#GetOutside with your family for FREE (just the car parking fee) with these great ideas from OS champion, Stef Jackson-Horner!
We all know how important being active and outdoors is, it’s in the media often enough! Equally we all know how hard it can be to think of new and exciting ideas to get the kids active without breaking the bank! Weekends and school holidays can begin to seem harder than work with young ones in toe and as a parent it is a constant juggle of all the throws of life and being a first class entertainment unit.
It is so important to instil from a very young age all the positive habits of being outdoors, being active and having more to life than just work, home, bed, repeat. As the saying goes ‘Old habits die hard’, make your and your children’s old habits positive ones.
To start you on your way I have complied 8 ways to #GetOutside for free or just the car parking fee. Make a flying start and take on one this weekend:
1. #Selfie Treasure Hunt
All kids love phones, right!? And who had even heard of a ‘selfie’ 10 years ago. This is a great activity I actually even love to do myself, take as many photos as you want of your house, garden, local park, village, where ever you fancy going. Make sure however your photos are close-up and cryptic. The challenge is for those taking part to hunt around for where the photo was taken and then take a selfie in front of that place. I usually give extra points for creative photos; think handstands, human pyramids. This works brilliantly as a fun free and unusual birthday party for all ages and can be as long or short as you want. You could go the whole hog and even have score boards and prizes! Give yourself half an hour to take some pics and you’re ready to rock.
Don’t fancy printing all the pictures off?! Then don’t! Base yourself in a central position and when one selfie is brought back Whats-app the player the next clue, this way as well you see the players after every clue to check they are still ok – perfect for litt’luns.
2. Pooh Sticks
Poohsticks ˈpuːstɪks/ noun
A game in which each player throws a stick over the upstream side of a bridge into a stream or river, the winner being the person whose stick emerges first from under the bridge.
Legendary game, enough said!
3. Go on a walk (cycle/scoot for the kids)
Admittedly this doesn’t always sound that fun and I appreciate some may not even flirt with the idea because of all the paraphernalia associated; where do we go, how do I even plan a route, what do I wear/take/eat..ARGHHHH! Let’s not go!
It doesn’t have to be all that hassle, I am someone who much prefers to go on a walk with a purpose, usually round something or up something. This in no way has to be some military fashion route march; it can actually be very lovely and sociable. Start with your local reservoir; more often than not they have a very good website detailing everything to put your mind at ease and even have different coloured routes of varying length and difficulty. Choose one you fancy and off you go. They are often gravel paths, so perfect for the kids to take bikes and scooters and how about rewarding yourself with a coffee and cake in the café after you are done. What could be more perfect, fresh air, worn out kids, and CAKE!
4. Printable scavenger hunts
These are an absolute must-remember-life-saver. Going on a long car journey, visiting the beach, a city or simply need to fill a few hours in the garden the options of these are endless. Just google and print! If you really have some time on your hands (firstly please let me know how) you could always make your own but there really are so many out there already done for you. Why not find one suitable for your local park and have an afternoon of exploring.
5. Frisbee/Football/Rugby Golf
This is my favourite on the list; if you or your kids are footy mad then this is the one you have been waiting for!
It is so simple:
Choose a starting point ideally in the corner or edge of a big field,
Throw something - a ball, hoop, dog toy, stick…
Where ever it lands that is the ‘hole’, players have the get their frisbee or football to it in as least kicks/throws as possible.
Once all players are at the ‘hole’ throw again.
Could anything be simpler! If your kids are old enough teach them this, get them to teach their mates and that is summer afternoons and evenings sorted for a long time. Just remember to keep score!
6. Blackberry Picking
No only a free activity but FREE FOOD, awesome!
Autumn is this best time for this, anywhere you find brambles/thorn bushes during late September through to November you will find blackberries. Nearby are usually loads of nettles so looks out for these as a good place to get started. I would avoid any next to roads or where animals gather and the best are always found in the most hard to get to places, of course! Set off with the beach buckets and spend an autumnal afternoon collecting. Blackberries are packed full of Vitamin C and are at their juiciest at the end of a sunny day when the sun has given the juice a boost.
Tip: Pick the young supple leaves of a blackberry bush in early summer to make blackberry leaf tea. Simply wash a handful and place in a tea pot with boiling water. Leave for a few minutes and serve with sugar to taste. This not only tastes delish but also sooths a sore throat, keep a handful in the freezer for that quick go to remedy.
7. Wet wellie wander
This is a fantastic way to get the kids out of the house on a blustery day. Get togged up but most importantly wear wellies (remember the name)!
Set off with the aim to see who can find the deepest puddle but be careful the only rule is you are not allowed to get wet feet. For this one let the kids choose the route, where do they think is a good place to go? Where have they seen puddles in the past? Put them in charge, they will not only love the responsibility but surprise you. Who can find a puddle that comes just up to the brim of their wellies without spilling over and in. Will you be the one to get soggy socks?
8. River Dipping
Anything water based is a win with me and this is brilliant to try at all different times of the year, there is so much variety in water courses across the UK. Try this when you are at the beach, at a canal and in a small stream. If you have a little fishing net then fantastic, if not grab a bucket or failing that get ready to get your hands wet. See what wildlife you can find, extra points awarded if you can actually catch it!! Just remember to keep all wildlife submerged in water and place it gently back where you found it.
#GetOutside Champion – Stef Jackson-Horner
Stef's top tip:
Check out idea number 4; scavenger hunt sheets are available online to give you ideas of things to hunt for depending on where you are wanting to look. If you are heading to a reservoir or canal look out for the information boards, councils often display brilliant infographic boards of what can be found in the water and banks surrounding. These are obviously specific to where you are so get your eyes peeled and get hunting. How many can you spot?!
Twitter is the best place for minute by minute action from me and all my GB Aquathlon training news not to mention plenty more active ideas! Be sure to pay @sjacksonhorner a visit to get the next part of the story….It’s going to be good :)