Here are my tips for encouraging lots of unstructured outdoor play:

 Entrance your kids. Help them find magic everywhere. There are fairies, dragons, pixies and the occasional troll if you know where to look. By making the outdoor experience a magical one, we can lead children to developing their own sustained interest in the practical side of being outdoors.

 Use natural resources whenever you can in imaginative play. Agapanthus flowers can become swords, cicada skins are the perfect brooch, a bunch of berries dangling from the ears are quite possibly perfect earrings.

 Give them a regular outdoor project. A veggie patch is a great start. Or a nature journal, rain gauge, mushroom kit – this list can be endless! Check out my book for more fun ideas.

 Involve them in your outdoor chores. Weeding, hanging out the washing, washing the dog, pruning, watering the garden can be fun when it’s a joint effort!

 Take their indoor activities outside – lego, handheld computer games, books, colouring in. All of these can be done outside with little or no extra effort.

 Encourage them to be as wild as they want. Let them learn that outside is a place where they can dance, sing and yell their little lungs out but it is also a place where they can recharge, be still and enjoy some ‘me time’; after all little kids can get just as stressed as we do.


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