Lockdown fun: 10 nature activities to keep kids busy (and out in fresh air) 2 years ago

Lockdown fun: 10 nature activities to keep kids busy (and out in fresh air)

In Norway, where I come from, kids spend a lot of time outdoors.

Like – a lot.

Even in the middle of winter – when the temperatures are well below freezing – schools and creches ask that children come in dressed in layers and outdoor gear so that they can spend as much of the day outside as possible.

It is common to have babies take naps outside too – all wrapped up warm in their prams and buggies, of course. And on the weekend, families will often go hiking, snowboarding, cycling – anything, really, as long as it is outdoors.

In fact, childcare settings are legally obliged to provide five times more outdoor space than indoor space per child, so outdoor play is a nationwide priority.

And the thing is – all the fresh air is actually doing everyone all sorts of good. It lowers the risk of asthma, ADHD, mood disorders, allergies – the list goes on.

Right now, we are approaching a year with children here in Ireland having spent more time inside their homes than ever before. And this is not good news. According to YouGov, almost a third of UK parents have noticed negative changes in their child’s behaviour since the coronavirus lockdowns started. Which includes behaviours such as tantrums, meltdowns, nightmares, stomach aches, fighting and crying.

If you are feeling like your kids could absolutely do with spending more time outdoors these days, Parkdean Resorts have released a list of 10 fun activities to keep kids entertained and even help them learn new skills. With schools being closed once again, parents are looking for new winter-appropriate ways to keep their kids entertained, and this list of activities is perfect for chilly winter days:


outdoor fun with kids

1. Go on a nature hunt

Wrap up warm and set off on an exciting adventure in your local surroundings - even if it's to your own back garden! Search for pine cones, squirrels and even listen out for robins! The eagled eyed child with an explorer’s spirit will love doing the Woodland Trust's winter scavenger hunt - prepare for creepy crawly overload. This activity will keep them busy and will provide an opportunity to learn about the wildlife in their own back gardens!

2. Turn your living room into a campsite

Perfect for those chilly winter nights, turning your living room into a campsite brings all the fun of camping indoors. Pitch up a tent and whack on some soothing nature-inspired music. When it comes to a midnight snack, smores are much more delicious than toasted marshmallows and can be made quickly in the microwave - no burning of little hands! Check out this kid-friendly recipe here.

3. Learn about the planet with David Attenborough

Just when you thought lockdown TV couldn’t get any better - in June, David Attenborough launched his BBC education addition. The legendary presenter will explain natural world topics such as oceans and animals. Lessons are available on BBC Bitesize Daily, BBC IPlayer and BBC Red Button.

Want to add in a skill-building challenge? See who can write down or draw the most animals you see in the show.


4. Earn a Blue Peter badge

Yes, really! If you or your kids are itching to get your hands on one of these, lockdown is the perfect time to start working on your application. Get the entry-level Blue Badge by sending in letters, stories and sketches and then start applying for more!

5. Make some pebble art

Painting pebbles have become a commemorative mark of lockdown, along with rainbows hung in windows and gates of all shapes and sizes. Pebble art is a great gift to give to a stranger - simply create your designs and dot them around walking trails or parks for people to find - you’ll brighten up their day.

6. Grow your own veg

Versatile veggies can be grown outdoors or inside, and there’s nothing quite like watching them sprout up with your children and with more free time in lockdown it's a great way to introduce them to gardening. With spring just around the corner, now’s the time to get planting. Vegetables such as broccoli, cabbages, and leeks will stand through the tough winter weather, and are great soup ingredients! You can find a full list here.

7. Make a mud kitchen


Don't mind getting your hands dirty? Mud kitchens provide hours of entertainment for little ones (just make sure you lay down a blanket that you don't mind getting messy). Mud play is a great way to encourage open-ended play and communication. Check out the 16 step mud kitchen here.

8. Create a fairy garden

DIY fairy gardens might be small in size but these enchanting abodes make for some interesting sensory learning that’ll keep your kids entertained for hours. The first step is deciding your theme, whether that’s a fairy castle, a city or a winter wonderland - gather your materials and find a cute spot to set up. You can find a step-by-step guide here.

9. Build a blanket fort

This one can be done both outdoors and on those colder nights is easily done indoors. Choose your location preferably near a wall or fence so you can pin blankets. Get some supplies - whether that’s a mini-fridge or midnight snacks, make sure you’re fully stocked! The best pillow forts don twinkly lights, snug blankets and are easily accessible to Netflix through a TV or laptop! Here’s a professional fort guide you might want to follow!

10. Build a bird feeder

Get up close and personal and enjoy wildlife at its best with an amazing DIY bird feeder. This is a great way to teach your kids all about different bird species that reside in the UK - from robins to goldfinches - you could even create a little checklist and tick them off as you spot them. Find inspiration for the easiest feeders to make here.