Outdoor fun ideas for the whole family
Going for walks
One of our most favourite outdoor fun activities is to go for a good-old-fashioned stomp. Be it the woods, parkland, commons, gardens or the National Trust. In the woods, we also build dens and find ample hiding spots for playing hide-and-seek. Sometimes the views can be magnificent as we head to local beauty spots. From rolling down hills to climbing trees or skimming stones in streams and going wildlife spotting, there’s no denying that walking can be done whatever the weather. If you’re unsure of where to go then sites like the Woodland Trust can point you in the right direction.
Homemade scavenger hunts can be lots of fun and simple to do. Rather than finding a set of clues as you would do for treasure hunts, scavenger hunts can be based on any theme. Make a list and let your kids set out to find them all. From your home garden or local park, scavenger hunts are brilliant because you only need to take inspiration from what is around you. Just make sure you have pencils and paper – and a stopwatch to see how quickly all the items can be found. From a funny-shaped stick to yellow flowers, red leaves and shiny stones, this really is a fun way to explore and for kids to use their hunting skills.
Book a break that encourages fun family days out
Jetting off to sunny climes during the school holidays isn’t always possible but that doesn’t mean families can’t have wonderful holidays closer to home. Being able to get away from work and school, and spending quality time together is a holiday within itself. Short breaks with Center Parcs for instance during the May half-term holiday offer up a multitude of outdoor activities from treetop adventures and watersports to pony rides and archery. The kids won’t be bored…
Riding bikes is such a great way to cover more distance, as well as give your kids more freedom. From local cycling trails to parks, cycling as a family not only encourages exercise and quality time together, but it’s also great fun. We love racing each other and feeling the breeze on our faces. It’s a great adrenaline rush and even if you don’t own your own bikes there are so many places where you can hire them.
From famous historic homes and garden centres to local farms, you can find activity trails at almost all family-friendly attractions. They’re a great way to encourage kids’ learning and for them to be creative and imaginative at the same time. One of our favourite trails is the Forestry Commission’s Julia Donaldson inspired woodland walks including Zog, the Gruffalo and the Highway Rat, there are many across the UK. Grab the worksheet and off you go…
Head to the beach
There’s nothing quite like being by the seaside. We always love making a family day of a trip to the beach. And whether it’s cold and windy, or sunny and hot, there are always plenty of things to do. Outdoor fun includes long walks or paddling in the sea, getting fish and chips and eating ice cream. And with all beaches, seaside towns have a lot to offer from quaint tearooms to independent shops. The sea air does wonders, including tiring out little ones who seems to sleep so much better after a jaunt to the coast.
If you’ve ever wondered what geocaching is, then let me explain. It’s basically a massive worldwide treasure hunt. Download the Geocache app and then join a community of treasure seekers. Geocaches are containers that have been hidden in 190 different countries. There are millions to be discovered and it’s a fantastic way to find remarkable destinations that you would not have otherwise discovered. And it also turns a run-of-the-mill walk into something much more exciting.
My kids love going bug hunting. My eldest was brought a bug hunting kit a while back and since then we take out the booklet which identifies common insects as well as the equipment to catch them. It’s a fantastic way to explore the outdoors and to get young children used to creepy crawlies as well as teaching them that these creatures are not only interesting but have a purpose in our ecosystem.
* This post was written in collaboration with Center Parcs