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Do you ever get slightly panicked by holidays?
And it’s downright miserable. And we feel we’ve failed as parents. Again. Not nice.
I find, the single best remedy is just to get outside and have some simple outdoor fun.
It’s a magical medicine that gets us all smiling.
Because being outdoors give our kids freedom to run around at top speed exploring and discovering and imagining and building and whooping to their heart’s content.
AND helps me actually switch off. Properly.
From work. And the house. And my phone.
And actually connect with them.
So more and more, that’s what we do – weekends and holidays: just get outdoors as early as we can and explore.
We come back tired but recharged. With the loveliest of memories. Feeling connected.
Not from massive, complicated activities.
Just from the simplest of stuff – climbing a tree, playing hide and seek, picking berries, racing snails or taking a book or crayons out with us and reading or drawing outside.
There’s no planning or pressure or organisation on my part. We chuck together a last minute picnic and grab a flask of coffee.
And we’re off. Adventuring.
For inspiration check out this HUGE list of simple, fun outdoor activities for kids.
It’s not dull stuff for you to organise or direct. Just simple prompts for outdoor play that don’t cost a thing!
101 Outdoor Play Ideas
- Go blackberrying with friends
- Build a den
- Build a wigwam
- Climb trees
- Make a log seesaw
- Make a stick sword
- Paint your shadows on the pavement or in the yard
- Make a stick and string bow and arrow
- Make a stick and ribbon wand
- Play hopscotch on the pavement
- Play hide and seek in the woods
- Pick apples
- Paint stones
- Make paint brushes from plants
- Collect flints
- Paddle in a stream
- Catch crabs
- Make a daisy chain
- Plant pumpkins
- Collect conkers
- Make a stick picture frame
- Race snails
- Raise butterflies
- Raise ladybirds
- Make a stick raft
- Grow radishes (nothing grows quicker!)
- Grow lettuces
- Build a train track in the garden
- Grow peas (even my picky eater who doesn’t love veg gobbles peas down straight from the pod)
- Play Pooh sticks
- Sail paper boats down a stream
- Join a lavender harvest
- Make leaf crowns
- Make flower crowns
- Make journey sticks
- Camp in the garden
- Build an obstacle course
- Go on a nature scavenger hut
- Grow herbs
- Take paper and crayon to the park or woods and do leaf rubbings
- … and bark rubbings
- Take paints to the park and paint a landscape like the Impressionists
- Make a stick maze
- Go to a lido (London has the best!)
- Balance on a log
- Collect pine cones
- … paint with pine cones
- Make friends with wild geese
- Forage for food on the beach …
- … and cook it on a camp fire …
- … tell ghost stories around the camp fire
- Built a birds nest
- Follow animal tracks
- Blow bubbles
- Go box sledging in the autumn leaves
- Make forest face mud monsters
- Make shell pictures on the beach or stone or stick pictures in the woods
- Paint with water pistols
- Dig for worms
- Make blossom pictures
- Feed the ducks
- Splash in puddles
- Build a bug hotel
- Make leaf masks
- Make leaf collages
- Make mud pies
- Braid grass
- Create driftwood aliens
- Plant a tree
- Grow raspberries
- Grow blueberries
- Make a solar oven
- Make story stones
- Make a stick flag with a hankie or dish cloth or an pillow case
- Build a beaver dam across a stream
- Explore a mole hill
- Sow seeds to attract bees
- Stay up to spot the stars and say hello to Orion
- Make a kite – Mary Poppins style – from sticks, newspaper and string
- Listen for woodpeckers
- Follow a robin and see where he takes you … Narnia or The Secret Garden?
- Forage for crab apples – and make crab apple jelly
- Paint with the rain – !! – on rainy days
- Fish for tiddlers with a net – we’ve caught them right here in south London!
- Find a Gandalf style staff
- Paint acorns
- Roll down a grassy bank
- Dig for fossils
- Conquer a hill
- Collect tadpoles
- Pick elderflowers and make cordial …
- … and elderberries in the summer for juice and jam
- Make Christmas decorations from twigs
- Have a leaf fight
- Create a trail with stick arrows
- Learn to skim stones
- Blow giant bubbles
- Play Mother May I
- Read books … in the garden, the park, the forest, the beach
- Jump up and down in the mud and slide, slide, slide …
- On a warm night … sleep under the stars
So there you go, loads of simple, fun prompts to help kids get outdoors and play. Enjoy!
A big blast of outside freedom truly is the best medicine I know when we’re struggling as a family with our busy-busy, always on world.
But these other slow parenting tips also help: