Reviews My top tips on getting outside and enjoying outdoor play #DirtIsGood 4th April 201627th May 2016 Persil have launched a national campaign and are focused on encouraging children to spend more time playing outdoors and interacting with nature. As you know, we love getting outdoors and exploring what nature has on offer so jumped at the chance of helping Persil to spread the good word. The word that dirt is good, #DirtIsGood. This campaign comes off the back of comprehensive global research which reveals 74% of children spend less and less time outdoors, in fact, they now spend less time outdoors than prisoners. Which is just ubsurd! How can children, these days, spend less time outdoors than prisoners? On reflection some days our children possibly do not spend much time outdoors, but on the whole and especially weekends, we try to get out and about as much as possible. Even if its just a dog walk at our nearest park, we walk and explore, play and jump in muddy puddles of course. Did you also know that 1 in 10 parents have never been on an adventure with their children? I cannot understand why, it is SO much fun! I think it is a great project to get involved with, as the research is quite shocking considering what there is on offer to do outdoors with the children and most of the time free. #DirtIsGood as Persil say, there is no excuse to not getting outside and enjoying outdoor play with the children. Especially as in our house, we have a typical boy and by that I mean, one who likes to get outside and run around, burn off steam. Also one in the form of Daddy too! Daddy comes up with great ideas all the time to get outside and explore. Isla and I are more creative types and so when we go on our adventures we bring a different element to it. We don’t just go for walks, we explore and search for imaginary creatures, or sing songs along the way. There is always something to do for everyone. It’s not always about going out and paying for something to do either, just walking the dogs around the RSPB nearby or a local National Trust location, we just sometimes get up and get out. We love camping, exploring and making mini adventures. Its what we do best – outdoor fun. I think its important to get outside because there are so many days when you cannot, making the most of it at the weekends is great. Sitting at a desk all day at school or at work, you need that release when you get home and a 30 minute bounce on the trampoline can just change the whole outlook of that day. It also creates magic moments where we as a family have special memories to share. Most weekends, we spend at least one whole day outside (weather dependent) and these days are not necessarily expensive. Sometimes there is no cost involved at all. Our favourite outdoor activities are walking through the woods, scooting around places, finding fascinating scenery like in the Yorkshire Dales, but best of all running free at the beach. We go out, we have fun and we always take a spare pair of clothes incase we get muddy! Here are my #DirtIsGood tips on getting outside and enjoying outdoor play with the kids: – Have a look online at websites like http://www.dayoutwiththekids.co.uk, it will highlight places near you that are great for family fun and they have icons to show what type of facility they are. Farms or parks etc. Oh and always check the weather forecast, BBC weather is usually correct. – Take something that your children love, a particular character or type of game, and turn it into an outdoor adventure. If your little ones love Thomas, take them out and involve trains. Or take a toy version of that character out with you and make it come to life in the surroundings. Or simply, get out to the beach and play tag with the children. Its good feeling like a kid again! There is something de-stressing about it. Get involved too. – Be prepared: pack spare clothes, snacks, hats and waterproof coats, oh and wellies! We also take pyjama’s with us on longer adventures, just incase the little ones fall asleep on the way home. That’s always a sign of a good day out. – Take a picnic, in a comfortable rucksack. That way when you are in the middle of your fun activites, you do not need to stop everything to drag the children around a restaurant or back to the car to get the food (I know sometimes that is a nice change though). It’s great to go on a journey, start from the car park and walk around the beach in a big loop for example, stopping for your picnic lunch half way around. – Bring the camera! You can bet your bottom dollar that going out for the day will encourage the children to smile, be playful and sometimes we have got the best photos from these kinds of days. – My main tip, saving the best for last, is to not plan a strict itinery! The children will want to have fun, let off steam and be free. That’s what they’re best at, so let them lead the day. Don’t plan the day to a strict 5 minute schedule, as the children will soon adapt it and that just causes frustration from all angles. Especially when the children are younger, like mine, our goal is to go somewhere and see where it takes us. You can find out more about the Persil campaign by visiting the Dirt is Good website: www.dirtisgood.com.