Top tech to tempt them outdoors this half term
No, it’s not just apples: outdoor play is also said to keep the doctor away! The NHS says that children under five should be physically active for at least three hours every day. And the more time spent in the great outdoors, the better. This half term, it’s time to wrap up, get the wellies on and head outside.
Nature has endless benefits for both our physical and mental health, helping us to stay fit and feel happy. For children in particular, being outdoors plays a key role in their physical, social and cognitive development. For example:
- Exploring the outdoor environment – whether that’s by running around or climbing trees – helps to build muscle strength and develop better coordination.
- Interacting with outdoor objects boosts self-confidence, because kids have the space to run around, jump off things, take risks and overcome them.
- Playing outdoors tops up essential vitamin D levels in your child’s body: essential for healthy bones, teeth and muscles. And the great thing is, it doesn’t even need to be a sunny day for them to get their dose!
- Some studies have proven that there’s a link between the outdoors and our eyesight, with ‘outdoorsy’ kids potentially having less chance of developing nearsightedness in later years.
But it seems these days, kids simply aren’t getting outside enough. ITV News cited National Trust research which found that children today are spending half the time outdoors compared to their parents when they were little. It’s time to change this!
Take the tech outside
Technology is often blamed for keeping children indoors, but who’s to say that gadgets and gizmos can’t be used to enhance kids’ time outside? There are plenty of outdoor activities that involve tech; try one of these this half term...
Whether you sail a boat, steer a car or launch a helicopter, remote control devices are guaranteed to provide endless hours of family fun. Or, you could surprise your little one with a starter drone, which they can fly while capturing a video of your day out together.
Geocaching has been hailed the ‘world’s largest treasure hunt’ and is a great opportunity to fine-tune your family’s navigation skills! Use GPS or a mobile device to locate hidden containers (known as caches), many of which will have items inside for you to trade. Sign and date the logbook once you’ve found them, before re-hiding for the next person. You can also share your story with the geocache community.
Similarly, Pokémon GO is also a guaranteed winner with kids and adults alike. Now in its second year, there’s been recent updates on iOS and Android, and new changes to its Mewtwo Ex Raid policy – just to keep everyone (quite literally!) on their toes.
It’s still a winter wonderland out there, so equip your little one with their very own kid-friendly digital camera and get snap happy over the half term break! Head to a local park, forest or nature reserve and encourage them to hit the ‘capture’ button whenever they see something interesting – whether it’s a leafy tree, a colourful plant or a group of sleeping ducks. Once the budding photographer has a portfolio of images, spend the next rainy day printing off their favourite ones to make a scrapbook.
When day turns to night, wrap up warm and head outside to marvel at the starry sky. There are lots of apps available that can be downloaded onto a phone or tablet and used to help you identify stars, planets and constellations in the night sky. Just remember to bring a flask of hot chocolate and some biscuits along with you!
As you’ll be relying on your mobile phone for many of these activities, a compact, portable GP PowerBank will keep your device going all day long. Or, if your gadgets are battery-powered, bring along rechargeables, which can be boosted hundreds of times and are kinder to the environment than their single-use counterparts. That way, you can quit worrying about your tech, and concentrate on enjoying some quality, outdoor time with your family this half term. Have fun!