Only a few weeks left before the children go back to school and you probably have mixed feelings… Love the no-routine, no-clock watching, uninterrupted company of your much-loved offspring (or grandchildren) 24/7 whilst, at the same time, craving routine and order and longing for even just a lunch break away from little people!
To help you preserve your sanity, we’ve taken inspiration from the National Trusts wonderful 50 Things to do Before you’re 11 3/4 and from our own experience to give you our Top 10 Activities for (the remainder of) the Summer Holidays - all based outdoors, of course!
- Take an Outdoor Shower
The weather is the weather so how can we turn torrential downpours into a positive?
Grab your swimmers and have an outdoor shower in your outdoor space! I guarantee the children will remember this joyous and thrilling nature bathing for their lifetime. The more torrential the better!
- Explore your Surroundings.
Task yourselves to visit as far as you can see from your home - the perimeter of your view. It’s so good if children have a sense of themselves in their environment, be it urban or rural. This is easy to do using a map app or Ordnance Survey do a great bespoke map with your home at the centre. Being a tourist in their own environment will give children a whole new perspective.
- Make a Nature Crown
Humans have created and worn crowns since ancient times and making and wearing your very own, handmade crown can feed and fire your imagination!
Find a willow or hazel bush/tree and select a straight green shoot approx. 1.5 metres long. Form a head sized hoop by twisting the wood around itself and secure the end with some string. Collect natural objects and secure them to the crown between the twists. The wood will dry out and maintain its shape for a long time and more adornment can be added as and when.
- Go Blackberry Picking and Make Blackberry Ice Cream
Foraging for food is so satisfying and this very easy ‘no churn’ ice cream recipe has only 3 ingredients so children can be involved from start to finish. If you want to tire them out, you can use a hand whisk to thicken the cream!
- 250ml double cream
- 120ml canned condensed milk
- 200g Blackberries
- Pick your blackberries, wash them and remove any unwanted bits. Pat them gently with some kitchen paper and then crush them in a bowl with a fork.
- In a large bowl whisk the double cream to soft peaks (not too stiff as it will turn into butter)
- Gently add the condensed milk whisking until combined
- Fold in the blackberries
- Tip into a silicone or plastic lidded container or a foil lined loaf tin
- Freeze for at least 4 hours
- Remove from the freezer 10 minutes before serving to soften.
- Dam a Stream
Bare foot or in wellies, damming a stream is guaranteed to keep children of all ages engrossed for hours. It’s actually civil engineering!
- Make a Small World/Miniature Fairy Garden
A tin lid or baking tray and a selection of materials is all you need to get them started. Soil, sand, recycled mini pots (in case they need a pond) and some twine will help. They can forage for mini trees, pebbles, shells, mosses, flowers, and anything else to create their miniature world. Add dinosaurs or fairies.
- Den Building
If it’s raining all the better! Make a shelter to protect you from the rain. Add a battery powered lamp/ fairy lights if it's delightfully gloomy and some blankets then snuggle down, safe from the elements and just listen to that rain.
- Cook on a Campfire
Outdoor cooked food always tastes better and can be as simple as toasted marshmallows or more adventurous. Wrapping bread dough round a stick and cooking it over the fire is a winner (use a packet bread mix for ease). We love popping corn in an old pan (with a lid) on the fire too.
- Make Magic Potions
Just provide water and containers. The children will do the rest. They could make a magic wand from a stick too to cast their spells. Use a potato peeler to scrape off the bark and decorate the exposed surface with coloured string, charcoal, and grasses. Magic!
- Bugs, Bugs, Bugs
Guaranteed to delight and always readily available. Children will love creating a mini beast zoo, exploring their own environment to be amazed at how many different mini-beasts they can find. They could also build a bug habitat/hotel with recycled materials to help the little creatures stay safe over the winter.
Remember that children don’t need hours of your time or expensive days out to create beautiful memories – sometimes simplicity is best!
Fresh air, weather and the wonder of nature has inspired our Top Ten Summer Holiday Activities. We hope you love them as much as we do – we love seeing what you get up to so don’t forget to tag us @denkitco.