Eight outdoor adventures to do with kids

Go on a wild walk

Venture outdoors with your child to see what you can spot in your local area. 

Look for signs of life: birds in the trees, new flowers at the park and so on. Encourage your child to use all their senses, and talk about what you're seeing, hearing or smelling together.

Bring a bag to collect 'very important' twigs, leaves, feathers and so on, or even a camera to take close-ups of what you see.

If you're feeling especially imaginative, you could even pretend to be Peter Rabbit, Lily and Benjamin exploring the woods - but watch out for Mr MacGregor!

Tools and tips:

  • If you're unsure what to look out for, this nature calendar tells you what's happening in the natural world in each season.

Make your own museum

Children love collecting treasures when they're out and about - even if it sometimes seems as if they're compiling the world's largest museum of gravel! When you're out in the park or garden, get them to compare the shapes of the things they find, or arrange things by size. 

Have a colour walk and ask children to look for items of a certain colour or type. A painted eggbox (one compartment for each colour or type of object) makes a great collecting box or display case, and it might just stop your windowsills resembling a compost heap!

Tools and tips:

Build a den

There's nothing like having your very own den (though us grown-ups have to make do with a shed, garage or, if we're really lucky, a locked bathroom door these days!) - but building camps and cubbyholes indoors or out can be an architectural challenge for parents. 

Whether you go for pillows and blankets, washing on the line, or a twig-based mini-den masterpiece, these tried and tested construction tips and ideas will make you a den-builder extraordinaire. Are you (and your little ones) brave enough to tackle an outdoor build?

Tools and tips:

Play Pooh Sticks

Follow in the immortal footsteps of the game’s creator, Winnie-the-Pooh, and of course our very own Katie Morag (plus Mrs McColl and Grannie Island!) with a game of Pooh Sticks. You will need a stick for each player, a stream and a footbridge. The object is to be the player whose stick emerges first from under the bridge.

Any additional rules or stick customisation techniques are completely up to you – tell us about your own version of the game on our Facebook or Twitter pages!

Tools and tips: 

Have your own minibeast adventure

They might be creepy crawlies or garden pests to you, but your little one will be fascinated by the creatures that live in your own back yard. 

Lift a stone or look under a log to see what minibeasts you can find – you don’t need to cover lots of ground, try looking closely at one small area. Show your child how to use a magnifying glass, and ask questions to get them thinking about the creatures you see – can they see its eyes? How many legs does it have? How do you think it eats?

Tools and tips:

Make friends with a baby animal

The arrival of spring/summer is a great excuse to visit your local farm or pets area and introduce your toddler to a wide range of animals, feed the ducklings in the park, or even turn your back garden into a welcoming wild diner…

Tools and tips:

Eat outdoors

The summer months are a great opportunity to initiate your little one into the joys of al fresco eating.

Outdoor eating has the enormous benefit of making spills less of an issue, and small children will often be more willing to try out new foods if they’re eating outside, when fresh air and running around has worked up an appetite. Try taking a mini picnic or snack to the garden or park.

Tools and tips:

Get set and grow something

Whether it’s cress heads in a yoghurt pot, a windowbox full of herbs, their own plot in the garden or helping Granddad on the allotment, children love to grow things, and it can be a wonderful way to learn about caring and nurturing. Have you got sunflowers on the go this year, or are your little ones trying to grown their own food? Here’s how to survive gardening with kids…

Tools and tips:

  • Gardening basics (what you need to know if you're not green-fingered yourself).
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