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Brilliant screen-free activities for the kids (and you)

It’s time to switch off the tablet and TV. Here are seven simple, low-tech activities that you and children can enjoy together without breaking the bank.

Build a den

Making an indoor den from sofa cushions and sheets is a popular activity for young ones but even more adventurous is to build one from branches and leaves in the great outdoors. The Eden Project has some tips for how to do it.

Cook a healthy dinner together

It’s thought that children who prepare their own food will probably become more adventurous eaters. Most youngsters will enjoy cooking up a storm in the kitchen (even if you have to tidy up afterwards). For some recipes to try with children see BBC Good Food

Get green fingered

Whether it’s planting salad, vegetables or building a wormery, children enjoy getting their hands dirty and helping the garden grow. For ideas, see Gardening with Children.

Fly a kite

There’s something magical and joyful about kite flying and it helps blow away a few cobwebs too. For information on kite events and safety tips see the Kite Society.

Modern treasure hunt

If you don’t fancy putting together your own outdoor treasure hunt, geocaching is a fun way to encourage children on an exciting guided walk. Download a trail to your phone and you’ll be led on a journey between hide-and-seek containers or ‘caches’. Although it involves using a screen for the GPS, it’s only to facilitate the hunt – finding the treasure is much more fun than following the directions. Learn more about it here.

Cycle lessons

Bikeability runs holiday courses for children to learn how to cycle safely on the roads. Combining the vital skill of road awareness with exercise is a win-win. For more information see Bikeability and Bikeability Scotland

Try ‘forest bathing’

According to the Washington Post ‘forest bathing’ is set to become as popular as yoga. The practice stems from Japan, where shinrin-yoku involves relishing the sounds, sights and smells of nature in order to promote psychological and physical health. At any time of year there are plenty of opportunities to commune with nature all over the UK. For child-friendly nature walk suggestions try the National Trust.


Still stuck for ideas?

A couple of years ago, the National Trust put together a wonderful list of 50 things all children should do by the age of 11¾. See it here.