Get your free e-book full of ideas to get the kids outdoors and more active!

According to statistics published earlier this year by the NHS, more than three out of five children aged between five to seven are not getting enough exercise. The situation worsened for older kids, with almost nine out of every ten children aged 13 to 15 not active enough to meet guidelines for physical activity. At the same time, average wage growth has stagnated while the cost of a day out keeps creeping up.

That’s why Ordnance Survey (OS) has published a free e-Book full of outdoor ideas and games that were enjoyed by parents and grandparents when they were young.

Nick Giles, OS Director for Leisure, said: “Keeping children occupied over six weeks in summer is a headache for any parent, or grandparent who may be looking after them while mum or dad is at work during the day.

“Playing on a tablet or video game is a quick fix, but more and more parents are telling us how frustrating this is and how worried they are their children are missing out on the summer experiences they used to enjoy.


“We know that getting outside and active has far greater mental and physical health benefits than staying in and staring at screens for hours on end.

“Plus getting outside with a map and a picnic packed in a rucksack is far, far cheaper than days out to theme parks or trips to the cinema.

“That’s why we’re looking at the past for solutions. Simple games many of us used to play outdoors when we were young haven’t stopped being fun.

“We want to help introduce them to the next generation through our new e-Book and even our maps.”

The free When I Was Young… e-Book is a family guide to summer outdoors.

It contains all sorts of summer games, activities, and ideas from a time before game consoles and tablets.

From creating little fairy dens out of twigs to keep kids interested on a woodland walk, to how to play a quick game of marbles or jacks, there are 43 pages of summer fun crammed into the book.


Traditional OS Maps are another way of keeping children entertained and offer a chance to take the classroom outdoors.

Wherever you are in the country, or wherever you are about to go, you can unfold one and lay it out on the kitchen table together and plan a forthcoming journey.

You can draw your route to the shops, the park, through the woods or to a holiday destination and encourage children to follow it as you walk or drive it.

They can be used to point out landmarks, or just as easily to inspire games or quizzes.

Most importantly, having one can keep you all safe whenever you are out on an adventure.

An OS custom-made map gives you the chance to create your own personal maps for your own travels.

Available in both OS Explorer and OS Landranger formats, you can go online and select an important or special location to centre your map on (whether that be a holiday destination, favourite town or memorable place), and choose the surrounding area for the rest of the print. Then you can select a personalised photo for the cover and give it a special title.

Sitting down and making the map together is great fun for all the family.

Escaping screens is not for everybody. The OS Map App on phones and tablets is another avenue to get kids excited about going somewhere this summer.

Features such as the Augmented Reality Mode, which lets you pan the landscape to discover what hills, mountains, forest or villages are nearby, bring the environment to life.

The 3D fly-through option offers a cinematic birds eye view of routes in the UK. The elevated preview gives you a sense of the height and depths you will experience in real life, and labels points of interest to encounter on your way.

For more ideas and inspiration this summer, click here

You might also like: 10 nature-inspired ways to keep the kids entertained in your own garden 

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