Playing in the great outdoors has always been a big part of many people’s childhoods. Building forts. Climbing trees, looking for the perfect conker – all brilliant memories. However, a recent study found that most children now spend less time outside than prisoners, with the average amount being just 16 minutes a day! There are many different factors attributed to this, almost too many to mention, but rather than focusing on why this worrying trend is happening, we at WiseUp like to find ways to end it. One of the simplest ways to encourage children and young people to spend time out of doors is for parents, carers and guardians to do it with them. While it’s not always possible for adults to dedicate a whole day to playing outside, there are lots of ways to enjoy being out in the fresh air even for shorter periods of time.
Have a picnic meal ouside
We all have to eat, so why not turn an ordinary meal into something different. Pack up the pasta, wrap up the Weetabix and enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner outside.
Collect tree rubbings
Take a piece of paper and hold it against a tree. Use a pencil or crayon to lightly shade over the page as it is pressed up against the trunk and watch the pattern of the bark appear. Each variety of tree has a different pattern – see how many you can collect, and then investigate what trees they have come from. This can also be done with leaves!
Look up to the skies
Take a few minutes on a clear night to look up at the stars and see what constellations you can find. There are some great smartphone apps that will help by scanning the sky and giving information about the science and history of star groups. If you are really luck, you might just see a shooting star – Make a wish!
If going outside at night is not really your thing, cloud gazing can be just as much fun. Lay on your back and watch the white puffy clouds change shape – try to figure out what they are and what they are changing into. Whilst stars already have their own stories, with clouds you can indulge your imagination by making up your own about the ever-changing shapes.
Create natural jewelry
See who can create the most beautiful natural necklace, bracelet or ring. Use the traditional daisy chain method with added elements for a bit more “bling” by slitting the stem of the daisies with your thumbnail and threading them through one another. For a different look, try rolling a wide piece of sellotape loosely around your wrist with the sticky side up. Then go searching for pieces of coloured leaves, feathers and flowers from the ground to stick on (Please don’t pick anything that is still living – we don’t want to hurt the trees or plants!)
try growing your own plant
Get a container, a bit of soil, some seeds and away you go! Sunflowers are a great one to start with, or how about some yummy herbs, like parsley, basil or rosemary? Small pots are easily maintained on a balcony or even tucked to one side of a communal garden space. Even better, if you live near a local park, speak to the gardeners there about helping to water the plants or pot new seedlings.
Get in touch
No matter what the size or location of your site, WiseUp are able to bring a variety of activities and challenges to get young people out into the fresh air, no matter what the weather. Our events are designed to fit around normal school timetables, scout group meetings and afte school or weekend activity groups, meaning no disruption to normal schedules. Please feel free to give us a call, drop us an email or use our easy enquiry form to see what we can offer.