Food for Thought: On a budget

Getting out into nature and connecting children with nature doesn’t have to come at a cost. It’s often really easy and doesn’t take as much effort or money as one may think.

Looking back at my own childhood, I remember how even small places were the wilderness to me, how I could get engrossed in play and imagined myself to be on a survival trip (while really, I was in earshot of home!).

To get children to enjoy nature and to play outdoors, it doesn’t take a long trip to a fancy location that you can only reach by car. Often, the local park is just as good. Children will soon explore nooks and crannies that parents may miss. Listen to their play, their ideas and go with the flow. I’ve spent days in one spot, without moving much, letting the child decide when to move on, or, as it were, to stay put.

For all day trips, part of the fun is the picnic lunch. Even my babycino loving girl loves to have a picnic. And if you go out a lot like we do, cafe lunches do add up and a picnic lunch comes almost free. Invest in a proper drinking bottle (reused plastic bottles may develop toxins, so better to get a bottle that is designed for the job) for kids and adults – it’ll keep you hydrated at a fraction of a the cost of all those juices you may otherwise buy. Plus, you’ll do a bit for the environment (no fruit shoot bottles or tetra packs, hurray) and your child’s health.

There are many activities and locations which don’t cost anything at all. Glasgow is full of amazing parks. Make a list of all the parks in your vicinity and make it a challenge to visit them by a certain time. Then there are volunteering opportunity where you can garden locally or do some conservation work – older kids can come along and you can do it together. You’ll spend active time outdoors, feel better for it, meet new people and you may even learn new skills!

Another idea is to get together with a few friends and their kids and make it more sociable for everyone. You’ll soon realise that spending time outdoors means that the kids entertain themselves and let you have the longed for longer adult conversation while they’re busy playing.

It doesn’t have to be an effort or complicated. In fact, a day out is the easy option for us (no toy struck home at the end of the day, just dirty clothes to deal with).

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