Autumn is drawing in, the air is getting cooler, and there is a risk of getting stuck inside at the weekend for most of the winter.
However, fresh air is good for everyone in the family. So, how can you create novel ways for the kids to get outside?
Don’t call it a ‘walk’
The word ‘walk’ will often be met with groans. However, with a few tweaks, a walk together can be made kid-friendly. If you take some binoculars with you, the kids can enjoy looking for wildlife. You can also announce a contest for who can find the biggest pinecone. Anything that reframes a walk as an interesting activity will make a difference.
Be weather ready
Have wellies available for winter rambles and kids will adore splashing through puddles and sloshing through mud. Make sure they have waterproof outer layers and warm inner layers, too, and the world is your oyster, no matter the weather.
Don’t forget the beach
The beach isn’t just for summer. Kids will love digging in the damp sand, and walking in shallow water in wellies. Searching for shells and fossils is a fun activity, as is enjoying the rock pools (check the beach tide forecast to see when the tide will be out).
Find art materials outside
Suggest the kids find materials outside- perhaps in the woods- to create a picture when they get home. Sticks, interesting leaves, ferns and acorns are all items that can be stuck on card or paper to make something later on. Let your little ones come up with the ideas!
Make a mud kitchen
If you have a corner of outside space that will suit, create a small mud kitchen. Simply provide a ‘worktop’ of some sort, and some ‘cooking tools’- maybe plastic bowls, cups, or some toy knives and forks, and let them get busy with dirt. Small kids learn through play so a mud kitchen is a great way to provide a fun opportunity while getting some fresh air in their lungs!
Find new outdoor pursuits
Try a new activity together- perhaps kite flying, French cricket or geocaching. Have a look online also to see if local places to visit are offering any autumn trails for kids too.
Don’t underestimate how much kids love to help dad! Children can help wash the car, or paint the fence (hand them a bucket of water and a brush so they can get ‘painting’!).
Toddlers adore exploring and can spend hours checking out everything around them. Nurture this natural curiosity by taking them to different local areas- nature reserves, lakes, or forests- and let them explore at their own pace.
Make a den
Get down to the local woods and gather large sticks and branches for a den. Kids can also gather ferns or leaves to make a ‘floor’, and will love having ‘lightsaber’ battles using sticks!
Fresh air is not only good for kids but good for you too- being outside makes a big difference to your mental wellbeing. Aim to get outside with the kids for at least an hour a day.