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Do we have to go out to play?

A vector illustration of happy family running outdoor in a suburban neighborhood

I have something terrible to admit about my children – they hate the great outdoors! I would love to say they always want to play outside, go exploring on bikes or running through fields but it’s just not true.

My two are much happier inside – whatever the weather. It’s not for the want of trying – we’ve been paddling in the local river, on numerous Gruffalo hunts through the woods, fruit picking, on treasure hunts and I’ve lost count of the picnics I’ve packed! Although they enjoy all our trips at the time, whenever I suggest an outside adventure their instant reaction is to turn up their noses.

Both children have bikes and scooters (second hand thankfully) but neither show any interest in riding them. I have even had to bribe the three year old to go 50 yards on his balance bike – something he only agreed to when there was the promise of a story at home when we’d finished! The only time I had to use a reward chart for my eldest was when she started school and I wanted her to walk there and back without moaning!

I look at all those kids desperate to kick a ball, climb a tree or race their friends and I worry that mine are as far removed from Bear Grylls as you can get! It’s not as though when they are at home they are just watching TV or playing on a computer. They both have the most amazing imaginations and will spend hours in make believe worlds, they both love stories and craft and my eldest is always writing diaries and poems. But I just feel they are missing out because they don’t want to jump becks or ride a scooter.

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised – I’m the least outdoorsy person in the world. I spent my childhood with my nose in a book, I have been camping once (the day I got my A level results – my memories are pretty hazy as you can imagine), I can’t ride a bike and I only like long walks that have a pub half way (there’s a theme developing here). But I don’t want my prejudices to influence the kids hence tugging on waterproofs in all weathers and pushing them out of the door! I suppose it proves an apple never falls far from the tree and in a few years when they are wandering the village streets with their friends at some ungodly hour I will be looking back fondly at these simple, fun days spent indoors!

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