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Play outdoors

We know this year has been tough – and that the days are still full of ups and downs. We’ve all been there. No doubt your children will have found it hard too and may still be trying to make sense of the situation. The good news is that no matter what time of year it is, getting your kids outside to play will really help.

Outdoor play gets kids active and lets their imaginations run wild. Play can help kids of all ages to manage their emotions and feel better about all of the changes they’ve gone through in the last few months. It helps kids develop both mentally and emotionally, stay healthy, and have fun. It’ll stop them bouncing off the walls at home, and the fresh air even helps them sleep. The weather might be a bit rubbish, but come rain or shine as long as they’re warm enough and not too wet, there’s no such thing as too much outdoor play. Getting outside is just as important for your physical and mental health, too!

Your family doesn’t need a great big open park on your doorstep or even a garden to enjoy the outdoors. You can play outdoors anywhere, even just a walk along the street can be a great chance to have some fun together. Download our printable play outdoors activity cards for lots of ideas for having fun outside, no matter the weather.

When you’re out and about, don’t forget to follow physical distancing and hygiene guidelines. You can find out more on our page on coronavirus guidelines for children.

Out and about

Out on an adventure

Other ideas

Washing hands

It’s fun to play outside. Mud is good! However, it’s really important that we wash our hands when we get home. When we do, we lower our chances of catching and spreading germs.

Wash thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds - the time it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice. Doing this helps us all stay safe!

Tickle for ticks

Remember to check for ticks after playing outside - particularly if you've been in long grass or woodlands. These little critters attach to skin underneath clothing and can make little ones poorly. Why not make a fun game out of checking for ticks - by having a good look then tickling for lots of giggles? For guidance on how to remove ticks, visit NHS inform.

Remember to take your litter home

If you’re planning on exploring the great outdoors, please remember to take your litter home with you or bin it. Scotland is stunning – let's keep it that way

Wrap up warm

Getting outdoors is great for everyone’s health and wellbeing, but if it's cold outside, it’s important to wrap up warm. You don’t need a big expensive coat to stay warm either – layering up with long-sleeve tops, jumpers, fleeces and scarves can be just as cosy. Charity shops are great places to pick up warm woollies and coats for children who are growing all the time. You could also ask online if any of your friends with older children have any clothes they can pass on to you – you could pass your kids’ outgrown clothes on to someone else. Just give them a wash or a wipe down before you wear them. By not buying new, not only are you saving money, you’re also helping save the planet!

More ways to keep active

The Actify website has lots more ideas for keeping kids active outdoors.

Can’t go out?

Remember, if you’re self-isolating you shouldn’t leave your home at all, even to exercise. If you have a private garden it’s fine to spend time there, but if you don’t, you’ll find lots of ways to stay active indoors here.