Ideas for fun outdoor family activities to try this summer

5 ideas for fun outdoor family activities to try this summer

Do you have a favourite outdoor space that you like to spend time as a family?

We’re really lucky where we live that we have the beach, the woods and quite a few parks close to home so we can choose where we want to go depending on how we feel that day.

If my children could design their ideal place to play outdoors though I think it would end up being a bit of a mix of all these places.

Regatta recently asked some children to design their ultimate green space and they came up with some amazing ideas, including a park with multiple trampolines that I think my children would really love!

No matter where you’re headed this summer though, here are 5 ideas for fun outdoor family activities to try to keep everyone active and enjoying the great outdoors.

1. Play some classic childhood games

Gather the family together or meet up at the park with some friends and play some games of hide and seek.

It’s a classic childhood game for a reason – pretty much everyone enjoys playing it!

If you need a bit of a twist on the idea though, try a game of 40/40 instead.

These are the basic rules, in case it’s been a while since you last played:

  • Decide on a ‘home’ base (like a certain bench or tree)
  • One person stays at ‘home’ and counts to 40
  • Everyone else hides
  • The seeker goes to find the other players
  • When they spot someone they have to run back to ‘home’ and shout “40/40 I see <name> hiding <their hiding place>”
  • The person they found is then out
  • To avoid being ‘out’ the hiders have to try and sneak back to ‘home’ from their hiding places without being spotted, and shout “40/40 home” when they get there.
  • The game’s over when all the hiders have either made it home or been caught out

 

2. Have fun with photography

Giving a child a camera is a great way to add some extra fun to a walk. It’ll also encourage them to pay more attention to the natural world around them, as they look for things to photograph.

You can create a photo scavenger hunt for them to complete, where they have to find and photograph a specific list of items.

The list could include things like a red flower, an interesting shaped stone, or a creature that flies.

Another great idea for children of all ages is to go on a photo walk where they can simply photograph anything that catches their attention.

3. Create an obstacle course

Obstacle courses are great fun to create and even more fun to try and complete.

There are a few different ways you can do it, depending on where you are.

If you’re at the playpark then you can simply use the different bits of play equipment.  You could agree to start at the gate, run to the slide, go up and down it, then hop on one leg over to the swings, climb over or under the swings, then skip to the next thing and so on.

Then time each other to see who can do it the fastest.

 

If you’re somewhere with a decent amount of pavement you can draw out an obstacle course on the ground with chalk.

You could include:

  • Curved and zig-zagged lines to balance, skip, or run along
  • A hopscotch game
  • Circles to jump or hop between
  • Squares to stop at and try to balance on one leg for 10 seconds

 

4. Meet up with friends for a picnic in the park

Now that we’re allowed to meet up with more people outside again, make the most of it with a picnic with friends.

You could do this at the park or any other outdoor space you have near where you live.

Take a few blankets, some tasty picnic food and plenty of drinks and enjoy.

You could take some garden games along with you too, to keep the children busy if they won’t sit in one place for all that long.  Games like quoits are great fun and fairly portable to take out and about with you.

 

5. Have fun with water

When things really start to heat up this summer, head outdoors and let the children have fun with water.

Here are some ideas of different things you could do:

  • Have an epic water fight.
  • Play catch with water balloons – take a step back each time you catch it until it finally bursts.
  • Get the paddling pool out in the garden.
  • Make a game of washing the car.
  • Head to the beach, river, or stream for a paddle or a swim.
  • Try a new water sport like stand up paddle boarding.

 

Do you tend to spend a lot of time outdoors with your family in the summer months?

Which of these ideas for fun outdoor family activities do you think you’ll try first?

 

Disclosure: this is a collaborative post

Try this to stop living for the weekend

Try this trick to stop always living for the weekend

How often do you find yourself living for the weekend?

Waking up on a Monday morning with that sinking feeling, and then counting down the days until Friday?

Even as a parent when you don’t really ‘get’ a weekend the same way you did before your children came along it’s still all too easy to see Monday to Friday, full of work and school runs and after school clubs, as something to just get through until you reach the weekend and can have some fun.

But no one really wants to live life this way do they?

If you want to make a change and stop living for the weekend, then try this little trick.

Try this trick to stop living for the weekend

 

Make a plan to do something every Wednesday that you’ll really look forward to.

You could plan something for the whole family, or something that’s just for you.

And it doesn’t have to be the same thing each week.  Just make a point on a Sunday to plan something to look forward to on Wednesday.

