More and more, childhood experts are extolling the virtues of outdoor play. Motor, sensory, social and cognitive development – all the big words are involved when your kids ditch the screen and head outside. Besides, it’s just a whole lot of fun! And the cool thing is, getting kids outside doesn’t even mean you even have to leave home, there are so many fun things to do right in your backyard.
Outdoor play is great for Mum and Dad too. A change of pace, some sunshine on your face and fresh air can do us the world of good. Some days at home with kids the walls can seem to be closing in on you, the kids are antsy and you feel like you are going a little crazy. But on those days finding a spare braincell in that overwhelmed head of yours to come up with an idea can be a little challenging, so here are our top SIMPLE ideas for getting kids outdoors:
You don’t need a big backyard to give your kids the opportunity to get some good dirt on their hands. All you need are some pots, a sunny spot and a couple of easy-to-grow herbs and vegetables. Try basil, oregano and cherry tomatoes for some delicious options. The best part of it is sending the kids out on pizza night to gather their very own home-grown produce!
The oldies really are goodies. Dig out some old saucepans, a muffin tray and some mixing utensils (if you don’t have any old ones, try an op-shop) and let them have at it! Some recipes for them to try:
If it’s a hot day, you can bake the muffins in a sunny spot for a couple of hours. Otherwise, if you’re game, you can wack them in the oven for a bit, and let the fun continue with a mud muffin teddy bears picnic.
Ah, the mysterious power of a bucket of water and a few plastic scoops. It is not to be underestimated. Add a few drops of food colouring for a bit of extra fun. If you’re really organised, you can help the kids make some ice cube boats the night before. Simply thread triangles of paper onto toothpicks for sails, stick the picks in the trays, and freeze. They’ll be entertained for ages.
When you’re all out of inspiration, and the kids are bouncing off the walls, there’s always the trusty local park to turn to. To mix it up a bit, head a suburb or two over to explore a different park. After all, a change is as good as a holiday (almost!).
This is the stuff childhood memories are made of: escaping the drone of electronic life to chase waterfalls, spot wildlife, and find out for themselves how rich silence can be. The Australian Government’s National Parks page has links for each state to help you find a great bush walk near you.
Well, we've all heard that plastics are bad and we shouldn't be eating from it, let alone our kids. But what about Melamine? What about Bamboo? I think we stick to the plastic options most of the time because the information about other options is just too overwhelming and confusing.
So we stick with plastic, because it is cheap and doesn't break, but all the time feel vaguely uneasy that we may be doing something that might one day harm our kid's health.