Spending Time Outdoors: The Best Way To Make A Difference For Your Family

May 24, 2019

How much time do your children spend outside every week? For most people, the answer will be much lower than the three hours a day recommended by experts. According to a recent UK study, children spend an average of 28 hours per week in front of screens between the ages of 6 and 11, and the amount of time they spend outside can often be measured in mere minutes.

It isn’t always easy to persuade the kids to switch off the screens and get outdoors, but increasing their time spent in nature will have multiple benefits for them. Playing outdoors encourages independent play, creative thinking and physical challenges, as well as many other vital life skills for children of all ages. Getting your children used to spending time in nature at an early age will make it a routine part of your lives, and the whole family will feel the benefits.

Why Do Children Need Time Outdoors?

Studies show that time outdoors, and particularly time in nature, is vital for child development and learning, and research has consistently shown developmental, emotional, physical and mental health benefits. Many children today do not experience these benefits due to their severely limited time outdoors, and this is concerning many experts.

Author Richard Louv published the bestselling books Last Child in the Woods (2005) and The Nature Principle (2011), to discuss the way in which children have become disconnected from the modern world. He refers to his own term, ‘nature-deficit disorder’ to describe the loss that he feels many children are experiencing when they lose their connection with other living things.

Playing in nature gives children the opportunity to develop their own abilities to risk assess and try new things, as well as joining with others to problem solve and discover the world around them. Being familiar with plants, trees and streams in their local area can give children a real and valuable understanding of the seasons and the natural world, and outdoor play has also been shown to help develop cooperation and leadership skills.

Forest schools and kindergartens have become popular in the UK and Ireland, and these offer a great way to get children into the woods and the wilds and encourage them to develop practical skills as they learn. You can explore the options in your local area, which may include holiday clubs and childcare sessions that you can book your child into.

Improve Your Child’s Health With Outdoor Play Opportunities

Childhood obesity has become a problem in many parts of the world in recent years, and children who are obese are statistically more likely to develop conditions such as diabetes and heart disease as they get older. Having access to exciting and inspiring green spaces has been shown to positively impact on children’s health, encouraging free play and exercise and leading to a healthier lifestyle.

Conditions such as autism and ADHD have been seen to show improvement when children spend more time outdoors, and playing in nature is a great way to reduce stress and anxiety, both of which are becoming increasingly problematic for children in our modern world. Stepping away from the screens and getting out in the fresh air can make an enormous difference to mental health outcomes and behavioural difficulties, and you may be surprised at how quickly you notice improvements.

Challenge Your Children To Create New Habits

Everyone feels comfortable with a routine that they are used to, but making changes that will benefit your whole family doesn’t have to be a struggle. You can encourage your kids to get outside when you offer them fun and interesting ways to do so.

For example:

  1. Give them a new challenge. Can your kids walk 10km or spend two hours picking up litter on a beach? Challenge them to raise some money for their favourite charity by carrying out a physical activity outdoors that will get their blood pumping while they do something positive and boost their self esteem. There are plenty of options, and they may enjoy choosing from a list of challenges that the whole family can get involved in.
  2. Team up. Getting children to spend time in nature is always much easier if they have company. Connect with family members and friends and explain your goal, and make plans to meet up for some sociable time outdoors. You could plan a hike, run around on the beach, or explore a local river.
  3. Make it fun. Kids will forget that they are walking if they are busy, so create a few simple activities such as a scavenger hunt or ‘I Spy’ mission, and watch them get involved. You could try borrowing a neighbour’s dog to motivate the children to get out and about, too, and increase your fitness levels while helping someone out.
  4. Stand back. If your children are especially resistant to spending time outdoors, you may need to be more hands on with your encouragement at first. However, once they get used to the idea of being in a natural setting, you can just stand back and let them enjoy some free play. Free play outdoors is excellent for brain development and physical skills, and you’ll be impressed at the creativity that they display when left to their own devices.
  5. Book a holiday. A holiday is a brilliant way to enforce a break from the screens and spend some time as a family in the great outdoors. Here at Trabolgan, we have a huge variety of activities and sports that will get the whole family moving and enable you all to spend some quality time connecting in natural surroundings.

Get Outside Together On A Family Holiday At Trabolgan

Here at Trabolgan Holiday Village, you can enjoy a midweek, weekend or week-long break with the family, and spend plenty of time outdoors together. We have an excellent range of sporting and relaxation activities, and our grounds offer fun opportunities that will tempt even the biggest screen addicts to get out and play.

Here are just a few of our outdoor options, ready for you and your family to enjoy:

Woodland playgrounds. You’ll love our Eco-Friendly Playground and our Wooden Wonderland Playground, as well as our new picnic and nature area with fairy houses and a Florrie the Fox sculpture to surprise the children!

Crazy golf. We’ve updated our 9 hole Fun Crazy Golf Course, and we know it’ll tempt you all to have a great time together. This is a very popular activity at Trabolgan, and whether you’re new to Crazy Golf or a seasoned pro, you’ll love the chance to get competitive with your nearest and dearest on our challenging and fun course.

Bird of Prey Centre. Our licensed Bird of Prey Centre offers the opportunity to meet beautiful birds from around the world, including owls, falcons and more. As a Trabolgan resident, you only need to pay once to receive a gold wristband that allows you entry to the Centre for the duration of your stay with us, so you can enjoy really getting to know these amazing birds.

Sports. You can try out several different sports at Trabolgan, with indoor and outdoor options for everyone. Our Par Three Cliff-Top Golf Course is very popular with guests, with its wonderful views of the Atlantic, or you might discover a new love for Tennis, Soccer or Badminton that you can continue long after your holiday is over.

Fun activities. Holidays are a great time to try a new activity, and Trabolgan Adventure Sports are perfect for all the family to get involved. You can try Abseiling, Climbing, Bungee trampolines and our fantastic Zip Wire, as well as FootGolf, WaterWalkerz, Combat Laser and Archery. Small additional costs and age or height restrictions apply to some activities, including Body Zorbing (12 years+), and Go-Karting.

And even if the weather isn’t kind during your stay with us, you can wrap up in your waterproofs and make the most of our grounds anyway! There’s no need to worry about running out of things to do when the rain pours down, as you can try a variety of sports and activities in our indoor sports centre, and our subtropical pool paradise is a perfect way to burn off some energy.

Book A Break In Ireland With Your Family

Here at Trabolgan Holiday Village, you’ll find our luxurious self catering accommodation perfectly located in our attractive grounds, close to our central covered plaza area and our sports complex. Many of our lodges have been updated this year, and we know you’ll love discovering the local wildlife and nature walks from the comfort of your home from home at Trabolgan.

If you really want to get in touch with nature, you can make the most of the experience by booking a cost effective summer holiday at our touring caravan site. This allows you to bring your own caravan and immerse yourself in the outdoor lifestyle while enjoying all of the facilities and benefits of Trabolgan. Call our reservations team on +353 (0) 21 4661551 or visit us online now.