Get out, you just gotta. And so do they.

Exploring the great outdoors via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

Exploring the great outdoors is like letting your children lose in a really healthy sweet shop – it’s fun, things get a little crazy and everyone has a smile!

Having just come back from Disney World, money is tight. I’m talking like Yorkshire man in a shop tight – we are back to the old “sorry sweetheart but you’re going to have to wait for Xmas” shpeel, and I think after such extravagance that will be good for the boys.

Obviously now Autumn is in full swing, we’re starting to think about getting out and enjoying the countryside in a different way to all those fun things we did in Summer. I genuinely think that Autumn is one of the best (if not THE best) seasons to get out and about with children – there is such an abundance of things to learn, and I have to admit there really is no better place to visit than the Great British countryside. Having lived in the countryside all of my life, I love to visit the cities but for chilled out weekends with the kids and having lots of fun; the countryside offers plenty (and most of it’s free!).

I’ve talked frequently about the benefits of getting children outside, as some of you may know, Reuben goes to a Forest School, which I’ve also written about. One aspect of getting out and about with your children that I really haven’t discussed is how good it is for YOU. Getting out, especially when you feel the weight of the world is on your shoulders and you are feeling that maternal pressure to succeed, but really don’t believe you are succeeding with anything, is imperative. Not just for the kids, but for you. I can’t tell you how often I go to the corner shop in town with the kids and think “I’ll just get one carton of milk today as it will give me an excuse to walk down tomorrow”, even that small trip makes so much difference. With World Mental Health Day taking place this week, it really got me thinking about how we should be shedding the shame of depression and anxiety – something that rocks it out hand in hand with motherhood in so many women’s experiences – and encouraging people to get out with their kids, without breaking the bank, but allowing them that breathing space.

My family and I are lucky enough to live in the heart of some of Yorkshire’s most gorgeous countryside and it is a fantastic place for my kiddo’s to grow up – though they might not agree so much when they hit the terrible teens and I have to become mum’s taxi! It’s also a blessing for me, because those walks don’t have to involve a trip to the shop, they can involve heading out on a nature trail – where I feel I have achieved something as a mother because I can see that my children have really enjoyed being outdoors and finding the things around them. Of course getting out does nothing for my washing machine – for some reason young children are attracted to gigantic puddles, especially muddy puddles. Don’t ask me why, it’s like a magnet for them (maybe it’s that bastard Peppa pig), but ultimately for the sake of my mental health and their well being too, I will take the devilish laundry pile.

One thing that also rarely gets touched on is the mental wellbeing of older children – not only do children learn better when they are able to explore and indulge their imaginations outside, but they FEEL better mentally. I often worry about Reuben, he is the oldest and often I feel my attention is taken by his demanding younger sister, whilst I expect too much of him – better cooperation, less temper tantrums, understanding beyond his years. Being outside allows him to run, to jump, to splash in puddles, to be a dragon if he wants to be or a transformer. It allows him to be a child without expectations or pressures and I truly believe that allows him to learn better.

If there is anything you do this Autumn, get out of your house. Go blackberry gathering – and make blackberry vodka like I’m doing this weekend (note: this little tipple here and there also helps with the pressures of motherhood, especially if shared with girlfriends, just saying), or collect apples for a baking session that Mary Berry would be proud of. Go on a nature trail, walk to the shop and point out the cars as they go past – counting them or saying their colours. Everything in the great outdoors is a learning experience and through that you may just find the mental breath of fresh air you need.

H x

*In collaboration with Espplay.

31 Comments

  1. October 16, 2016 / 7:35 pm

    Oh I totally agree – my mental health has really improved since we got a dog and I started walking him 2/3 times a day.

  2. Hannah
    October 15, 2016 / 4:18 pm

    I love being outside (I’m actually writing this comment from outside) x

  3. October 13, 2016 / 10:46 pm

    It’s so good that you have some nice countryside to explore with the kids x

  4. October 13, 2016 / 10:07 pm

    I should definitely make a point of spending a lot of time outside this Fall. It’s surprisingly refreshing and invigorating every time.

  5. October 13, 2016 / 9:40 pm

    Getting outside at any age is really great – it sounds like you have some lovely places near you to do that!

  6. October 13, 2016 / 9:04 pm

    I absolutely agree. Getting out and about in the fresh air is such a tonic.

