We all know we probably spend too much time in front of screens, in fact studies have shown that children are spending far too much time in front of some sort of screen, and not enough time undertaking physical activity. Experts recommend children (from toddlers to school age) benefit from at least an hour of physical play, which can and should be outdoors.
Children are naturally physically active and we should try to encourage this as much as possible. Their minds and bodies are curious, and they want to move, learn, create, touch, smell and explore.
Being outdoors is great for children as it encourages them to practice and master emerging physical skills and where they can fully and freely experience motor skills like running and jumping. How many times have you said “No jumping on the couch!” or “No running in the house!”?
We understand it can be challenging to come up with new and fun ways to keep the whole family entertained whilst trying to live a healthy lifestyle, so here are some ideas and inspiration.
- Go on a family nature walk. Have a competition to see how many different animals you can spot or watch for signs and evidence of the changing season. You could even draw pictures of what you see along the walk. This can be stimulating for young babies too as it will stimulate their minds. Simply pop them in a baby carrier or stroller and away you go.
- Build an obstacle course outside (ensure it is safe for all the family). You can have hours of fun jumping, hopping, climbing and rolling over it. And you can create this from items around the house from cushions, boxes, mats, hula hoops and skittles…. Get creative!
- Go on a bike ride and if you have a little one who can’t ride on their own yet consider investing in a mounted child or infant carrier for your bike. Pack a picnic and spend the day outside in the fresh air.
- Have a family game of football and if you can – invite the neighbours or wider family members.
- Create your own family sports day. Set up a range of traditional activities from the egg and spoon race, sack race, hurdles and even the three-legged race. If you wanted to go one step further you could design and make your own trophy to present to the winning family member.
- Go camping. Family camping is an affordable and fun holiday where the family can bond and spend time outside. If you’re not sure you could cope with seven nights in the rural countryside why not start off small and spend the night in the back garden.
- LARP. (Live Action Role Play) Children love dressing up and using their imagination. LARP is usually an organised activity but have fun creating a less structured setting and allow yourself to enter your child’s imagination and let them lead the playtime!
- Treasure hunt. Draw out a map or create and hide clues. Children love the thrill of figuring something out and searching for the unknown.
These activities are not only great for your children but they will ensure the whole family get active and benefit from some time outdoors and plenty of fresh air! Enjoy.