Great ideas to get you kids up and into the outdoors this spring.
Being in charge of the camera is always fun and gives kids a sense of being in control of the adventure. They can take the pictures they want, of you, of the place or what they are doing, its their call. With the advent of smart phones, you (or a relative) may have an old camera sitting in a drawer – Or you could buy a kids camera for around £25. Once you get home there is also the fun of seeing the pictures they have taken on a bigger screen.
Backpack of goodies
My daughter has always loved having her own small backpack on walks, to carry a teddy or a treasure map. Popping edible treats into the pockets to be discovered on the way is a little bit of magic, spare hats or gloves that don’t weigh too much can go in too. Of course, older kids or the adults can take snacks, or a full picnic to be eaten on the hoof or at your chosen outdoor picnic spot.
Create outdoor nature art with twigs, branches, leaves or stones
Collecting is second nature to children and the outdoors is full of things to collect – pebbles, shells, pine cones, leaves, branches, feathers. You could spell out your names, make fairy houses, create a picture of the view you can see and frame it with branches. These can then be left for others to enjoy and admire and you could take a photo for the scrapbook at home!
Follow an Easter egg trail
Lots of outdoor venues now have Easter Egg trails to follow, we have one here at the Tamar Trails http://www.tamartrails.co.uk/events/easter-egg-trail/
By following the clues you are take out onto the trails and back to the café to collect a chocolatey prize, before they know it kids have walked a mile or so and discovered lots on the way!
It’s amazing how our kids can run, skip and jump for miles if they’re with friends. No moaning about tired legs or being hungry.
The distraction of running around in the outdoors with other children whilst on a walk might even mean that you get an uninterrupted conversation.
If you’re thinking about arranging a play date with school friends, instead of inviting them over for tea why not suggest a walk on a beach or local nature reserve. The kids will love it and you won’t have the mess at home!
Fancy dress for the outdoors
Woodland animals, elves, fairies, even dragons and wizards live in the woods! Kids love to dress up and be at one with the imaginary world around them. You can still wear wellies, which are an absolute must, great for muddy puddle jumps or splashing in rock pools.
Make masks, or buy them as a simple hit for dressing up. There are lots of templates for masks here.
But there is nothing worse than cold miserable kids, so layers always work best for us as they can be stripped off and put back on depending on whether they’re running around and getting too hot or dawdling in freezing wind.
Use the Nature Detective’s activity sheets
For general inspiration and great activity ideas, go to the Nature Detectives website where you can print off free activity sheets. It’s a fantastic resource and well laid out so you can choose activities for separate age groups.
When you come to the Tamar Trails we have a number of our own activity sheets you can pick up for free in the Reception building.
Have a special bag for treasures
When we’re heading off for a walk, we tend to take a couple of sandwich bags for the kids as they love to collect treasure along the way. Shells, sea glass, funny looking pebbles and even crabs legs all make for an exciting treasure bag.
Granny has gone one better and made a simple draw string bag out of some spare material and a piece of nice cord, to make a gorgeous reusable bag.
If we’re having a woodland walk, depending on the season the kids collect different shaped leaves, acorns, conkers and pine cones.