Encouraging your child to spend more time outdoors

Playing in the fresh air is essential to children’s development. Follow this guide to find new ways of encouraging your child to spend more time outdoors so they can reap the many benefits and make memories to last a lifetime.

The benefits of time outdoors

There are endless ways that time outdoors will benefit your children:

  • Connection to nature which inspires calm
  • Natural exercise that builds strength and burns energy
  • Honing instinctive movements like running and jumping
  • Developing skills in balance and coordination
  • Testing physical limits in a safe environment
  • Encouraging creative play and imagination
  • Safeguarding against shortsightedness (eyesight)
  • Long-term physical and mental health benefits
  • Improved sleep quality

How to get your child outside

Utilise the garden

Embracing outdoor play can start at home, so it’s easy to include as a daily activity for your child. You should utilise the garden in different ways to keep things interesting and to match their moods.

Create a dedicated play area with a swing and slide, build a treehouse and decorate the canopy with outdoor garden lights, or put together a den where kids can enjoy privacy while playing in the fresh air. In the summertime, spend evenings playing family-friendly outdoor games such as croquet, boules, cornhole and mini golf.

You can also get your child involved in gardening which will help you as much as them! This could include planting flowers, nurturing seeds and watering the garden. Explore gardening craft projects for children too which guarantee fun: create a fairy garden, make colourful planters and press flowers.

Plan a camping trip

Get the whole family in the great outdoors by planning a camping trip. This is the perfect way to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and embrace the peace and beauty of the natural world. 

Choose your destination carefully depending on what you want from the holiday. You can rough it in tents and cook for yourselves on an open fire or head to a centre with glamping facilities and take advantage of a host of organised outdoor activities. 

Car or caravan camping is a great option if you want the flexibility of driving to far-flung trails for hiking and mountain biking adventures. 

Ride bikes together

A stand-out memory for most parents is teaching their child how to ride a bike. Make the most of your hard work and organise bike rides together so you can explore your surroundings on two wheels.

Discover the many great places for a family bike ride in the UK from flat lakeside circular routes to more challenging trails that lead to spectacular views. Remember to build in plenty of breaks where you can refuel and offer the incentive of a picnic or pub lunch for more reluctant participants!

Prioritise safety when planning your route. Stick to proper cycle paths which don’t have the danger of traffic or pedestrians, and ensure everyone wears a quality helmet.