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Well, our half term school holidays in Nottinghamshire are here but lets face it this half term holiday signals the start of stressing over how to entertain the kids in the cold and wet weather.
I am sure I am not alone with stress levels heightening and I am sure I am not alone in knowing that tablets, games consoles and TV time tends to be higher on the list of keeping the kids occupied and quiet.
A recent study conducted by Persil amongst parents in the UK and Ireland highlighted that time spent in front of a screen dwarfs time spent outside as much as twice as much time in front of screens than playing outside equating to 456 days of alone screen time by age of 7 versus 182 days of outdoor free play!
Sir Ken Robinson a leading expert in human development and Chair of the Dirt is Good Child Development Advisory Board, recently commented:
“If you’re an adult now, how much time did you spend as a child playing outdoors, making up games on your own or with friends, dashing around, taking tumbles, all for the sheer fun of it? Until recently, children spent many hours every week on this sort of physical, imaginative, social play. “Real play” like this is not only enjoyable: it is vitally important in young lives. Research has long shown that it has essential roles in the balanced development of all children and young people”
Here are here are some ideas based on Sir Ken’s recommendations on how to balance your kids screen time and outdoor play this half term week and through the winter months.
- Find an engaging way to limit screen time.
Why not create a brightly coloured rewards chart to allocate time slots on how much time is allowed behind a screen and to help plan outdoor activity for your kids on a daily basis. Why not book in a 30 minute of screen time and then plan a walk out in the rain puddle jumping for after that?
- Encourage fun and creative activities with your kids.
Don’t be afraid to get messy – indoors or out. Find an activity your child really loves and enjoy the fun together! It could be as simple as making music out of garden twigs. I am not generally full of great craft or creative ideas so I have been taking solace on the fact that Pintrest has some great ideas for things to do in the garden to get the boys outside.
- Embrace the British weather, even in the winter.
I am the first to admit the sight of rain and I am heading for my recliner chair and the movie section on my TV, However this last year we have made a coserted effort no matter what the weather is to get outside.
The family mantra has been that there is no such thing as bead weather, just bad clothing so we have been testing out walking boots, winter coats and have been loving discovering life in the rain. After all there is nothing nicer than a wet and windy morning outside followed by some drinks and snacks in the warm once your back in. It’s all a case of balancing time.
- Try incorporating ‘real play’ into your child’s daily routine.
Real play is unsupervised and self-initiated and are great for kids social, emotional, cognitive and physical development. Role play, chasing and running games are great ways to get this one ticked off your list and can easily be done on a local park with no money spent just time in the fresh air.
- You don’t have to spend loads of cash.
Real play doesn’t have to be expensive. Sometimes it’s nice to just be with your kids so, join in with any outdoor activities, go for a stroll together. The main resources are time, energy, companionship and laughter. We adore using the country parks and spaces we have on our doorstep. Most are free to visit (although some have car parking charges) but with ducks, play parks and historical building on our doorstep we love nothing more than an outside adventure.