As you may have noticed, we’re all about adventures and discovery here at ASPACE. Apart from educating your kids about the world around them and helping them be more active, it’s just ruddy good fun! But, contrary to what you may think, you don’t have to go on an afternoon ramble in the countryside or away for the weekend to expose your kids to everything nature has to offer. Making their own adventures is easy, fun and great for busy parents – and you don’t even have to leave your own fun.
Now that the sun is showing a little more promise, it’s the perfect time to get your kids playing outside, and what better place to keep a watchful eye and let them lark about to their hearts content than their very own garden. It doesn’t need to be big or perfectly preened by any measure, nor must it contain 12 species of beautifully rare plants from the highest mountains of Nepal for it to be an educational experience (regardless of what you may have overheard at the school gates this morning). It just needs to be a space, any space, that your kids can take ownership of for the few small hours they will be distracted by the novelties of a new experience, after which we suspect they will probably start talking about that cool plant their friend at school has...
Once you’ve dragged them away from their computer screens/tablets/televisions/phones/gaming consoles and exposed them to fresh air and greenery, we’re sure they’ll decide they much prefer the pure, natural environment of the great outdoors over getting the highest score on the hardest level of the newest video game. They’ll dance and sing and frolic in the sun and it will be a pleasure watching them politely play with each other and learn all sorts about plants and bugs and life cycles. Or at least that’s what how you imagine the whole event will play out. We imagined this too; a beautifully dazzling television-worthy image of stunningly happy children delicately interspersed with streams of bright midday sun creating the perfect childhood memory and going on to be successful and exceedingly well adjusted teens and young adults, thanks to this one enlightening, life changing moment, of course. In reality, the brief discussion of the great outdoors was met with an unenthusiastic child displaying a look of utter confusion and slight disgust the second the suggestion they step outside for just a minute of fresh air was voiced. It was as if they had no clue exactly what ‘outside’ was, let alone fresh air. And the dream was shattered.
All joking aside, it’s important to get your kids away from the games and into the garden, but you already know this. The difficulty sometimes is actually convincing them to spend some time away from their much loved tech toys, but we may have some ideas that could help. Although younger kids in particular are pretty happy to entertain themselves, especially outside and in new environments, the older gaming generation may be a little harder to convince. To combat this, set up some outdoor games or play areas to create a more engaging environment or provide a series of props they can use in an outdoor setting such as bug catchers, kites and orienteering sets.
Traditional games are the best kind for garden activities – think mini golf, croquet, a game of rounders and the like. They’re active, fun and will surely get your kids out in the garden. If all else fails, a mini garden picnic is the perfect excuse to get you all outside for the afternoon. Grab some blankets and maybe a pack of cards and take the indoor activities out!