GETTING THE KIDS OUTDOORS IN AUTUMN
What a lovely day we had yesterday in Melbourne! It was definitely a time to be outdoors. Thankfully in Australia a lot of us could take advantage of the day as it was Anzac day (a day for us to remember all those who have served and died in our defence forces during Australia’s and New Zealand’s history). I really love getting outdoors, but sometimes feel like I am dragging two kids in tow.
Of course you want to encourage your children to go outside when the weather is so nice, but when you have a teenager and a tween, as I do, sometimes you have to battle the influence of the TV, xbox and other electronic gadgets. Even little lies need some encouragement and so you need to have some ideas up your sleeve so they don’t have any excuses not to go outside. This can be an opportunity to spend some time with your children to play and learn together. Going outdoors can be inexpensive and it is a good way of seeing what is around your home and in your local community. It will give your family an understanding of the environment they live in, but most importantly it is time to have fun together.
If you are stuck for ideas, here are some ideas where both young and old can have fun doing together.
A nature walk – this doesn’t mean you have to venture too far from home. A walk in your local area can reveal so many magical things about your environment. Visit streets you haven’t gone down before. Ask the kids how many flowers can they see. How many trees are there on the way? If you are lucky enough to have a park nearby point out the types of birds, insects and plants you see. Older kids might find it all a bit boring at first, but often time away from home gives you a chance to relax and have a conversation during the walk. And without any prompting they will notice some new things on the way. Bring the dog along. I know he won’t mind.
Garden time – Gardening is a good way of introducing your kids to the environment. Space does not have to be a problem. It is as easy as showing your children how to pot up plants and how to look after the plant. If you are lucky enough to have a garden, provide a small space for the kids to plant some vegies and flowers. They will have a lot of pride when they bring their own vegies to the table.
Outdoor tent – Have fun together making a tent with some sticks and old sheets. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Decorate it with plants from around the garden. Older kids might enjoy a sleepover with their friends in the backyard (if the weather is on your side). If you have a tent, erect it, giving them sleeping bags and torches and the option to come indoors if it gets too cold or too scary. Even if they only spend a few hours outdoors, they will have experienced a night in the open space and a lot of fun.
Bug hunting – this can be done in your backyard or on your nature walk. Challenge your kids to see how many different insects can they notice.
Car washing – believe it or not this can be a lot of fun for kids. They love getting their hands wet and without the worry of making a mess on the kitchen floor. Of course, you will be using recycled water or a bucket. Not only will you get a job done, but you can have lots of fun splashing about.
Fruit picking – This is lots of fun and it still means the kids are outdoors. If you are lucky enough to live near fruit growers or have a fruit crop of your own, why not spend part of the day picking the fruit, then to bring it home to eat fresh or to have a cooking session. The kids will definitely love bringing this fruit to school.
Chalk it – have you got some pavement space that could do with some brightening up, even if it is temporary. If you don’t have the right ground space, you could set up a blackboard in your backyard. Let the kids show their artistic skills and add a different look to the place. Hopscotch anyone?
Ball-time - time to get the football, basketball or cricket ball out. Any ball game that gets the family to play together, run up a sweat and learn to play fair is great. Games like rounders can be good fun for little kids.
Treasure hunt – this is a great thing to do when you kids are having a birthday or having friends over. Set out clues as to where the treasure(s) is placed. This works really well if you set up a theme e.g. Pirates treasure, Ancient ruins, Fairies. The clues can lead to one prize or to a number of prises or points collected along the way. A map is another way of giving the clues. Younger kids will find it easier to read pictures, while older kids will find it more interesting if the clues can be more challenging.
Create some art – Head out with your kids and collect some autumn leaves and twigs. Then come home and make some collages, leaf rubs or sculptures. Kids get amazed with the colours and it is a great way to celebrate the season.
Cardboard cubby – this is a great project which involves the making (or should I say cutting out), the decorating and the using. It may not be for the rainy days, but it is a cheap way to have fun, bring out the artist in your kids and keeps them outdoors for ages.
Kite – Autumn is usually a good time to fly a kite, but before you go out, make the kite together. Check this link out: http://www.skratch-pad.com/kites/make.html
Have a picnic – Rather than having lunch indoors, just lay a rug on the lawn and have a picnic. It will be a lovely novelty and is a very relaxing way to enjoy a meal together. Even better go to your local park and share the picnic with friends and allow the kids to play.
Old reliables – hide & seek, chasee, tug-a-war and other old classics can be great way to relive your childhood memories and show your kids some old favourites. There is nothing like the laughter of kids chasing each other in the hope of catching one of their friends.
We hope you like these suggestions and get a chance to do at least one or two of them over the Autumn. I’m sure you have some other ideas. Why not share them here with everyone?
Have earthly passionate fun outdoors,
Attracta & the earthly passion team.