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5 activities to encourage the kids outside

Struggling to get your children outdoors, or looking for more seasonal activities? We spoke to Hayley Bisofsky-Pope from The Little Naturalists Club for some ideas to make the most of our daily exercise.

Hayley is the founder of Newquay based The Little Naturalists Club, a monthly subscription box to encourage families to get outdoors and make meaningful connections with the natural world. Each box comes filled with activities and ideas for getting outside – we know everyone (or is that just me?) is struggling in this weather to get their kids outside everyday, we thought we’d seek out her advice. Also, win a three-month subscription!

Learn to forage

Each month we encourage families to go out and forage for something new. Despite winter not offering much in the way of flowers there is still plenty of other things around to forage. The foraging process will take you on a fun journey, possibly to places that you’ve never been to before, as you go in search of a new fruit or flower, plant or mushroom.

Children make the best foragers and it gives them a real sense of accomplishment when they do eventually find what they’re looking for. When they go home and dry their produce and then process it in a recipe that they can enjoy with families and friends they never loose that lesson and connection. It’s a great learning experience and time outdoors flies when you’re on a treasure hunt looking for a new plant.

A good field guide is worth investing in and remember to never consume anything unless you’re 100% certain that you can positively ID what you’ve found. 

Become a tree guardian

You don’t need to travel far before coming into contact with a tree but do you know what type of tree it is, when it was planted and what kind of wildlife it supports? Once you’ve identified it you can look for ageing charts online to figure out how old it is. Take bark rubbings, draw the buds on its twigs and write stories of all the things the tree may have witnessed in its lifetime.

A walk down your street will take on a different meaning and feeling once you’ve made these kinds of connections with just a couple of trees that share your street with you. 

Build a pond

If a few weeks time the frogs, newts and other wildlife will begin to wake from their winter dormancy. Upon waking they will go in search for a pond to feed and mate. Now is a great time to build a small pond in your garden using a wash basin or old butlers sink and allow it to fill with rain water. Fill it with some aquatic plants and watch the wildlife move in.

Children will feel they have some ownership over the space and become obsessed with watching the creatures that inhabit it. Place logs and bricks around the permitter to provide housing for frogs, plant reeds and grasses to attract dragonfly and don’t forget to put a little ramp in there too so that any hedgehogs or other small mammals can escape. 

Get your veg patch ready

Clear a little patch of garden and build a small planter out of some pallets and cardboard. This can then be your veg patch that children can watch change through the seasons. You could grow veg in it, flowers, herbs or maybe even go down the medicinal route. It won’t be long before you can get tomatoes or edible flowers started inside for planting out later in the season when the soil warms up. Simpler yet you can grow herbs in seed trays on your window sill and enjoy eating what you’ve grown.

Do a scavenger hunt

Make every daily walk a treasure hunt. Compile a list of things for your child to find. It could be as simple as focusing on a colour and asking them to find 5 things that are orange or you could focus on the sense and ask them to listen out for 10 different animal sounds or 10 different textures. 

Or, you could try my tried and tested approach this week which worked for at least two walks… hand out litter pickers and promise a treat for the first person to collect a full carrier bag full. Horrifyingly this took far too little time.

We’re offering one lucky winner the chance to win a three month subscription to The Little Naturalists Club along with an Explorer Board.

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