There is no doubt that video games rank highly in most children’s favourite pastimes and although a love of gaming does not automatically spell disaster, as parents, we want our children to enjoy a wide range of activities, including playing outdoors.
Studies have shown that children spend increasingly less time playing outdoors than in previous years and it is hard not to lay some of the blame on the enticing lure of screens. Outdoor activity is important for children. In a study by the University of Derby and The Wildlife Trust, children exposed to the natural world showed increased self-esteem and nature time has been linked to positive mental health in children and adults.
To encourage children to switch off their consoles this summer, why not take the best bits from their favourite video games and take them outside?
If your child loves Fortnite, why not try: Capture The Flag
Fortnite relies on a squad of players working together to defeat opposing teams. Take this outside with a game of Capture The Flag.
To play, first find a suitable large space with good hiding places. Divide into two teams, each with their own flag and agree where each team’s territory is. Each team must then hide their flag somewhere on their own territory. The object of the game is to capture the other’s teams flag without being caught on enemy territory. If caught, a player must stay in a ‘jail’ unless rescued by a fellow team mate.
If your child loves the Sims, why not try: Building A Fairy House
The Sims is a world within a world in which you build and furnish your own Sims house. Take this outside with an outdoor craft activity and get the kids building a fairy house.
Use twigs, leaves and other natural materials and see what their imagination can come up with.
If your child loves Pokemon, why not try: A Wildlife Scavenger Hunt
In Pokemon you’ve got to try and catch them all and build your Pokemon collection. Take this outside by organising a wildlife scavenger hunt.
Create your own scavenger hunt sheets based on the nature and wildlife you can find around your neighbourhood or download one from sites such as the Woodland Trust.
If your child loves Splatoon, why not try: A Water Battle
Splatoon is a first person shooter where you splat the opposition to defeat them. Take this outside by setting up an epic water battle with water pistols and water balloons. If there are a few of you, split into teams for more strategic battle fun.
If your child loves Roblox, why not try: A Blindfold Obstacle Course
Roblox allows children to create worlds and build relationships with other players. Take this outside by building an outdoor obstacle course.
Use everyday objects that you can find in your garden or park to create an obstacle course. Include things that you have to crawl under or jump over and then taking turns to be led around and complete the course whilst blindfolded. This helps build trust and cooperation and is also a lot of fun!
If your child loves Overwatch, why not try: Kick The Can
Overwatch relies on players working as a team to defeat the enemy. Take this outside with a game of Kick The Can.
One person is designated It and places a can (or other object) in the middle of an open space, like a garden, whilst the other players hide. The It player must find the hidden players by touching them, whilst guarding the can. Once touched, players are held in a designated captive area in sight of the can. They can only be freed by another non-captive player kicking the can whilst avoiding being caught themselves.
If your child loves Just Dance, why not try: A Garden Dance-Off
Just Dance allows you to get your groove on to popular hits. Take this outside with a garden dance off.
Get the children to pick their favourite song and get dancing. Points awarded for creativity, using the space inventively and they can also incorporate some parkour moves like walking lunges and standing jumps. You can check out our 15 Minute Happy parkour activity for inspiration.