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 


Why you should add ‘24 hours outdoors’ to your list of New Year resolutions

Everybody should put ‘24 hours outdoors’ on their list of New Year resolutions.
That’s according to the Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show 2018, whose new research has found that those who camp are happier, healthier, less stressed, and spend more quality time with family and friends.
Research conducted by The Camping and Caravanning Club revealed that 93% of campers agree with the notion that camping makes people feel happier. Nearly half of non-campers also agreed. 97% of campers said camping generates happy memories, while 76% of campers are satisfied with their quality of life compared to just 59% of non-campers. 70% of campers believe camping and caravanning is a good way to make new friends, of which 40% said they’ve made ‘friends for life’. Those who camp say it’s a great social leveller and is accessible to everyone regardless of income.
With The World Health Organisation estimating depression-related illnesses will become the greatest source of ill-health by 2020^, 85% of adult campers feel camping can make individuals healthier and almost half think it should be prescribed on the NHS. Campers aged 55 and over are more likely to regard themselves as fit and healthy for their age than non-campers. 79% of youngsters who have never camped say they would like to go camping and one in three believe camping would make them healthier.
Studies also show that families who camp together have better relationships, with eight in ten campers agreeing that camping brings families closer: 91% of children say spending time exploring the outdoors with a parent would make them feel happy. Children who have camped are significantly more likely to have experienced activities such as kite flying, tree climbing, den-making, and cooking on a campfire.
The campaign encouraging all to spend ‘24 hours outdoors’ in 2018 is endorsed by the world’s greatest living explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes, who will appear alongside other celebrities at the Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show 2018.
Sir Ranulph said: “With the New Year upon us, there’s never been a better time to take charge of your mental health, and one of the easiest ways to do this is to spend more time outdoors in the fresh air. No matter your age, everyone can add a little adventure to their life, but don’t feel you have to commit to long expeditions or wild escapades, a night spent in the garden can work just as well and is also a lot of fun!”
Also supporting the initiative is female-adventurer Anna McNuff, who added: “Getting outside doesn’t have to mean embarking on arduous mountain treks or cycling for hundreds of miles. Heading to your local hill to watch the sun go down, taking a Sunday walk through the woods or spending an afternoon at the local park can do the trick too. All these things will do wonders for your physical and mental health.”
73% of all adults say camping is something every child should experience, with 46% of campers believing camping improves children’s behaviour. Parents who take children camping cite the top benefits as kids’ freedom within a safe environment, an escape from technology and enjoying a simple life outdoors. Other benefits include family interaction, developing community values and social skills as well as the opportunity to explore new places and cultural attractions.
Parents also feel that camping and caravanning has a positive effect on their child’s education, with 82% saying camping broadens experiences, encourages them to think for themselves, gives insight into nature and topics such as geology and provides stories to share in class. 52% of tent users felt that cooking when camping had a positive effect on their child’s learning and 77% of campers say camping introduces new skills. 60% of non-campers also acknowledged this to be true.
The Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show 2018 takes place at Birmingham’s NEC from 20 to 25 February and showcases the latest in leisure vehicles, camping, caravan holiday homes and lodges, as well as must-have accessories. Tickets are on sale now.