Five ways to get your kids outdoors this summer

Two boys chasing a kite in a field.

One of the biggest challenges modern parents face is making sure their children get enough outdoor exercise. Due to the increased availability of screen time, it can be easy to allow things to slide – no playground equipment pun intended! I believe in encouraging good habits early on, but know that I need to do more. Theory and practise are two very different beasts!

Research published by play equipment experts ESP Play found that 68% of a child’s PE lesson is spent stationary. Thankfully, it also discovered that using ESP’s methods and playground environments increased physical activity by 19%. Clearly, they know what they’re doing when it comes to getting children active. With the summer holidays on the horizon, here are five ways to get your kids outdoors.

‘Lose’ the car key

Okay, this is easy for me to say being a non driver, but I see several people needlessly making short journeys by car. We walk anything that’s within a couple of miles and only use public transport if we have to. As a result, Dylan and Xander get plenty of exercise and it’s good for getting Amelie to sleep in her pushchair!

Go geocaching

I have to admit that we’re new to this, but we’re already hooked and looking forward to finding more caches. As well as being a free treasure hunt, it gets kids outside and running around. We’re lucky to have an old railway line near us that’s now surfaced and there are loads along the way.

Found our first geocache today. Think this is going to be a great hobby for the boys this summer!

A photo posted by Tom Briggs (@diaryofthedad) on

Get some gear

Taking the kids to soft play or playgrounds is all very well, but both can be a complete nightmare during the summer holidays. They’re often overpopulated and there’s always one group of potty-mouthed teenagers or an over-enthusiastic dog at the latter. There’s plenty of affordable outdoor play equipment out there even if, like us, you have a small garden. Dylan and Xander love their trampoline and we’re also thinking of getting them a slide or climbing frame too.

Give them jobs

Most kids seem to enjoy being given a job to do if you make it sound important and exciting enough. Couple this with the irritating task of stopping the garden growing over and you’re onto a winner. We regularly get the boys to pick up the trimmings and move them to the green waste bin. I’ve even managed to get Xander to use the push-along mower as well!

Nice to see the toddler earning his keep…

A photo posted by Tom Briggs (@diaryofthedad) on

Give them an incentive

If all else fails, bribery is a tactic that I’m not ashamed of resorting to. For example, as we live near the seaside, we often take the kids to walk along the promenade, skim stones and run away from the tide. There are several places to reward them with an ice cream along the way and, as long as the exercise outweighs the calories, where’s the harm?

“Run away!”

A photo posted by Tom Briggs (@diaryofthedad) on

Disclosure: this is a collaborative post.


  1. Troy

    Unfortunately, not enough kids are getting outdoors these days. I can recall spending hours each day outside, I try to encourage my kids to do the same.

    One thing we found very effective was getting a trampoline. I know it doesn’t fit many people’s backyards but my kids spend hours on there each day, weather permitting.

    Geocaching is also something that I am interested in, not sure how to get started at that though.

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  2. Janice Tyler

    Most parents would be looking for activities to keep their kids occupied this summer and these are really great ideas! Most kids get stuck with iPads and the internet come summer, so I guess it’s the parents’ responsibility to get them outside. It’s also a great bonding time for the family! Taking them to little trips in the outside world can be an enjoyable time for everyone rather then being cooped up in the house. Getting them to do “fun” chores are a great bonus for the parents too. I’d love to try geocaching and will definitely check it out.

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