Let’s go outside

A sponsored post for Springfree Trampolines

Springfree Trampolines have recently been involved in a Power of Play awareness campaign based on data that  outlined that many kids have actually forgotten how to ‘play’ or run out of ideas for unstructured outdoor play when they are unplugged from their usual devices.

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There can be some weekend days here where Daisy will be on the couch, zonked out watching TV, Harper on iView for hours at a time, me stuck on my laptop and Rob playing some game on his iphone. It’s in those moments that I tend to freak out, demand that everyone get off their devices and get OUTSIDE. I also tend to have a panicked tone in my voice, the one that is riddled with guilt and fear that you have indeed ruined your kids life in some new way and it’s ALL YOUR FAULT. It’s a scene of many a modern home though I’m sure, as we spend more and more time inside, attached to devices, watching the world around us on a small iphone screen rather than, you know, IN IT.

I worry about this stuff, I really do. I know I spend too much time online, and that I have to lead by example and make weekend time outside time. Peppered with family time (let’s not get too carried away). Most weekends now we don’t have the TV on at all (except for maybe a movie on either Friday or Saturday night) and the girls are forced outside, to spend the day playing. Rob and I get out in the garden, and tired, dirty kids are ferried straight into the bath on a Saturday evening. Just like how I remember it as a kid.

Growing up my brother and sisters would spend ALL weekends outside. There would be some sport in the morning, then it would be home and you were on your own. There were weekend long games of armies with the neighbours, tree climbing, roof climbing, bike riding, footpath stalls created, roller skating, playing in long grass, all in our sports uniform until you got hungry or you heard your parents calling you inside.

I know life isn’t that simple for us anymore – there’s safety and supervision and a gazillion things in between that stop people from letting their kids outside, but I think some of us have lost the art form of creative play. Letting kids play. Letting them work stuff out for themselves. Letting them fight. Letting them be. I’m guilty of it I know, but as they get a little older, I’m getting better, letting go of that leash a little. And if your ones aren’t convinced of getting out there, YOU GET OUT THERE. They will follow, they can’t resist the lure of a parent – believe me.

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Some of the stuff that goes down here outside on those days when the kids are forced outside are:

  • Dress ups – endless games of Princesses and Fairies in the garden and trees. We have had epic sagas that last for hours at a time
  • Animals in the garden – the girls have a great collection of animals that spend time in the great outdoors, in the bottom of pot plants or in shrubs/climbers. Dolls also make it out there…Barbie has had a few leafy apartments
  • Fairy gardens – the girls are of the opinion that if you build it, they will come. I have shown them my old trick of digging a hole, lining it with foil or cling wrap and filling it with water. Fairies love nothing more than a good swimming hole
  • Shops – shops that sell leaves, rocks, flower posies, food, drink, toys, you name it, we have sold it
  • Gymnastic routines on the trampoline – Gma has created a great game for the girls where she sits from the comfort of the verandah requesting a series of routines – jump, star jump, sit down, star jump and the girls have to follow. This is a hit and can go for ages
  • Hanging in the hammock – swing one between some trees or the like and you have a spot to lay and read, or just swing in
  • Poison Ball – on the trampoline there is a ball in there and while you jump and that ball bounces, you better make sure that you don’t touch it, or you are dead…or SOMETHING!
  • Scooter riding – endlessly down the verandah. Time trials, races and stacks, plenty of stacks
  • Cubby house – strangely enough all the girls tend to do now is sit on the ROOF of the cubby house playing animals. We have a cheap plastic one that can be moved around the yard. A change of scene is enough to get them playing out there in it again
  • Sprinkler – nothing like hearing the pure joy from a squealing kid through a sprinkler on a hot summers day. Even better whack it under the trampoline for extra jumping fun
  • Trampoline – now that the weather is good the girls spend all their time out there. Lunch is eaten there, blankets and cushions taken in, sprinkler underneath, basketball – you name it, they have done it on the trampoline.

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Independent watchdog CHOICE recently completed safety testing of twelve trampolines and the only trampoline that passed was Springfree. The world’s safest trampoline. You can visit the Springfree Trampoline Experience Centre in Ryde NSW or Oakleigh South VIC to try them out for yourselves.

So tell me, what games do your kids play outside? Got any you can share with us all? I’m always looking for suggestions to give to the girls, although given enough space and freedom the stuff they come up with themselves are pretty good too.

Comments

  1. With that title I’m going to have George Michael in my head all day… We’re fans of hopscotch and any other chalk drawings on the pavers. At my sister’s place we play lots of fire fighters in their fire trucks with the hoses, it may be because my BiL is a firey…

  2. Love this post, could of written it myself Beth! My childhood was much like you described yours. In summer I was basically an Aboriginal, so tanned from being outside from dawn to dusk. It’s something I’m very passionate and firm about with our family and often find myself very judgmental about it towards other families. We need to get back to the good old days of OUTDOORS. I really wish gaming consoles didn’t exist lol.
    We just got a trampoline from the neighbours… not one of these awesome ones in your post, just a cheapy. The fires came through (they were all over the news, you couldnt miss them! even the prince and princess came to have a look) and our tramp now has holes in it, as we lost our shed and embers must of fallen on the trampoline 🙁 Little Olivia is only 13 months but loved it! We still have a house though so I’m not complaining. Look at me rambling… sorry!

