As the summer holidays approach, families in rental homes may be thinking about how to get their children away from the electronics and into the fresh air.
According to a report by Ofcom, more than half (53 per cent) of three to four year-olds are now online.
That increases to 79 per cent for five to seven year-olds and 94 per cent of eight to 11 year-olds.
And shockingly, some 99 per cent of 12 to 15 year-olds are also online, which means many children’s time doing something other than watching screens is inevitably compromised.
Even if you do not have a lot of outside space in your rental home there are still steps you can take to encourage your youngsters to spend time out in the fresh air.
Invest in some garden games
These don’t have to be expensive and can also be suitable for smaller spaces such as courtyard gardens and balconies.
Get their hands dirty
Encourage them to grow their own flowers, vegetables or fruit.
Again, you don’t necessarily need much space and you can do this in a rental home by planting in containers.
Invest in some simple seeds and potting compost and then consider recycling old pots, pans and buckets to make planters.
If you want to splash out a bit more, try something like a children’s planting and potting table.
Out and about
Packing a picnic and heading to the park is usually a hit.
In addition to taking footballs, frisbees and skipping ropes etc you could also start an outdoor summer project to last through the holidays.
Invest in a sketch pad and some pencils, and encourage them to seek out and draw interesting plants and trees.
Perhaps suggest keeping a summer diary in an exercise or scrapbook.
They could cut out and attach the drawings they have made and also stick in other summer memorabilia, such as train tickets from day trips to the seaside.
Finally, if you can’t remove their phones from their hands, then set them a photography challenge.
See how many different flowers they can photograph and suggest they look them up to identify them when they return home….