Parenting Article - April/May 22
Exciting outdoor activities that the whole family can find joy in as spring beckons us back into nature.
It’s the season where we can approach the outdoors with confidence – where a flicker of the curtains doesn’t bring about nervous shudders and mental images of trudging across Antarctica.
Family time, anywhere, is important and valuable, but around nature, and when exploring our surroundings, whilst letting the benefits of fresh air immerse our bodies and minds, it can provide some of the very best and most valuable experiences.
Here are six suggestions that will be guaranteed to satisfy enthusiastic young minds.
Foraging is a wonderful opportunity to explore the countryside. Even if you don’t eat anything that you find, foraging still opens young minds to the possibility of self-sustainable living and an appreciation of food in its natural setting. There are also an abundance of ‘pick your own’ farms in the UK, which evades the possibility of eating berries or mushrooms that are not meant for consumption.
Outdoor arts and crafts
Whether gathering shells, pinecones and leaves to create art at home, giving them use of a camera to photograph animals and plants, or even just arming the kids with a plain notebook and some pencils to capture their surroundings, there are many ways in which you can make time outdoors that bit more stimulating for young minds.
Using GPS and a dedicated smartphone app, Geocaching is essentially a global treasure hunt for ‘caches’ – small waterproof containers that are hidden outdoors. Using location coordinates and clues, hunters must hunt out these concealed vessels and upon finding them, either write their name and date of discovery or (in the case of larger caches) swap the trinket within for something else.
Crabbing or bug hunting
Those lucky enough to live near the seaside or a suitable body of water will want to try crabbing. Using a line and bait – crabs love bacon! – you can reel in your catch and place it in a bucket for closer inspection before returning it to its briny haven. If you’ve got no water nearby but lots of greenspace, simply go on a bug hunt instead, cataloguing any minibeasts you encounter.
Britain has an abundance of beautiful countryside, and you can find plenty of walks to suit your ability in either a guidebook of your local area, or online. It’s always worth having a destination in mind… like a picturesque village or a country pub for much-needed libation, or even a secluded place to sit and eat a picnic.
From castle and monastery ruins, iron age encampments and even disused railway lines, open up your map, see what’s around you, and venture out to explore off the beaten track.