    • BabyMacBlogBeth says

      Not at all – sorry to hear about your losses in those terrible fires – I’m glad your house was spared x

  3. Emma Steendam says

    Great post Beth. I don’t have kids (newsflash) but I look at lots of other mums who I reckon are getting it right, you know, for ‘one day’. Note that down, remember that. My darling husband was raised in the most beautiful manner. No TV. A self-sufficient home in the middle of a state forest. Slow and simple. Sure he has no idea what I’m talking about when I quote Back to the Future but he’s got a little something that other ‘kids’ our age (me included) are missing. His sister is now raising her two kids in a similar manner, they have a TV but I could count on one hand the times I’ve seen their 9 year old and 6 year old watching it. They know so much STUFF that I don’t! They garden, prolifically! Their parents are involved in outdoor education for work, the kids were going on five day hikes in the high country in a papoose at a few months old so mum an dad could still work. AND they have a spring free trampoline, so there ya go 😉 As does my sister and lots of friends with kids, they are the bees knees.

  4. Vange Asuncion Langford says

    I can soooo relate. Hubby and I are both indoors type people (not sporty, dislike heat) so it’s extra hard for us to model an outdoorsy active lifestyle! But, I’m so conscious and try my hardest to drive everyone out every chance possible. We are slowly making our garden more attractive to the kids and a springfree trampoline is definitely number 1 in the list, just so expensive!

    • BabyMacBlogBeth says

      Good luck! It’s hard work and you have to be consistent but sooner or later the kids will get it. The tramps are expensive…but they are a good investment I reckon – they are the only ones that seem to last!

      • Vange Asuncion Langford says

        You get what you pay for! They’re the best and I can’t bear the idea of having my kid or their friends getting injured on my tramp so worth every penny I reckon plus very good resale value – I’ve looked on eBay and might as well get straight from manufacturer for what they go for second hand.

        Good idea too on the plastic movable cubby as I was thinking of those cute wooden ones that look like real miniature houses for our missy but the mobile one is better now that you’ve shared your experience (not to mention way cheaper).

  5. Lisa Mckenzie says

    Mine used to play outside a LOT but that was before computers and ipads and the like they had a cubby and swam and had tea parties and rode their bikes and scooters and played in our sandpit and so many other games they loved it!

  6. My kids come home from school, eat something and then are off on their bikes until 5. Not sure what they are doing, Just hope that they are not shoplifting. xx

  7. Carolyn Manning says

    Sprinkler on under the tramp is an awesome combo. Hours of wet giggly fun. 🙂

  8. This is a big, daily issue for us. When it’s pretty much impossible to go outside for a good few months of the year, we have to be creative. During the summer months, it would be very easy to just plonk them in front of screens for hours on end, but we have a rule about when screens can and can’t be on to keep it under control. In the early mornings, we head to the pool until it gets too hot (around 9am) and then they have to entertain themselves inside – the kids have large rooms, so we even ride scooters inside some days when I’m feeling nice.

    In the winter we are outdoors all. the. time. In the school afternoons, if the girls don’t have any extra-curricular activities we hang around for an hour or two and they play in the playground with their friends. It’s win-win, as I get to socialise with adults and they get free play.

    On weekends, we go to the beach or the desert and they come up with all sorts of games to entertain themselves. You’d be amazed how much kids can play and entertain themselves in the desert.

    • BabyMacBlogBeth says

      How amazing that this is your life now Corinne! So cool that your kids will remember this time…you live in the DESERT!

  9. Jackie Clark says

    We are lucky to live a street with lots of other kids so after school and weekend my kids are off. I have kids coming and going from my house all the time! They preform magic shows in the street, have scooter races, make perfume with flowers and water, make daisy chains, play dress up’s, play in the sandpit and on the tramp, play under the sprinkler! The fun they have is endless. They do sometimes have fights but they sort it out and everyone is back playing the next day! I’m very lucky that I have kids that love to be outside playing!!

  10. Mandy Mason says

    We bought a springfree tramp 6 years ago when our youngest was 6 months old! It has been used pretty much every day since. I used to zip the baby up in it whilst hanging out the washing and now the 3 kids use it for all manner of play, even on the coldest winter day/night. Actually this afternoon I watched our puppy doing laps on it for quite a while, she was having as much fun as the kids do. Other than the trampoline, the kids love playing tennis, anything ball related, bike riding and going to the beach. When they were younger it was backyard hunting for insects.

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