your rubbish home again, to avoid harming animals and the countryside.
I hope these tips will help you to either give campfires a go if you haven’t before, or help you get more confidence if you are a newbie. They really add to the outdoor experience and are so cosy to be around. They also help teach children basic bush craft and outdoor skills (whether that be lighting a fire, looking after a fire, or thinking about nature and the environment when using a fire). However, they must be made and used responsibly and always thinking about safety and nature. Don’t forget to check out our outdoor cooking recipes for inspiration for what to cook on your campfire!! We have lots of ideas both savoury and sweet, so go take a browse and enjoy 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:
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!
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 🙂