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For many children September is “back to school” month. It can be quite a shock to the system going from the long carefree days of playing to “shorter” school days mainly spent indoors. Kids still need to fit in lots of outdoor playtime whatever the weather and season. If you’re worried about how to make sure your child/children get enough outdoor play even during the school term and Autumn/Winter, take a look at these five ideas below from going for walks to buying outdoor play equipment for your garden:
Make the Most of the School Run Home
A walk with a child is never just a walk. On the days when you have time make the most of the school run home. If walking, slow your pace and look at the things around you. Even on an urban walk there can be flowers, leaves and insects to spot. You can look out for different things every day- pick different colours or themes. Stop and let your child swing on the railings or pop to a park on the way home. You could scooter, skate or cycle home too. On the days when you have to rush home for clubs or go to work try and get out the house for an evening walk. Make sure you wear reflective clothing and pack a torch. Watch the sunset and enjoy the magic of a dusk walk bat spotting and looking at the stars.
Go to the Park after School
I mentioned it above but going to the park after school is great fun and beneficial in so many ways both physically, socially and psychologically. I wish we had a park on our way home from school so we could pop there every day. Luckily there is one nearby so we try and go at least once a week. Pack a winter’s picnic to make the most of your time. The kids love seeing their classmates from school and of course there’s a lot more equipment to play there than we have in our own garden from climbing equipment to tyre swings and spinning witches hat.
Make Your Garden Play Friendly
If you have the space make your garden play friendly then your child can fit in outdoor play at every opportunity. We love our playhouse and slide. We’d love a garden swing too. Even older children like to pop outdoors and have a swing to relax (they make great thinking seats!). For larger gardens consider a climbing frame and trampoline. These are great for fitness and working off surplus energy after school. In smaller gardens, pots can be made into fairy gardens. Stepping stones can be placed along the grass so kids can hop from one to another. Climbing opportunities can be created by installing climbing stones along the wall.
Join Outdoor Clubs
If your child is in after school clubs make sure at least one of them is an outdoor club. It could be a sports club, such as tennis, hockey, netball, football, basketball or rugby. Beavers, Cubs and Scouts offer a lot of outdoor play opportunities too.
Buy Wet Weather Clothes
The saying, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing” is so true. Invest in wet weather gear and the wet weather will never prevent you and your child from enjoying outdoor play time. Take a walk in the woods and look at the magical wet spiderwebs. Walk along the beach and splash in the waves. There’s no excuse to not enjoy the outdoors all year round.
What tips do you have for making sure children get plenty of outdoor play all year around?