If you’re not sure what sort of thing to plan, then try thinking about what it is about the weekend that you look forward to so much.

Is it the fact that you have a night off from menu planning and cooking with a takeaway on a Saturday night?  Then switch things up and make Wednesday takeaway night instead.

Or if it’s the fact that you can lie in and catch up on some sleep, then make a plan to have a bath and an early night mid-week.

 

Here are some more ideas to stop living for the weekend and to bring a bit of joy to the middle of your week:

  • have a picnic dinner in the park
  • go out – it might be a school night but you can still head out for a few hours to the cinema or a quiet drink
  • go for a family walk to watch the sunset
  • call a friend or family member for a good catch up chat
  • take the day off from household jobs – let things slide for a day and just relax a bit more instead
  • go out for lunch with a friend or with your partner
  • go bowling after school
  • have a bbq in the garden and make s’mores for pudding
  • have a movie night at home
  • do some exercise you really enjoy – find a yoga or dance class to go to
  • cook a new recipe for dinner
  • let the children cook something for dinner
  • try an escape room – you can go out to one, or get a kit to do one at home
  • go for a swim
  • book the day off to just do whatever you want, or use some flexi to finish early instead of rushing off for the school run

 

The whole idea here is to think about things that you enjoy, things that feel like a bit of a treat to you and that you wouldn’t normally do midweek.

Then make a plan to start doing them.  On a Wednesday.

Make the whole week that bit more fun and bring that weekend joy into the middle of the week.

So you’re not just waiting out the week and living for the weekend.

 

What’s the first thing you’re going to plan to do on a Wednesday, either with your family or just for yourself?

Photos to take with your children this weekend

5 photos to take with your children this weekend

If you’ve ever spent any time browsing around my blog you’ll know that one thing I keep banging on about is how important it is for us parents to get in more photos.

The reason I keep mentioning it over and over again, is because I know how easy it is for months to go by without us getting in front of the camera.  We’re so busy snapping photos of our children, that we forget to actually get in some pictures with them.

I also know how hard it can be to get in front of the camera.

One of the big obstacles a lot of us face is not knowing what sort of photos to take.  But don’t worry, I have 5 ideas for photos you can take with your children this weekend, that don’t require much effort at all but will capture some lovely family memories.

 

1. Part of your routine 

It might not feel like it when you’re bang in the middle of coping with night feeds or wrangling toddlers, but all these parenting phases that feel endless when you’re in them will pass, and one day you’ll miss some of the things are so routine to you right now.

So take a few minutes to think about the little things you do every day at the moment with your children, that one day will just be a memory, and make a point of photographing one of them this weekend.

Here are some ideas for moments you might want to capture:

  • Feeding your baby.  Whether you’re bottle feeding or breastfeeding this is such a huge part of family life, for a relatively short amount of time, and it’s a really lovely thing to photograph.
  • Feeding a little one in a highchair.  If your baby is a bit older then snap a photo of you helping them eat a meal or a snack in their highchair.
  • Splashing together at bathtime.
  • Getting your baby dressed, or helping older children with buttons or doing up shoes.

 

2. You and your children reading together

This is a really lovely moment to photograph, and generally quite easy because your children should be relatively still!

Set a timer or get another family member to take a photo of you and your children on the sofa or in bed reading a favourite book together.

Or cwtched up watching a film if that’s more your thing.

You can take the photo from all sorts of different angles to get a real variety of images if you want.  I love pictures like this one though, where the focus is actually more on the book that we’re reading at the time.

 

3. Playing together

However you’re playing with your children this weekend, take a moment to get in a photo with them as you’re doing it.

It could be sitting on the living room floor playing a board game or a few games of Uno.

Or maybe it’s out at the park, pushing them on the swings or coaching them down the fireman’s pole.

It might even be out at the beach, building sandcastles, skimming stones and jumping waves.

 

4. A photo from behind. 

Some of my favourite photos of my husband and our children are taken from behind.

So this weekend either set a timer or ask someone to take a picture of you with your family from the back.

Or if you want to get more creative, then try taking a photo of your shadows or of you all in silhouette.

 

5. A silly selfie.

If all else fails and you just don’t have it in you to take any ‘proper’ photos with your children, then grab your phone and just snap a fun, silly selfie with them.

 

Hopefully these five ideas have inspired you to pick up your camera (or phone) this weekend and jump in a few more photos with your family.

You might still have 100 more excuses for not getting in more photos, but at least now you can’t tell me you just don’t know what photos to take!

