Fun outdoor activities to get kids away from the screen (for the day at least!)
- Mums Tips
- Parenting Skills
- Published on Tuesday, 14 November 2017 10:14
- Last Updated on 14 November 2017
- Monica Costa
- 0 Comments
I hope this blog on suggestions for fun outdoor activities will help you get kids away from the screen (for the day at least!).
Many parents will see their children’s ‘social lives’ as a constant rotation of the latest tech trends; if it’s not the newest computer game it’s the latest hype in social apps. Changing your child’s reluctance to cut down on screen time is no easy feat, especially if they are beginning to reach the years of early adolescence and are rapidly becoming more concerned with keeping up with their friends and the latest ‘thing’.
We can’t blame them, really, new advances in technology are super exciting and far beyond anything we could have imagined as children. But from time-to-time we should perhaps remind them of the great adventure of the outdoors – our old playground, and one which may not exist so beautifully for much longer. What happened to games of Forty Forty In at the park? Treasure hunts in the forest and boats on the lake? Here are 8 outdoor activities fun enough to get them away from the screen for a while!
Cycle around Epping Forest
Although there’s plenty of places to cycle in London with bikes to hire across the city – it can always be rather a stressful activity to do with children. Paths are too busy with pedestrians and bicycle lanes may not be the safest for youngsters in a city which isn’t exactly famous for its commitment to the highway code. Sure, London is full of paved parks and sparse green areas, but cycling around parks such as Hyde and Regent’s aren’t going to keep your kids occupied for more than an hour, neither are those more local to you. To find a traffic-free, day-occupying location for your biking adventure it may be best to look slightly out of the centre.
Epping Forest is London’s direct green link to rural Essex, stretching from the south of Wanstead to the north of Epping. It’s accessible by tube, with bikes available to hire and easily navigable routes for whatever your preferred cycling distance. The forest is around 6,000 acres with an array of ponds, over 100 lakes and the opportunity to get up close and personal with nature often not spotted in the city. Taking a trip to Epping Forest will seem a proper day out for your kids with events on throughout the year and plenty of districts to explore.
Hire a boat on the Norfolk Broads
Sometimes it’s good to get out of London – its prices, its often overwhelming aura, the way even the parks – a place to get away from all the city’s hustle and bustle – are always busy. Situated just slightly North East of London is East Anglia, home to Norfolk, a county famous for heritage-studded waterways longer than those of Venice and Amsterdam! Just over two hours from central London by train, these waterways – the Norfolk Broads – make an ideal countryside escape, with day boat hires available and the opportunity for the whole family to play captain and take turns driving their own engine-powered boat!
Explore at your own pace and moor at a range of sights and activities such as kids adventure park BeWILDerwood, for some enchanting outdoor fun (mooring up in Horning village). Or why not moor up at Norwich Yacht Station to explore the quaint city of Norwich, stopping for a bite to eat at the city’s unique range of independent cafes or a historical tour around Norwich Castle. The possibilities are endless with the broads which allow you to moor up at which ever destination you fancy, or simply enjoy the boating adventure!
Take part in the Bridge Challenge, London
Make anything into a challenge and I guarantee it will make your kids much more excited about whatever the activity! So, why not set the family the challenge of crossing all the iconic bridges of central London! They can use their smartphones to take selfies at each bridge for proof (the only screen time permitted all day, of course!), and you can set targets depending on how far you’d like to walk – Tower Bridge, London Bridge and the Millennium Bridge, or all the way down the Thames!
Wanting the kids to partake in an educational day out for once? Why not use the opportunity of reaching each bridge to partake in an insightful London Bridges quiz? Questions are likely to be too hard for even older children, but revealed answers might mean the whole family learn something – most of the city’s bridges have extremely interesting historical backgrounds!
There are heaps of opportunities for reducing screen time both in and around London, and slightly further afield. It’s unlikely that with all today’s technological advances we’ll be able to completely rid of hours spent on computer games and apps – especially as kids get older and begin to play round friend’s houses. But making sure your children enjoy regular days out without being cooped up in front of a screen is important for both their personal development and their mental health. It’s also an opportunity for you to spend time with them, away from all the pressures of the online world and without the vast array of technological distractions.
Monica Costa founded London Mums in September 2006 after her son Diego’s birth together with a group of mothers who felt the need of meeting up regularly to share the challenges and joys of motherhood in metropolitan and multicultural London. London Mums is the FREE and independent peer support group for mums and mumpreneurs based in London https://londonmumsmagazine.com and you can connect on Twitter @londonmums