*This is a collaborative post
One of the biggest challenges that modern parents face is ensuring their children get enough outdoor play and exercise. As if it wasn’t hard enough, it becomes even more difficult to get the kids outdoors in autumn and winter months as the days become shorter and cooler. Once our children start school, they take part in PE lessons each week and, for many, this is all the physical exercise they get.
Research published by play equipment experts ESP Play found that 68% of a child’s PE lesson is spent stationary. Thankfully, it also discovered that using ESP’s methods and playground environments increased physical activity by 19%. They obviously know what they’re doing when it comes to getting children active! Now that autumn has arrived, I wanted to share with you five ways how to get your kids outdoors.
Visit the Park
No matter what the weather is like, our local park is always a winner for us. It’s just a short walk from our house and O loves to play on the climbing frames and roundabouts. It’s a great way for the kids to have lots of fun whilst burning off that extra energy.
If it’s been raining, make sure the kids are wrapped up in their waterproofs so they don’t get soggy bottoms!
Make a Journey Stick
Head to your local woodland area or forest for a nature walk. Take a list of things to look out for, like conkers, acorns, robins and different coloured leaves for the older children. For younger ones, take a strip of cardboard out on your walk and create your own journey stick using double-sided sticky tape and bits and pieces you can pick up along the way. Catherine at Growing Family has a fabulous tutorial here.
Autumn is a great time of year to tidy up the garden before the winter’s frost. It’s also the right time of year to get planting the spring bulbs, like daffodils, for your flowerbeds. Children love to feel like they’re helping the grown-ups do their ‘jobs’, but even if they don’t want to help do jobs – I’m yet to find a child that doesn’t like getting dirty in the garden!
On Yer Bike!
O has loved learning how to ride his bike. He started off on a balance bike and has now progressed to his ‘big boy bike’ with stablisers fixed a couple of inches off the ground to prevent him falling off. Not because we don’t want him to fall off (which, of course, we don’t) but because he is scared of falling, so we’re encouraging lots of bike riding with the stabilisers until he’s confident enough to have them removed. It’s such a great way to get kids outside and doing some exercise – even if it’s just for the ride home from school or for half an hour after school.
Last but not least, our favourite autumn activity – jumping up and down in muddy puddles! I’m glad we now have some decent waterproof trousers for O and we can take him up the local rights of way path and he can get stuck right in to jumping in the puddles. He absolutely loves getting messy and it’s a great activity to do, no matter what the weather… as long as there’s some puddles!
What are your favourite outdoor autumn activities?