Thursday, 4 August 2016

10 ways to get your kids outdoors and off technology

Everyone's extolling the virtues of Pokemon Go as a great way to get kids active and outdoors.  What even is Pokemon Go?  Well, don't ask me to explain it, the whole Pokemon craze completely bypassed me the first time around, and I'm trying not to get sucked into it the second.  I'm all for activities that get kids motivated to get outside and explore, so if poke hunting floats your boat, then that's cool but personally I'd prefer it if they could do that without being glued to a device since that's something our family are guilty of spending waaaaay too much time doing already.

So I've come up with my top ten outdoor adventures and activities which will keep the kids entertained all day long, giving parents some inspiration for when the summer holidays just seem too long, and encouraging families to spend some time together unplugged.

Petal Power

Collecting flower petals and making watercolour paint was one of the loveliest activities we've ever done together and it kept us entertained for hours and hours.  First going out exploring the local countryside and collecting the flower petals, then back at home making the watercolour paint and finally using it to create works of art.  Great for exploring the natural world, learning about and experimenting with colour and unleashing your creative talent. 

Painting with flowers

Image credit Coffee Cake Kids

Another take on using flowers for art is this idea from Coffee Cake Kids.  A lovely stroll around the park collecting yellow dandelions - lets face it, they grow everywhere - and back home for some painting fun.

Hunt for treasure

We've also recently got our archeology thing on and gone digging for pieces of colourful china to make a mosaic tray.  This was a brilliant and educational outdoor activity and prompted lots of discussion about local history, with the added bonus that we had a lovely homemade item afterwards to show for it. You could create similar with sea glass or shells collected on the beach.

Driftwood Games

Image credit Thinly Spread

If you are near the beach, then take a leaf out of Thinly Spread's book and use all those collected bits of driftwood and pebbles to create this simple game which will keep the kids entertained long after the tide's come in. Or Crafts On Sea uses collected pebbles to make some delightful story stones.  Again, extended fun with the collecting then making, then using the story stones for some extra screen-free fun.

Go on a street art hunt

For those who prefer to spectate rather than create art, exploring your local town or city for artistic graffiti is a great urban activity.  Granted, we did download an app to help us locate some of the Banksy street art in London, but it was just an occasional reference, most of the time was spent navigating the underground, finding our way through back-streets using a good old-fashioned A-Z and poking around looking for the famous images.  Back home, we recreated some street art on our garage wall using a stencil and some spray paint.

Explore a Treasure Trail

Image credit Treasure Trails

If you're not feeling particularly creative, you can buy an off-the-peg trail from Treasure Trails. Priced at £6.99 these are ideal for exploring your own locality, or for learning a different side to a place on holiday. With over 1,000 self-guided trails across the country, you're bound to find one for you.  With various themes, you can either immerse yourself in the world of espionage,  solve a murder mystery or search for hidden treasure.  The trails can either be ordered as a printed booklet or downloaded and printed at home. Once you've solved the trail, submit your answer online for your chance to win £100 and print your completion certificate.

Follow in the BFG's Footsteps

A Residence

Roald Dahl is more popular than ever with the release of the BFG film in cinemas this summer, and he is also the theme of this year's library reading challenge so anything Dahl related is hot news. A Residence has complied the ultimate map of over 100 Roald Dahl inspired places to visit. Look for pheasants in the forest that inspired Danny Champion Of The World or visit Bamburgh Castle which was used as the backdrop to the BFG.

Take a Gelato Jaunt

Image Credit: Babes About Town
If food is your motivator - and let's face it who hasn't used the bribery of ice cream as an excuse to get outdoors, then you have to check out Babes About Town's awesome Ice-Cream Crawl.  Taking in some of London's finest gelato joints, the kids won't even realise you've dragged them away from their iPads!  

Food For Free

If it's free food you're after, then how about a day foraging?  Whether you're urban or rural there's plenty to be found over the summer holidays.  We did a spot of urban forging this week and found a redcurrant bush growing in a hedge, and raspberries which made a lovely pot of jam.  Blackberries will be ripe soon (check out my post of 10 things to make with blackberries), wild cherries, hedge plums and you may even find some elderflowers still around.  You could have a go at making your own squash with my hedgerow cordial recipe. I defy anyone not to be able to find some dandelions, so why not try dandelion cookies. A good few hours out and about foraging for goodies, a few more hours making delicious treats, and end the day with feasting on the fruits of your labour!

Wild Cooking

Image Credit Foodie Quine

Take your foraging trip to a whole new level and try some wild cooking. Everything tastes better when it's been cooked over an open fire and the kids will love collecting the wood and helping with the cooking.  Foodie Quine shows you the best way to cook popcorn, and makes some awesome chocolate orange brownies in the hot coals.  For more fabulous campfire recipes, also check out Beach Hut Cook.

What's your favourite way to get out and explore?


  1. What an utterly gorgeous post. The driftwood games are beautiful, and I'm off to check out the ice cream crawl right now...

  2. Some excellent ideas here for things to do, I especially like the street art hunt. Great post.

    1. Thanks Nadine, we LOVED the street art hunt, must do it again soon.

  3. Can't recommend @TreasureTrails enough. Did the Tenby one with my 8 year old daughter and we had a brilliant time. Walked miles, found stuff we would never have found and found the murderer!!

    1. Thanks so much for recommending them Lisa. They've sent me one for a nearby town to review, so we'll be doing that very soon! Hope you're enjoying your hols. x

  4. You have some fantastic ideas here. For us it is all about balance. The boys love playing outside, but they are also currently loving Pokemon Go!

  5. beautiful post with such lovely things to do. I'm intrigued with the flower paints, we'll have to try that. We like Pokemon Go but it really drains my phone battery so I only let my daughter play it when we are on our way home from wherever we've been. Last year we spent a lot of the summer holidays hunting for the lovely owls that had been painted a planted in different areas around our hometown. This year they have been replaced by book benches, but with my mobility being so bad we might not get to see many.

  6. What lovely ideas, I am trying to find a balance between day trips and chilling at home at the moment. I love the idea of Roald Dhal inspired placed to visit too.

  7. I love the idea of doing flower art! It's hard to find a balance isn't it, and I'm not the best at being outdoorsy but I love a little nature trail as long as a picnic is involved somewhere along the way! x