  7. October 13, 2016 / 7:14 pm

    I used to help at the local wildlife centre with the kids activities, over autumn we always did some great ones – I remember carving pumpkins, searching for animals and all sorts – something I really miss with my mobility being so bad these days. x

  8. October 13, 2016 / 7:10 pm

    I’m from London and didn’t really have an understanding of country life until I moved to Kent, now I absolutely adore going on long walks and you are so right, it makes you feel so much better getting back to nature and just experience the outdoors, especially this time of year 🙂 great post! xx

  9. October 13, 2016 / 4:02 pm

    Couldn’t agree more. Even as an adult, I still notice the different in my mood if I don’t get out or not.

  10. October 13, 2016 / 12:06 pm

    I totally agree. I have a 5 month old and somedays I just need to go out for a walk, especially if I’m having a tough day. It always helps to clear my mind x

  11. October 13, 2016 / 12:00 pm

    It’s a very true thing to just be able to get out the house, I once had such a problem with that and sometimes it can still be a struggle. It was never always like that as a child I was one of few in my close allowed to play outside with the others who were allowed and I never wanted to come in – even into my early adulthood but my 20s everything changed and I can be the complete opposite. If I’m fortunate enough to have children I’ve had both worlds and know which world would benefit my child best especially for their mental wellbeing. I think it’s so cool Reuben goes to a forest school, just peeped your other post about it, amazing concept x

  12. March 24, 2016 / 10:47 pm

    We are doing a few staycations this year in Devon and Wales. I’m so excited for both of them. Great article and I love your little one’s shoes, so awesome! X

    • Harriet March 25, 2016 / 1:00 pm

      So exciting! I’ll look forward to reading about them! H x

  13. March 24, 2016 / 10:16 pm

    I can’t wait to move and live more in the countryside, it looks like your little ones have great fun and are making amazing memories! xx

    • Harriet March 25, 2016 / 1:00 pm

      They do Lisa – they love it xx

  14. March 23, 2016 / 6:21 pm

    We’re planning Florida next year too. This year we’ve got Center parcs and then as we live in Dorset we’ll be making the most of the beach and the new forest.

    • Harriet March 23, 2016 / 10:31 pm

      Oh wow – we live near the beach too and we have Dalby Forest, so it sounds like we’re really similar! H x

  15. March 23, 2016 / 3:04 pm

    I am all about staycations, we’ve had some brilliant ones over the last few years. We love going down to Devon, especially. I think children truly come alive when they’re in the great outdoors. It’s clear to see how good it is for them. 🙂 x

    • Harriet March 23, 2016 / 10:32 pm

      Oh sounds lovely! I love being outside in the country with the kids xx

  16. March 23, 2016 / 12:35 pm

    I’ve never been to Yorkshire but I think it looks beautiful. I’d love to go. X

    • Harriet March 23, 2016 / 10:32 pm

      Thank you – it is beautiful up here 🙂 H x

  17. March 22, 2016 / 6:54 pm

    We are huge outdoor lovers. I think so much fun can be had locally if you look for it as going abroad just isn’t possible for everyone each year. I think when Amelia’s a little older she’ll definitely need some walking boots to keep up with our walks x

    • Harriet March 23, 2016 / 11:34 pm

      Yes Alice walking boots are a must when they get older – purely to help with squishy mud 😉 H x

  18. March 22, 2016 / 5:24 pm

    Were having our first ‘big’ holiday this year! our two are nearly 7 and nearly 5! can’t wait 🙂 we’ve always done the british holiday and loved it every year.. you can’t go wrong with the countryside and safari tents! thanks for sharing hope you have a great break 🙂

    • Harriet March 23, 2016 / 11:49 pm

      Oh wow! So exciting! Have the most amazing time – looking forward to seeing your post about it later in the year! H x

  19. March 22, 2016 / 4:10 pm

    I LOVE the countryside. I moved to the city from a farm 6 years ago, and as much as I see my future in the city, I still love escaping to the countryside every few weeks. And obviously visiting my animals again x

    • Harriet March 23, 2016 / 11:49 pm

      Oh lovely – see I sometimes wish we could move to the city, but then I would miss the countryside! H x

  20. March 22, 2016 / 12:41 pm

    We love spending time outside we have quite a few lovely places to go for walks nearby which makes it all the more fun.

    • Harriet March 23, 2016 / 11:52 pm

      Oh that is so nice Joanna! I love where we live for the fun things and places around us H x

  21. March 22, 2016 / 12:17 pm

    I expect you can guess that I’m super excited to know you’re planning on a magical visit to Florida with your delightful family next year!! Lovely post & cute pictures 🙂

    • Harriet March 22, 2016 / 12:20 pm

      Thanks Jane – I can’t wait!! It’s a lifelong dream of mine, so I’m beyond excited!! x

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