You can’t help but notice how children don’t play outside as much as they used to. As a child I was always outside. I have so many memories from making algae fritters in my nan’s garden (don’t ask!) to building dens and climbing trees. Our freedom came with bikes and dare I say it, stay at home mums and no way of monitoring us 24/7. Im not convinced it’s all about the computer games kids have access to; we had a fab Atari console, but spent hours outside too.
B hasn’t always been too keen on being outside. He would nearly always choose to be inside drawing or making train networks or playing with Lego. In some ways I probably felt quite relieved a lot of the time. It meant I wasn’t continually getting mud out of the house and his fine motor skills were always very adept.
However, when B was at school in reception they flagged up that they thought he may be dyspraxic. After a thorough diagnostic appointment, it was noted that his gross motor skills sit on the 9th percentile. I often wonder if I should have encouraged him outside to climb more, dig, get dirty and build up his balance and other skill sets. I also missed so many signs as I just dismissed the signs as an inherited clumsiness. (I’m still reeling from discovering I’m the only grown up I know who falls off their bike a lot!)
When faced with a long list of exercises from the hospital to work on his hyper mobility (another gift from me), I knew we might struggle to maintain the routine. In its place we’ve tried to build our own program to incorporate them in a fun way. From weekly ice skating, trampolining, and ballet lessons. We are slowly transforming our garden. With a new mud kitchen, a water wall built from guttering, and a basketball net we are getting B to enjoy being outdoors more and more. We’ve built a willow dome, and a reading area into the playhouse, put together a beach on a tuff tray, and tried as much planting and growing as we can.
We’ll be updating our progress on what’s working for us here, any ideas on what works for your family are most welcome!