We're finally past those really tedious first two months of the year, and why not celebrate the coming of spring by getting out into nature? With the right gear, both you and your kids can greatly enjoy a full-day excursion. Here are some tips that will keep your children happy in the great outdoors.
Cold symptoms and coughs can hang around for a very long time. When your kids have watched all their favourite series on repeat and the quarantine biscuits have all gone, they’ll soon start to climb the walls. That’s when it's time for a trip out to the nearest patch of woodland. A trip out lets children get the sun on their faces and gives them the opportunity to release a bit of pent up energy.
But what can you find to do out there among the trees and grass? Here are our tips for books and other things that make a trip just around the corner into a real adventure.
Read the government's guidance on accessing green spaces safely.
You'll find it here
Even if there’s no green space near you, you can still get outside at home. The guys at Get Out With The Kids have teamed up with Coleman to create a HomeCampsite competition. Simply post a photo of your family camping at home, in the garden or even indoors, and tag it #HomeCampsite, to be in with the chance of winning a fabulous tent plus a year’s membership of the Camping and Caravanning Club (perfect for once campsites are open again!) You can find the rules here.
It's always easier to get the children to come along on a nature trip if they know there's something tasty in your backpack. It needn’t be a high-class culinary experience, either – hot dog sausages in a thermos and a packet of biscuits usually do the trick. Everything tastes better when you're sitting on a fallen tree in the countryside than it does at the kitchen table when you're all tired of each other’s company.
You can put hot dog sausages in a normal thermos, but to have room for sausages for the entire family a food thermos is a good idea. You put the cold sausages into the thermos and pour over hot water. When it's time for lunch, the sausages are warmed up and ready to eat. Don’t forget to take a small bottle of ketchup and a bag of rolls.
Children usually think it's fun to carry their own bag. So pack the backpacks you bought for the new school year and which have just been left lying in the hall. The child can carry their own water bottle (a great way to prevent arguments about who drank most water and whose turn it is to drink next). It’s also a great place to put the gloves that often get lost when it's time to pick up pinecones, stones or fantastic sticks. And of course anything the kids find that they want to take home... they carry themselves.
Why not make the trip into a competition? Play nature bingo. Either draw up your own bingo cards together before you go out, or print out ready-made bingo cards from Wildlife Watch, the junior branch of The Wildlife Trusts. Play separately, or divide yourself into teams. Perhaps the children can challenge the adults? Or you can make up teams of a mixture of adults and children. Looking for specific things on your walk means you’ll keep your eyes open in an entirely new way.
Nobody is as bothered by rubbish in the countryside as children are. Take a rubbish bag for each of you and see who can fill theirs up first. While it's rather depressing to see how much plastic waste there is everywhere, the entire family will feel like environmental warriors when you come home with the rubbish and recycle it all correctly.
The most important thing to think about before going out into nature with your children is that you don't need to do much to make it fun. You don't need to get in the car or go to a national park – you just need a tiny patch of woodland near your home. Would you like inspiration for future trips? Take a look at the RSPB's site to see if there are nature reserves in your local area.
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