May 7, 2021
Taking children for an outdoor adventure is one of the greatest of pleasures. Whilst breathing clean, fresh air is a joy in itself, having fun outside is easy and even the most simple of ideas can be exciting for a child; sometimes you don’t even have to leave your own garden. Here are our own top tips of things to do outdoors. Time to get the imagination going!
1.First things first, just play!
Some of the greatest fun to be had outdoors is in the simplest of games.
There is Pooh sticks if you are near a bridge….
Team games of football, cricket or rounders, or family fun with Grandmother’s Footsteps, What’s the time Mr Wolf or group frisbee throwing….
Or perhaps hula hoop races (extra difficult over bumpy ground!), waterballoon baseball (don’t forget to use bio-degradable balloons) or chalking a hopscotch square on some pavings and getting the whole family to have a go!
2.We’re all going on a bug hunt!
If you have a garden you can do this at home or if you are on a countryside holiday you will easily be able to find a grassy spot. Find beetles, worms and spiders or just spot some butterflies. Have a jam jar or small cardboard box ready to put finds in and then get the children to make a drawing of each one. Make sure they put their finds safely back in the grass when they have finished! If you want further advice the various Wildlife Trusts can often help. Perhaps try the Minibeast Hunt from The Woodland Trust.
There is so much in nature that can be picked or pulled that is delicious to eat. Take the children out to gather some elderflowers for a refreshing drink, wild garlic for a tasty dish or spot some wild strawberries to eat as they go. Why not get them to pick dandelion flowers to make a delicious dandelion syrup, or later in the season pick blackberries for a glorious blackberry and apple pie. There is so much information available online about foraging, but at Penhein we are lucky enough to have Adele Nozedar, one of the best foragers in the country, as our guide. Her book Foraging with Kids is a great place to start.
4. Discovering their Adventurous Spirit
Climbing trees, building dens and paddling in streams…….
5. Scavenger hunt
The great thing is that scavenger hunts for children don’t require much at all, and you can make up your own to match your children’s ages and where you are taking them. Next time you head out on a family outing outdoors, take along your list of what the children have to find and see (don’t forget to give them a bag to put it all in) and set them off! You can make it a competition (first one back) or a prize for everyone – or both. If you don’t want to set the questions yourself, there are hundreds of downloadable options. Try these from the Woodland Trust for instance.
6. Play Sardines
Why not try a favourite of ours, Sardines. One person hides, and the other friends split up and look for them. If they find the hiding person, they have to hide with them until everyone is hiding in one place. The last person to find the hiding group is the loser and is the next hider. Top tip: establish boundaries of the hiding area so everyone knows where they can and can’t hide.
7. Visit a ‘Pick Your Own’ Farm
If you are not sure about the foraging why not visit a local Pick Your Own farm. This is a great way for children to see their food actually growing and these farms often have lots of other things going on as well. Make a game of the picking – perhaps the first to get to 20 strawberries, or make one child the navigator to follow the farm map to find what you are looking for. Make sure they get their hands dirty!
8. Nature Art
Get the children to use things like fallen leaves and flowers, sticks and stones to make some outdoors artwork on the ground. Don’t forget to take a photo! Or they can try some nature weaving as suggested by Ladybirds Adventures. As a messy alternative why not dig up some mud and make mud sculptures. A fine way to get dirty and have fun, both of which children love!
9. Make Your Own Rain Gauge
Children love collecting things, so why not rain? To make a rain gauge all you will need is an empty plastic bottle (a great way to re-use and recycle!), a pen, pair of scissors and a ruler. For full instructions why not try Activity Village’s version or Nurture Store. All the children have to do is check the rain gauge every day, measure how much rain has been collected, then empty the bottle and put it back into position. They’ll have great fun keeping track of rainfall!
10. More play! (and take a picnic too)
What about a game of Metal Can. Guess what. All you need to play this is a metal can! A variation of tag and hide & seek, you designate someone as “it” and place a can in the middle of the playing area. Everyone else runs off and hides while “it” covers his or her eyes and counts to a certain number. “It” then tries to find everyone. If a person is tagged by “it”, they go into a holding pen for captured players. If one of the un-captured players manages to reach and kick the can, the captured players are released. The game is over once all the non“it” players are in the holding pen. Great fun and so easy to arrange. It works for teams too. When you are all exhausted sit down and tuck in to a delicious picnic.
Ultimately, the great outdoors is a wonderful playground for all ages. Let the children and their imaginations run free!