It’s autumn! Children are back at school, leaves are turning and Costa has dropped a range of bonfire spiced drinks. As you say goodbye to summer and brace yourself for routine again though, please don’t even think of staying inside. Instead, grab your sense of adventure and get ready for some great family time al fresco. It’s time to foster a life outdoors this autumn.
There is a well-known phrase across Scandinavia, which in Norwegian goes along the lines of det finnes ikke dårlig vær, bare dårlige klær. This translates as ‘there is no bad weather, only bad clothes’. We whole-heartedly agree! Here in the UK we may not face the onslaught of a freezing Scandi winter, but drizzle, downpours and chill can all make it seem easier to stay snug inside. There are so many benefits of getting out in fresh air for children though, just need to remember there is no such thing as bad weather!
So why exactly is it so important to give those wellies an outing? For a start, there’s all the opportunities for memory-making and bonding. Staying in with everyone staring at their own screen for far too long just doesn’t compare. There’s also the opportunity it gives foster children to burn off energy, anger and anxious feelings. The natural environment can be a great stress-buster for All ages. Plus, fresh air and energy-burning are great for sleep and happy immune systems.
Next, there’s all the learning and development that can happen for children. Running, climbing, balancing and finding fir cones are all great for both gross and fine motor skills. Not to mention everything that can be learned about nature, the environment and even risk. Finally, encouraging a healthy, outdoor lifestyle in your foster child can mean they are more likely to grow up into an active, healthy adult. Win.
In short, getting outdoors whatever the weather is amazing. But what can you do once you’re out there at this time of year? If you need some inspiration, we’ve put together some ideas to get you started...
- Visit your local park, skate park or sports field. Even better, discover a new park near you. For older children, try your local parkrun or junior parkrun
- Simply go for a walk and splash in puddles like Peppa Pig. If your child needs more focus, make an easy eye-spy list or scavenger hunt.
- Make a bird feeder and see who comes to taste it.
- Pick blackberries either in the wild or from a PYO farm. You can then go home, get warm and make a tasty crumble to enjoy. If you’re not into blackberries, try pumpkins – they’re not just for carving!
- Try out a cycle trail at Kingston Lacy or discover the famous fairy doors at Furzey Gardens
- If you really can’t leave technology behind, download the Natural History Museum’s app and become a naturenaut.
Whatever the weather brings and whatever you end up doing, we hope you enjoy fostering a life outdoors this autumn. We always love to hear from you, so contact us if you have any ideas to add to our list, or just for a chat. Bring on the new season.