Playing Outside vs Screens and Tech

This is a collaborative post

Ah, the fun battle that is playing outside vs screens and tech. I wonder whether there are many parents that don’t encounter this one? We certainly do.

When the sun is shining. Boo is outside. She will rush home from school, throw open the back door and get out into the garden. She will run, dance, sing, play football, garden, play with Herbie – everything and anything, she just wants to be outside.

When the sun is shining, it’s completely irrelevant to Little Man. I wonder sometimes whether he notices? He comes home from school and wants to play on the PlayStation. Of course, we manage his tech and screen time but it is always his preferred activity. I do think that we’re getting it right limiting his time and giving him control over this each week, it still works well for us. But wouldn’t it be nice if he chose to be outside sometimes?

I suspect that this is a common issue. The Husband was saying that he was always outside as a kid, and that Little Man should be, but it’s a completely different generation. Our video games used to take about an hour to load, didn’t they? Do you remember that? And sometimes you just didn’t have it in you to bother with it! We also just had kids TV for an hour or so, no Netflix, YouTube and 24 hour TV options. Oh, it was a different time, I feel so old! So our challenge as parents can be to make something else as interesting, or at the very least a close second, to screens for those kids who love them.

Playing outside is great for our children’s health, we know this. It’s physical exercise, it’s fresh air, it’s vitamin D. They might be developing a skill, learning a sport, creating imaginary worlds or helping out with the garden, all of which we know is great for them to do. So how do we lure them from those screens then? Well, I have a few ideas…

Make the garden into an irresistible play area. What child wouldn’t enjoy these wooden climbing frames? They look amazing! The climbing frames from Fatmoose can be designed just the way you like it. Combine a swing set with slide, playhouse and even a sand pit. I’m not sure I’d get my kids back inside with one of these!

Arrange a hunt. Nothing gets my kids into the garden faster than a hunt! It might be a treasure hunt with clues, a hunt for hidden toys, or a trail leading to chocolate and sweets. It doesn’t really matter what the hunt is for, it will go down brilliantly. Do prepare yourself to be asked to do it over and over again, though!

Create a den. Either surprise them with a den all set up and ready to go or get them involved in making their own den, either way they will love it. Sheets over the washing line and pop-up tents are brilliant for this, but cardboard boxes can also make wonderful forts and have the added bonus that they can be drawn all over.

Outdoor painting. The beauty of this is that the mess is all outside, not on your kitchen table! Set them up with crafting and painting materials on a table, on a sheet, in a tuff tray, whatever you have, and leave them to it.

Get the water out. Fill a paddling pool, buckets, pistols, water table, anything that you have got! They will want to get out there and throw it around or do ‘experiments’ with it. Lots of fun.

How do you get on with the playing outside vs screens and tech battle?

Disclosure: This is a collaborative post

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