Being outside is refreshing, invigorating and instantly makes us feel more positive. Even if the weather is less than ideal, there are endless benefits to getting some fresh air, especially if you’re being active at the same time. Outdoor hobbies are a great way to encourage children to spend more time out of the house, making friends and having adventures, whilst also building vital life skills and promoting healthy development. We understand that with so much technology readily available, and home comforts calling after long days at school, it can be hard to persuade kids to head outside. But fret not, here are our best ideas for getting your children off the couch and more involved in outdoor activities.
Your children will naturally follow your lead with most things in life until they reach an age where they feel confident enough to pursue their own interests, so it’s important to cultivate a love for the great outdoors from the start. Going for walks, exploring nature reserves, taking camping holidays and heading out for family bike rides on the weekend not only leave lifelong happy memories in your children’s hearts but also promote the importance of spending time outdoors. As a family, demonstrating to your children how fun outdoor activities can be is often the first step in helping them feel drawn outside. From planting seeds and growing flowers and vegetables in the garden, to building dens in the forest or paddling at the beach, choose activities that you genuinely enjoy to best demonstrate your passion for nature to your children.
If you’re a sporty family, taking your children to a playing field and teaching them football, tennis or cricket may be the easiest and most enjoyable way to spend time outside together. If they’re old enough to join a local sports team, this can be a great chance for them to build new skills whilst also making new friends and feeling part of a community. You may not be sure which sport your child will enjoy, but most clubs offer trial days. Letting your kids try a few different types of games and sports is the best way to find one that piques their interest.
It can be hard to feel comfortable with your children exploring the local area with their friends, even when they're older. To increase your confidence, make friends with the parents of your children's friends, so you can keep in touch when they're out and about. But if you aren’t sporty and don’t know many other families in your area, simply taking younger children to the park is a good way to spark connections that will grow over time.
To help gently encourage reluctant children to venture outdoors, try creating a challenge or activity that builds on a current interest of theirs. If they love painting, why not take a walk and collect smooth rocks to paint back at home, or make a birdhouse to entice them to keep a closer eye on the garden.
Animal lovers may love the opportunity to take photos of as many species they can find, or you could try to build a bug hotel together with sticks foraged from your local woodland. Or, if your kids enjoy watersports, you could see if there is somewhere nearby you could take them to try kayaking, canoeing or paddleboarding for a special treat.
There’s little chance of your children wanting to spend more time outside if they don’t enjoy it, so make sure whatever activities you encourage are fun and enjoyable for the whole family. With a little trial and error, there’s an outdoor hobby to be found for everyone.
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