How decluttering can help wellbeing of your child

How decluttering can help the wellbeing of your child

Many parents don’t realise how much their home environment can impact their child and affect their overall wellbeing. Having a decluttered home can provide a tranquil space for young ones to roam free and grow, which is why it’s important to declutter your rooms as often as possible.

Statistics show that “a clutter-free space contributes to your well-being because you will subconsciously feel like you are providing yourself with a higher level of self-care.” Making organisation and decluttering apart of your weekly clean, it will make it easier to deal with in the long run and stay on top of.

To help you take back control, below is a list of we buy any home’s top 3 ways to help get your home decluttered and organised so you can improve not only your own wellbeing but that of your child too!


1. Declutter your child’s toys

One of the biggest trouble areas that parents find overwhelming to deal with is their children’s toys. Even if your child has outgrown their beloved teddies and games from their younger years, it can be emotional enough to merely think about getting rid of them. However, it is important that you go through and part with toys that your child no longer plays with.



The best thing to do is to grab a box and start to organise the toys into 3 piles:

Toys of no emotional value:
Have a quick run around the house and pop toys in that you know your child hasn’t used in a while and that hold no emotional value. These items can instantly be boxed and donated to a local charity / nursery / school. This way you know that they are going to a good cause and will be loved by other children.

Toys that you are unsure of:
These are items that you’re not sure if your child would miss and you don’t feel comfortable getting rid of them until you have shown them. This part might take longer than the other areas as your child might start a short-livid emotional attachment, but this is a great time to encourage them to think and see if they can re-home their toys to others. For example, do they have young family members that they could re-gift their toys to instead? Maybe re-gift them to close friend’s children?

The items that your child does want to keep, encourage them to find a special place to put them away so that they get in the habit of organising their toys.

Special keepsake toys:
Remember the first teddy that you bought whilst you anticipated their arrival? Or the handmade blanket that their grandparent lovingly knitted? Or the first football that their grandpa got when they started running around? These are items that might be hard for you to part with, but you don’t have to! If they are special and in good enough condition, then get a keepsake box and store all these items ready for when your child is old enough to appreciate them again.

Creating an organised space for your child is a great way for them to appreciate what they have, keep their space tidy, and help others by donating their unused toys to a good home!


2. Create a Zen bedroom for you

When becoming a parent, you spend so much time putting your child first that you often forget how important it is to take care of yourself. Decluttering your bedroom will boost your mood as you get rid of all the unnecessary items, leaving room to organise everything that you want to keep, creating a zen space just for you!

 


If possible, make it a child-free zone so that you don’t have to worry about it becoming messy and keep a relaxing space for you to come back to.

Having an organised and calming area to sleep in at the end of a long and tiring day can make all the difference. You’ll feel more relaxed which will help you fall asleep quicker, assuring you get a much-needed rest ahead of the next day, running around after the kids!


3. Organise the kitchen

Ensuring that your child has a dedicated eating area, ideally in the kitchen, will hopefully help them differentiate between eating and play time. Children are known to get distracted easily, especially if they are eating in front of their toys or watching tv. The best thing to do is eat at the same time as your child, if possible, or at least eat something small so that they can replicate you eating.



Try to keep toys away from the kitchen area and the table clutter-free to ensure that there is a dedicate space for them to focus on eating. Mealtimes can be one of the hardest times for parents to deal with so this should help make it easier. It will create a routine for your child to sit in the kitchen and know that this is time to eat and not get distracted by toys etc.


We hope these tips can really help you declutter the key areas in your home and not only improve your wellbeing but that of your child. You might not be able to get it all done straightaway but decluttering will really have a positive effect on the wellbeing of you and your child.

 

Disclosure: this is a collaborative post

How to explore gratitude with your child

Exploring gratitude with your child

Gratitude is a key way for your child to learn about kindness, respect and support of others around them.

In this guide from an independent school in Oxfordshire, we take a look at the ways you can explore gratitude with your child and how it will help them grow.

 

Saying your pleases and thank yous

This is one of the first parts of gratitude that should be explored with your child. Saying please after each request and thanking them for any gifts, favours and requests done will give your child the first steps towards being grateful and respectful towards others.

Even these small remarks will teach children to be thankful for a lot of things in their life and building positive relationships with friends, teachers and family members.

 

Ask your child what they’re thankful for

You should ask your child once a day what they are grateful for. Whether it’s something they learnt about at school or something their friend did for them that day, it’s something your child should learn to be grateful for.

