Getting Your Kids Outdoors in the City

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As a country girl turned city au pair (and now mother), I’m always looking for ways to get little ones outdoors. But what do you do when you are surrounded by roads instead of fields, and you don’t have a garden to make mud pies in?

Now that we’re starting to get some of the warmer spring weather, I thought I’d put together a list of my favourite outdoor activities for the little ones, right in the heart (or sometimes outskirts) of the city. Why not grab your sunscreen and some snacks, and see if you can get even your tiniest ones outdoors today!

  • Head for the nearest park. Pack a picnic, a football, and a blanket to throw on the ground and you’ve got yourself a full-day outing. This also works as a great half-hour energy release if the park’s nearby or you pass by one on your way to/from other activities.
  • Go for an impromptu treasure hunt. Give your kids a list of things to find – colours, animals, or letters, for example – and don’t come home until you’ve ticked everything off the list.
  • Let the kids loose at the playground! Even the littlest of (sitting) babies can enjoy swinging on your lap or running their fingers through the sandpit.
  • Find some water. Whether that be an outdoor pool, local lake, or even a splashpad. Bring a change of clothes and be sure to keep an eye on the little ones.
  • Go traffic spotting. Look at the different trains going in and out of the station, go plane spotting at your local airport, or count the buses as they drive past. Great for little vehicle enthusiasts!
  • Stop and smell the roses – literally. Kids are so great at noticing little things that we miss amongst the hustle and bustle. Ask your kids to point out things that interest them the next time you walk somewhere together, and then really stop to look at it. You could even look for things to point out to smaller children yourself. You’ll be amazed at how interesting your neighbourhood is!
  • Look for local spots with animals. Some cities have zoos, petting zoos, or even inner-city farms. Head down to your nearest spot and work on those animal sounds with the little ones!
  • Make the most of your balcony. If you have the luxury of having one, don’t let it go to waste! Depending on the size, you could set up a paddling pool, do some (possibly vertical) gardening, or just set up a nook to read in. Every little bit helps in the name of Vitamin D and fresh air, after all!
  • Don’t step on the cracks! Did you play this as a kid? Silly games while you’re on the move are great fun, good motivators, and encourage little ones to keep going just that little bit further. Why not get off the bus one stop early and see who can hop the furthest, or race to the nearest streetlight?
  • Take a walk around the block. Breathe. Check out what your neighbours have got hanging off their balconies. Splash in the puddles. Just be outside. It doesn’t have to be complicated, and even the smallest stroller-bound babes can benefit from a little fresh air and sunshine.

Don’t forget to hit up Google for more specific suggestions for your area; chances are, you aren’t the only parent looking to get their kids outside. You might even find a group of like-minded parents and children to head outside with!

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