Top tips for getting the kids outside, whatever the weather.

Getting children outdoors and away from the TV and their ipads can be especially tricky when it’s cold or raining, but when faced with a day stuck indoors I know what I’d rather do. I’ve picked up some tips and ideas for getting the kids outside willingly and happily over the last few years, so I thought now would be a good idea to share them, especially as the weather has definitely taken a turn for the worse since the schools have broken up.

1: Lead from the front. If they see that you are happy and excited to go outside then they will be too. The fact that you’re letting them get muddy and wet equals happy kids.

2: Make it an adventure! Encourage them to use their imagination and conjure up ideas of sailing ships and high seas, or travels through the rainforest. Use props like the humble stick- there are so many things it could be!

3: Get them suitably dressed in wellies and waterproofs and head outside. Everyone loves a good jump in a puddle.

4: If it’s a warm but wet day then forget the wellies. Put on some shorts and sandals, grab your water pistols and have a wet outdoor water fight- it ends the same way.

5: Think of creative ways to catch the rain and turn it in to a game. Try turning an umbrella upside down to catch some rain and make cork boats to float in it. Upcycle some plastic bottles with holes cut in them to create a waterfall.

6: Give geocaching a try. If there’s a chance of finding some treasure then they’re sure to be interested in giving it a go.

7: Read stories of outdoor adventures with them, especially ones which take place in different weathers and conditions. Our favourite is ‘We’re going on a bear hunt’ by Michael Rosen, about an adventure through storms and mud as well as meadows and sunshine.

8: Keep spare clothes (and treats) in the car. You never know when they will come in useful and making the kids comfortable after a rainy adventure is paramount to them wanting to do the same again.

9: Incentivise. The promise of a hot chocolate on their return, or a favourite activity is sure to make them see getting outdoors is a great idea. Even more so when they end up having so much fun.

10: Make it an adventure that just keeps on giving. You may have seen posts on our social media pages, about our recent trip to the beach, in the rain, to collect pebbles that we painted at home afterwards. The excitement of also finding another’s painted pebbles on the same trip was extremely exciting for the children. It’s also encouraged us to leave some of our painted pebbles on the beach for others to find. If this makes one person smile, then we’ve done our job!

I would love to hear any ideas you have for making the most of the outdoors when it’s not sunny and warm. Please let me know your thoughts on our social media pages: @LoveOutdoorsSolent (Facebook and Instagram) or @OutdoorsSolent (Twitter) and use the #SolentShOUTs

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With thanks to the following people on twitter for their tips: @Getoutkids @splodz @LittleOxplorers @kateejamieson @beammeupfirefly @A_Calvo