These small things will make your child feel a lot more positive about their outlook on life and how people should express gratitude wherever they can.

 

Express gratitude in front of your child

Your child will learn from you a lot of the time, so be sure to use your own learnt manners in front of your child as well. They will often see a lot of mannerisms you’ll use and pick them up from you over time. They will see you as a role model, and follow your lead in a number of ways, so it’s imperative that you express those when in front of your children.

Often an essential way of showing how your child should treat others throughout their life, it’s a really important life skill to teach your children. There are many ways you can express gratitude, in small ways and in bigger ways too.

 

Disclosure: this is a collaborative post

How to help raise an optimistic child

How to raise an optimistic child

Optimism is a key part of a child’s development. They will grow with the right advice and support that will show your child the best ways to be optimistic.

This also helps with your child’s development in school – they’re more likely to be confident, engaging and eager to learn within the classroom.

Bringing positivity into the home should be a natural process, but if you’re struggling for ways to bring it back into your child’s life, there are ways to help them along.

Read this guide from one of the top Fulham schools to show how you can raise an optimistic child.

Be open with your child

Children are more likely to open up to you when you’re being open, welcoming and (above all) honest. Encourage open conversations often with your child to assess how they’re feeling and if there’s any way you could help them.

Being open with your child increases the likelihood that they’ll want to turn to you for future advice and support when they can. It also shows that you’re supporting them with their school work and learning more about the life they want to lead.

 

Show you’re a role model

Positive thoughts and optimistic actions will really impact your child.

Use positive affirmations and strong encouragement as they go about their days to see if they follow your lead.

You will be one of your child’s biggest influences, so it’s important that you speak to your child by using happy phrases and words of encouragement. They often go through a lot of stress during their school years so you should aim to lift their spirits up when they’re feeling down. They’ll be more likely to turn to you in the future if you do.

 

Children will always look to you for support, especially when they’re younger. Ensure you’re motivating your child continuously in a beneficial way to help them along their journey.

 

Disclosure: this is a collaborative post

trick to teach child new skills

Try this little trick to teach your child new skills

One of the things I don’t think I really thought much about before I had my children, is quite how much you end up teaching them over the years.

It starts with trying to teach them the difference between day and night, in the hope that they might start sleeping for more than an hour at a time when it’s dark out.

And I don’t think it ever really stops.  I mean, I’m nearly 40 and I still ask my parents all sorts of questions about all sorts of things.

A lot of the skills we teach our children come quite naturally, but with others it can feel like an endless challenge to get them to get it.  This little trick though can help with pretty much any skill or task you need to teach your child about.

 

It’s called the “see one, do one, teach one” approach.

This method of teaching is generally used in training new doctors and surgeons.  When they need to learn a new skill they’ll watch it being done, then have a go at doing it themselves (while being closely supervised), and then solidify their knowledge by teaching the skill to someone else.

It’s this final step of teaching the new skill that really makes sure that they’re confident in what they’re doing and that they really understand the process.

The beauty of this approach is that you can apply it to teaching pretty much any new skill and it works really well with children who love showing off their new abilities!

 

So, lets say you’re trying to teach your child how to tie their shoelaces.

Here are the three steps you would take:

1. Show them how to do it.

Sit down with them and show them the different steps needed to tie their shoes.  If they’re completely new to shoe-tying then just teach the first step to start with and then build on it from there.

 

2. Get them to have a go.

With you sitting next to them, let them have a try at doing the first step themselves.

 

3. Ask them to teach the skill to someone else.

Once they seem to have got the hang of it, help them solidify the knowledge by teaching it to someone else.  Now, that someone else could be you if there’s no one else available.  Or they could teach it to a sibling or relative.  You could even let them make a little video explaining how to do it, if they love watching things like that on YouTube!

 

It will still take a lot of time and patience for them to learn a new skill like this, but breaking the process down into these stages will really help make sure the new knowledge sticks in their heads.

The final stage of teaching it to someone else in particular helps make sure they really understand what they’ve learnt.

 

What I really love about this “see one, do one, teach one” method is that you can use it with children of all ages and for all sorts of different skills.

It would work for:

  • alphabet puzzles while learning letters
  • maths problems for all ages
  • learning to cross the road safely
  • cooking skills
  • first aid skills
  • sorting and doing the laundry
  • telling the time
  • car maintenance – like checking the oil and filling up with petrol
  • sewing skills

And so, so many other things.

 

What skill have you found hardest to try and teach your child?  Do you think this see one, do one, teach one method would help them to learn?