by Hannah Davey
Everyone loves being outside when the weather is great, but keeping the children entertained can sometimes be a difficult, expensive and strenuous task. Quite often, it begins to feel more like a dreaded chore than a fun, family experience, and we spend most of our days wishing there was a wonderfully knowledgeable play-fairy that would fly down to help us out slightly. However, fairies aside, there are some really simple tricks for mastering the art of family playtime, and you don’t even need to leave the house! The key is to not put too much thought into it, and suddenly the simplest activities become the most fun.
It’s time to play! So, what are these mysterious activities? My personal favourites have always been things that we’ve already got on our doorstep (well actually, in our garden). A fantastically multi-functional and multi-people adventure zone, and something that many of us already own, is a trampoline. (Adults, you’ll be surprised at how much fun you have!) Trampolines can be used for more things than you’d ever imagine.
During the day time they’re fantastic fun for kids and adults to bounce around on, but in the evening, they make perfect (and very comfy) loungers to laze around and enjoy the warm summer evenings. With a few cushions and sleeping bags, or even a trampoline tent, trampolines perform as extremely relaxing dens! A simple and usually quite mundane activity such as lounging around, actually becomes hugely fun once a trampoline’s involved, and not just for the kids!
If you don’t own one already, it could be an investment that will keep on giving enjoyment for many years! If this is something which is out of budget, dens can be made just as easily using blankets, sheets and old cushions. Get a little creative and see what you come up with.
Let them be messy! Mums all over the world spend most of their day chasing their little rascals around the house, picking up after them while they happily drop mess everywhere, but now that we’re outside in the garden, let’s relax a bit! It’s normal for them to play in the mud and hide in the bushes; it’s what being a kid is all about. We can worry about the cleaning later! Keep them away from your prize roses, and they can have as much fun as they like. Using their imaginations is a huge part of growing up and developing, and it’s also brilliant fun, so let them use the natural surroundings in order to do this.
Treasure hunting. Egg hunts aren’t just for Easter. Minus the eggs and swap them for prizes, you can create the perfect little treasure hunt. You don’t need a big garden for this. As long as there are a few hiding places scattered around, you’re ready to begin. Simply write out some fun clues to lead the kids on their way, pop them in suitably decorated envelopes (cute details like this will make all the difference), and watch the kids while they have so much fun manically searching for the treasure. This takes hardly any effort at all, but brings so much excitement to the little ones’ playtime.
Sun down. When the evening starts to cool down, and everyone’s feeling sleepy, there’s nothing nicer than sitting around a little bonfire, roasting marshmallows. If you haven’t tried roasted marshmallows before, you’re really missing out. Get the marshmallows, large skewers, warm jumpers, and you’re ready to roast. Remember to be thoughtful of the neighbours, though, and keep the size of the bonfire to a modest minimum! (Make sure that the trampoline from earlier is either moved out of the way, though, or has a cover on it, as the debris from the bonfire may put holes in it.)
Hannah Davey is the play expert at Big Game Hunters Trampoline Shop