Top Tips for teaching kids how to play outside
Helping your kids develop the confidence to play freely outside.
It's as much a learning process for parents and carers as it is for kids. So help them on their way to play independence with these top tips.
- The first barrier is often fear of the unknown. Play out in wild places with the kids and talk them through the area, especially for littler ones. Build up to more Wild Time on their own.
- Find a reason to explore. Set small challenges – find me an acorn, can you see a squirrel, or hear birds? These are all good challenges for kids. For older kids – map the terrain, or take photos of something specific.
- Reassurance. For older kids mobile phones are an easy way to reassure them (and you) that you can get in touch. Younger kids love a walkie-talkie set. If you want the cheapest and most fun option? A watch and a time limit work brilliantly. Start with 5 minutes, and then work up to 15 etc.
- Embrace technology. Outdoor Apps such as Ordnance Survey Maps, Geocaching, Wild Time/Exploer Apps etc can all prompt that initial foot over the doorstep levels of interest.
- Wellies for water and trainers for trees. Only the most seasoned wild child can climb trees in wellies, or handle soaking wet trainers from puddle jumping! For extra fun, playing on grass barefoot is fab.
- Always remember snacks! Pack them off with a biscuit or banana and they will stay wilder for longer.
- Leave them to it. After an initial briefing, or chat, trust them to play. Unstructured play comes naturally to children (even if you do have to nudge them along sometimes!)
- Embrace the classics: den building, walking along with massive sticks, skimming stones, playing Pooh sticks in a stream and generally poking things. Always poking things.
- Show your fear. Nothing delights a cheeky child more than the fear of a parent as they climb higher and higher up a tree or along a log.
- Join in every now and then.
Like this? Read more...
The Rain-Shine crew's guest blog: When kids are scared of Nature.
Kate Blincoe's Top Tips for Winter Wild Time.
Ten easiest ever wild time ideas (even for school days).