Image courtesy of Dave
Image courtesy of Dave

Going out with your children can often seem expensive. You may be buying food and drink, entry to places or go past shops that they want to buy things from. However, there are ways of having fun outside without it having to cost too much money.

You may have local parks where you can have a picnic. Let the children help you to prepare the picnic before you go and make it clear that you will not be buying anything extra, so they will have to pack everything that they want from home. You can spend hours at some parks or even a whole day if there are lots of activities. Take bats, balls and any other outdoor toys that you have so that you can all find plenty to do. You can even arrange to meet friends there so that they have other children to play with as well.

Gardens can be a great way to explore nature without going too far away. You can set up ‘treasure’ hunts by giving children a list of plants, insects and other things to find in the garden, they could photograph or draw them if they want to. You could take the list outside of the garden too, out on a riverside, canal side or country walk. If you have no countryside nearby then you could do a slightly different version for a town walk, looking in gardens, grass verges, streets, buildings etc. Then you can even challenge the children to write on for you or each other and you see if you can find all of the things on their treasure hunt list.

Buying a magnifying glass can be a great investment and they can be very cheap. They can use it to explore anything that they find outside and it can provide lots of fun. A strong magnifier can make things look very different to how you might expect.

Older children can be more difficult, but explaining the benefits of exercise may help to get some going out for a walk. You may also be able to encourage them to meet their friends, perhaps go to the park with a football or Frisbee and have some fun with a group. You can always take them and then supervise form a distance so that you can make sure that they are safe, if you feel they are a bit young to be on their own.

It can often seem difficult to get children outside as they claim walking or just being outside is boring. However, most will enjoy it once they get out there. It can be easier to not allow them to use any electronics until they have been out with you and then they will argue less about it, than if you try to prize them off something once they have already started using it. Pokemon Go, Geocaching or town trails can be a good way to combine electronics and being outdoors and does not cost very much money as long as you already have a phone with Internet connected.