We live in Scotland and are so blessed to be surrounded by absolutely stunning scenery, however the weather and the wee midges can often make the idea of venturing outside less appealing – especially for families.
Here are 5 easy ways to help encourage your family to get outdoors.
Dress appropriately for outdoors
Make sure you have the correct clothing to enjoy outdoors with your children – puddle suits and wellies can be a game-changer for keeping little ones outside (and happy!) for longer!
Invest in midge spray or sun cream to ensure you can play outdoors safely.
We have two weather boxes so it’s easier to grab-and-go when I’m in a rush – one is filled with warm hats, mittens, boots & warm suits. The other box is filled with sun hats, sandals, Smidge and sunscreen.
I find it easier to then plan getting outside (as during the chaos of getting everyone ready I know I’ve got the main things I’ll need).
Have a purpose
Often having a basic plan can help encourage even the least enthusiastic of kids. You could choose something that interests your kids and use it as an exciting incentive to get outdoors.
I keep a bag of Outdoor Kit handy so that it’s ready to take on walks or throw into the car if going further afield (Please note: I only choose a few of these items and don’t take them all every time). Some things you might want to add are:
- Litter Picker & bin bag
- Colander Fire
- Magnifying glass
- Small bag for collecting/foraging
- Bug bottles
- Mud kitchen utensils (old kitchen utensils)
- Spices (for making potions/coloured paint)
- Paper, pens, clipboard
Using any resources you happen to have you could try:
- Hunting for dragon eggs (you could even draw a map before you leave)
- Hunt for treasure (you could drop ‘treasure’ secretly as you go to make it extra exciting!)
- Go on a bug hunt (a simple magnifying glass or bug bottle will entertain kids for hours!)
- Use a book as inspiration (for example We’re Going On A Bear Hunt) and re-enact your own version
- Foraging (see this blog for some local foraging opportunities that you could search for)
- Collecting or gathering for a home project (collecting sticks to make your own bug hotel or gather stones to paint and leave for others to find)
- Geo-caching (there are loads of free apps for this globally) and it’s a great way to get older kids out to hunt and find treasure that other people have left
- Colander fire marshmallow toasting (A colander, some kindling and a few marshmallows can make any dull afternoon seem like an adventure!)
The weather or timing doesn’t have to be perfect to get outdoors. Perhaps being stuck indoors is getting too much and popping outside to jump in puddles for 10 minutes will help get everyone exercise and some much-needed fresh air.
Let your kids lead and even select which things (if any) to take with you. Using their interests as inspiration, you could:
- Have a race
- Design and run your own Family Sports Day
- Build a contraption from offcuts of wood
- Plant some seeds from some fruit you’ve just eaten
- Go on a night walk
- Search for fairies
- Do bark rubbings
- Use outdoor materials (sticks, leaves, stones, flowers) as paintbrushes to make your own unique artwork
This is a great way to encourage responsibility, learn about food, and get outdoors. Even once you’ve planted your seeds they will need nurtured and checked on regularly – all of which requires you to get outdoors. There’s a comprehensive list of how to do this either with buying seeds or harvesting your own via this blog link on Food STEM.
Go on an outdoor adventure
Involve your family in planning big outdoor days where you can get some headspace. Use Google or Facebook or Instagram to look for local (or further afield!) inspiration – is there a nearby waterfall you’ve never been to or perhaps a location for a movie you all watched that you’d like to visit and explore.
Or maybe just a trip to the beach or hilltop where you can spend time together in the peace and quiet of outdoors. If everyone has planned this or given their suggestions for locations then they’ll be more keen to get involved and go outdoors for the day.
There is a plethora of benefits to spending time outdoors – and it doesn’t have to be complicated (any field, stream, forest, or loch will do!). So take the opportunity to walk/cycle/drive/train/bus to a lovely little spot near you and just enjoying getting out.
All of the photos below were close-by adventures and only took an afternoon in order to make us feel like we’d had a mini-break.
However you do it – HAVE FUN and do it whenever suits your family (10 minutes outside still counts! So go for it and have fun!).