Playing outside in the fresh air is great for children. Not only does it get them out of the house, they'll also benefit from the exercise and some games can be educational, too. In many cases the outdoor environment is far more practical and more effective for some learning experiences than the indoor environment. If parents and carers can use nature as a resource to stimulate children’s sense of adventure, to build their skills and open children’s eyes and ears to the wonder that is all around them.
Water paint - give your toddler a paintbrush and a pot of water and let him paint 'pictures' on your patio or on a sheet on the grass. Perhaps let him step in a bowl of water and make a trail of wet footprints for you to follow.
Shadow play - on a sunny day, show your toddler how to stand with the sun behind him and make shadow patterns on the ground with his arms.
Wind fun - on a windy day, give your child a length of ribbon and let him run around to make it blow behind him. Or make flags by sticking squares of kitchen paper on lolly sticks and watch them flap in the wind.
Foot power - let your toddler take his ride-on toy to the park.
Look and collect - take a basket when you go for a walk in the park or countryside. Collect interesting bits of natural objects, such as bark, leaves, conkers and acorns to label and display at home. Do the same for seaside jaunts with shells, pebbles and seaweed. First make sure you're not removing anything protected and avoid anything poisonous.
Stepping stones - cut out squares of cardboard and dot them reasonably close together around the garden. Then ask your child if he can walk across the 'stones' without falling into the 'sea'.
Washday - put out a large washing-up bowl of bubbly water and let your child wash his teddy's clothes and hang them on a mini washing line. Or let him pass you the socks in pairs, pass the blues.
Hit the target - put a large bowl on the ground and ask your child to throw a ball in it. If he gets the ball in, ask him to take a step back and try again. See how far away he can be and still hit the target.
Quick challenges - in the park, count how many times your child can hop on one leg, catch a ball without dropping it and jump in the space of 30 seconds.
Skipping - an old-fashioned skipping rope can keep your child happy for ages and you can also use it for wriggling along the ground and jumping over.
Hopping - count how many times your child can hop on each foot, see if he can hop to a certain spot and back; or make up some simple sequences for him (eg three hops on the right foot, three jumps, three hops on the left foot). Hopscotch is also a favourite - draw with chalk on the pavement and use a small stone for throwing.
Ball games - as well as rolling, kicking, throwing and catching (overarm, underarm, through your legs, over your shoulder, around your back), try laying a hula hoop on the grass and throwing the ball so it bounces in the hula hoop each time before you catch it.
Islands - choose some 'islands' (eg, a tree, a bush, the path or a picnic rug) and play a version of chase. When you shout "Land ahoy!", your child has to run to a safe island. If he doesn't reach one before you catch him, he becomes the chaser.
What's the Time, Mr Wolf? - this party favourite can be adapted for two people. You are Mr Wolf and your child has to walk around asking: "What's the time, Mr Wolf?" You answer with various times, but when you shout "One o'clock - dinner time!" your child has to run to safety (touching a particular tree or going behind a line, perhaps). If you catch him, he becomes Mr Wolf.
Walking - if you can, incorporate walking into your daily routine. Walk to school, to the shops, to the library and around your local park. At weekends, think about visiting a large country park or a woodland nature path, and encourage your child to keep walking by collecting things along the way or making a trail of sticks.
Swimming - see if your local pool runs play sessions for kids with floats and water slides. Check out swimming classes, too.
Activity classes - if your finances allow, think about enrolling your child for classes. Try gym, dance, martial arts, football and more. Find out what's available in your area by checking the noticeboards at your local leisure centre or library, contacting your council or looking in your local telephone directory.
Fun in the park - if you have enough space, play tag and other chasing games, have a running competition (on grass only), take a ball to practise throwing and catching, and spend plenty of time at the swings and on climbing frames.
Physical play - if you provide certain games equipment you'll automatically be encouraging your child to exercise. Try a bicycle (with stabilisers at first), a scooter, a football, smaller balls, plastic bats, an ordinary skipping rope, a French skipping rope (like a large elastic band), beanbags or a hula hoop.
Don't be afraid to let the child in you out - play along. Share some of your favourite childhood games, too.
Remember that physical exercise is thirsty work, so always take a bottle of water with you.