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YOU try entertaining energetic children day after day!
” Which is where Dawn Isaac appears, a guardian-angel in stripy wellies, with her lovely book.
She too admits to spending “much of her time coming up with new ways to persuade her kids to go outside” and although as writer of and a garden designer, she is most at home amongst muddy flower-beds, but she’s not an earth-mother living in a tepee (although there is a great page on how to build one).
101 Things For Kids To Do Outside is a book she says “for kids who like TV, movies, popcorn, lying in bed, wallowing in baths, hanging upside down off the sofa and staying in pyjamas all day.
“Hopefully this study will give paediatricians a better sense of efficacy that it’s worth taking the time to talk to parents,” Gentile says.
I didn’t need to do a thing – and crucially – they didn’t want me to interfere!
By doing this with my 10-year-old son, Croyde, I discovered that he basically wants to do anything that involves wildlife and getting absolutely filthy.
I would never have known how much he wants to ‘brew his own plant food’; ‘sweep for bugs’ with an easily home-made pillow-case net; ‘hold a snail race’ with real-life snails; ‘go Pond dipping’ with a jar and some string or ‘build a mud pie kitchen’.
He liked the idea of the more physical challenges such as ‘making a human sundial;’ ‘holding a mini Olympics;’ and ‘playing Jingle Jangle’- a brilliant, blind-fold version of ‘It’ in which the ‘It’ wears a bunch of keys around their ankle.
Then there are the more ‘artistic’ tasks that appealed: ‘autograph a pumpkin’; ‘make a butterfly feeder’ by prettifying a jar; ‘create a moonlight garden’ and ‘decorate the lawn’ that any family could do – it doesn’t even need to be your own lawn – you could just as easily do this in the local park.
But as a strict enforcer of limited screen-time and a child of the 1970s who would leave the house on roller boots at 9am and return at 5pm, I nonchalantly flicked through the pages and found myself – and I rarely use this word – inspired.