So just when we had all got used to being outdoors the whole time, we all have to go back in again, right? Well no, we don’t have to do that. With a bit of imagination, we can still enjoy being outside with our little tots, and just think what all that fresh air will mean at bedtime. That’s right! Sleep little ones. At bedtime!
Seriously though, there’s nothing worse than being cooped up all afternoon and evening, especially when the days get dark at about 4.00pm. So here are a few suggestions for fun in the great outdoors (or the back garden), even if it does mean wrapping up warm and pulling on your wellies!
- Wildlife tracking – You’ll need snow for this one! There are so many positives to this lovely activity I hardly know where to start. Apart from just being outdoors and spending time as a family (which is good enough by itself), it’s wonderful to make your little ones (and not so little ones) aware of the world around them. Whether it’s your back garden or local country park, there are always little foot prints to discover and puzzle over. Try printing off a page from the internet on animal and bird prints. See what you can find, and why not take a flask and sandwiches to make it a real adventure.
- Torch tag – If you’re looking for an activity that’s cheap, exciting and gets in some exercise too, then torch tag is perfect. All you need is one responsible person per child, a torch each and a bit of imagination. When it’s dark, simply go outside, spread out in little teams and then hunt each other. When someone is spotted by shining a torch on them, they’re out! We’ve done this loads of times and the excitement and squealing is hilarious! They always give the game away with their giggling and shouting, but it really is a great laugh. Highly recommended.
- Pine cone hunt – Not entirely an outdoor activity this one, but at least partly. Get out to the local park and go hunting for really big, perfect pine cones. Nothing too small, and definitely not with any bits missing off them. When you’re home, decorate with paint, glitter and any bits and pieces you have lying around. And why not create Christmas tree decorations? Just tie little loops of gift wrap string near the top of the pine cone and keep safe for December.
- Water balloon bowling – Ever heard of this one? We love it! Get a few little bottles of food colouring and a bag of smallish balloons. Mix the colouring in water and fill some balloons with the water. Then put the balloons outside in the cold weather to freeze overnight (or in the freezer if there’s room). When they’re ready, cut away the balloon and you’re ready to play a daft game of frozen bowls, or if you’re feeling continental, how about a game of Petanque? You’ll need gloves! Won’t last long but good silly fun.
- A winter beach outing – Ever seen a beach on a cold Winter’s day? Everything looks and feels completely different. The sand is hard and crunchy, the rock pools are frozen over, the sea is grey and heavy. It’s a completely different experience from the Summer. Follow it up with a trip to the fish and chip shop and the day is complete. A really memorable outing.
Getting out in the cold gives children a great habit to follow – there’s more to fun than curling up in front of the TV or iPad. And being with them when doing these kinds of activities is what family life is all about! So when it turns cold, pull on the bobbly hat and mittens and head out for some fun. It’ll make the sofa so much more appealing when you come home!