A recent survey revealed that children in the UK up to the age of 11, spend 45 hours in front of the TV, and only 5 hours playing outside. This statistic prompted me to get involved with the Daddilife #playmoremonth campaign . I thought I would share with you my feelings and experiences of playing outside with my children, and provide some tips on how to encourage your children to play more outside.
When I read the statistics of how little time children are playing outside it actually shocked me, although I understand to a point that in this world of technology we live in nowadays, children seem to be more interested in TV, tablets and gaming.
However outside play is vital for their development as well. So I have a few tips I use in playing outside more with my five year old twin girls.
When you play outside with your children you connect on a different level with them. I think you chat more, and find out more about what’s going on in their lives in a relaxed atmosphere. You are involved with their play and interacting at their level, and I believe children love nothing more than watching dad behaving like a child.
Also, what better way than to enjoy each other’s company? It’s forming a bond with your children that will last a lifetime and they won’t forget these magic moments they had during their childhood.
Play more – My 4 tips to get your children outdoors
- Wherever you live in the UK, every area has a local park with swings and slides, and we are no different. My twin girls love going to the park. In particular they both love the monkey bars and have mastered them after many after school visits spent practising! The biggest benefit of your local park is it’s free, and you get to spend time outside with your children.
- A great way to fire up their imaginations is to a visit your local farm. Children love to interact with animals; feeding them, and learning all about their habits and how they live. You can spend hours there and take a picnic with you too. Yes, it costs to go, but the cost is outweighed by getting your kids outdoors and away from the TV.
- Not everybody has a garden, but if you do, you can turn it into a play centre that your children can enjoy all day on a lovely summer’s day. A paddling pool, a slide, some toys, and just watch your children use their imagination making up games. What better way to develop than through playing.
- Finally as your children get older and become competent cyclists, which my twins are now, something we like to do is go on family bike rides. They also really enjoy scooting and we all have scooters. Our girls love scooting together as a family. What a fantastic way to get plenty of fresh air outdoors.
I’ve also invited three very good friends of mine who are also dads and dad bloggers to share their own special tips.
The first comes from Benny who blogs at Daddy Poppins and he says….
“If you want your kids to play outside you have to get out and join them, just be involved as a parent.”
Kids love parental play. You are their role models and heroes. They do as you do not as you say, so set aside a family day to go and do stuff. If the weathers fine, take a ball outside, get out your bikes and scooters, or take a family walk to the park.
Once they find how much fun outside play is, it will encourage them to do it when you aren’t available too.
The second tip comes from David who blogs at Dad V World and he says…
“My best tip on how to get kids outside to play is imagination and interaction. I’m not talking about the kids either, I’m looking at us parents!”
My boy loves playing with his toys, loves running around, but above all, he loves playing with his mum and dad. There’s literally thousands of things to do outdoors when you use your imagination.
Go to the Pound Shop, B&M, Home Bargains and buy some plant pots, water toys, outdoor games, anything that you can use as a prop outdoors. Get in the garden and become pirates or bug catchers or dinosaur hunters. We like to feed children’s imaginations and watch them flourish through play. What I think we sometimes forget is that we adults need to recapture ours too.
Finally our third tip comes from Tom who blogs at The Unlikely Dad and he says….
“I liken my son to a dog. He needs to get out twice a day for walks, whatever the weather!”
We’re out and about most days, but on a quiet one if we have no plans we head to the park or the coffee shop in the village or just take his scooter and get outdoors! He’s obsessed with being outside even at home in the garden. No amount of money we spend on toys seems to work. He’d rather be outside using his imagination making all sorts of concoctions with mud, grass, water, sand.
So my tip is, if you’re a bit of a clean freak (or were, now you have kids) embrace them getting dirty. Yes, it can be annoying when their clothes stain, but they’re learning and having fun. Invest in a good umbrella and wellies/waterproof all in one suit and let them out in those puddles. They can sit indoors and watch TV to calm down and dry off after! Plus, another tip, this gets my son SHATTERED. So bedtime is a breeze…😇😇. Tom
I’m trying to encourage even more dads to play more outside with their children, and I’m delighted to be part of #playmoremonth