If you want to enjoy the warmer weather with the whole family, then maybe you could think about starting a hobby that all of you can enjoy. With this in mind, here are a few ideas of cheap and fun hobbies that the whole family can enjoy!
Hiking is a brilliant way of getting out and about and exploring new places. Don’t worry if you think that it will be too much for your little ones, you can just start small and build them up gradually. Why not pick a place that you know well to begin with, this way you will know exactly how long the walk should take, and you can also have in mind points in the walk that you think will be a good place to stop and have a picnic.
I also want to point out that you don’t need to feel pressured into going out to your local hiking shop and kitting out the whole family with walking boots and waterproofs. This type of gear would obviously be good if you can afford it and you can pick it up fairly cheap from online stores like the Regatta Outlet Store*, but when my boys were very little they were happy enough wearing their wellies so that they could splash in all the puddles. I just made sure that they had enough layers on to stay warm and also that I brought some spare clothes, just in-case.
Tennis is a great game for families to enjoy. Whether you are a good tennis player or not, it’s always fun to have a game and it’s great for kids of all ages too. My youngest Malachi was 4 when we started playing tennis together and he absolutely loves it!
To keep the game cheap, we like to play on our local tennis courts at the park on lovely sunny days because they are free to use. All you really need are some tennis rackets and balls* and you can then have years of outdoor fun for free! If you do choose to play outdoors when the sun is shining please don’t forget your sun-cream, water and hats. The last thing you want is for sun-stroke to be your children’s lasting memory of tennis.
Now I know that a lot of people think that bird watching must be one of the most boring and geeky things that you can do. However, I think that most children have a natural interest in wildlife. So, why not have a try next time you go to the park (or you could even start from your own garden) and challenge your kids to see how many different types of birds they can find? When you have all grasped the names of our most common wild birds why not try to see if you can figure out which birds you can hear? Now this is definitely more challenging, but it can be a great thing to do as a family because it is completely free, you can do it at any point in the day and totally at your own pace. If you can afford to take along a pair of standard or kids binoculars* then this would obviously add to the experience, but it is not essential.
Whether you have a lot of space outside or just a little bit, gardening is a hobby that everyone can get stuck into. You can also choose to do it however you like, maybe you want to give the children a section where they can pick what they want to grow and it will be their responsibility to take care of their own plants. Or, maybe you want to view the whole garden as your family project? Teach your children how to take care of the different varieties that may be in your garden, or you could even save up some money and head to the garden centre together to pick some beautiful new flowers. If you feel like your gardening knowledge leaves a little to be desired then you could check out the great book Ready, Steady, Grow* from The Horticultural Society. It doesn’t really matter how you want to do it, or how much money you want to spend on it, just do whatever works for your family.
So there we go, 4 cheap outdoor hobbies that the whole family can enjoy! The great thing with each of these ideas is that choosing how much or how little you want to spend is entirely up to you. I think that the most important thing is just being together as a family and having fun.