Whether learning new activities, discovering a skill, or just jumping in muddy puddles, there are enough reports validating what we already know — the great outdoors is good for, you regardless of age. Take inspiration from campaigns such as the RSPB’s Every Child Outdoors or Springwatch’s Do Something Great to take kids out exploring some of Britain’s natural spaces. Easter is the ideal opportunity to try an organised beach clean-up at Robin Hood’s Bay in Yorkshire or Porthtowan in Cornwall, get involved in woodland restoration projects, or join the Woodland Trust’s Egg-stravaganza trails. There’s also plenty to keep you active in your own garden, such as building a B&B for bees, an insect hotel or a home for a hedgehog.
5 active experiences to try
1. Mary had a little lamb: There’s lambing fun for all ages at Broomhouse Farm at the National Trust’s Wallington estate in Northumberland. Those aged 10+ can get hands-on in Lambing Apprentice sessions, or everyone can ride a tractor to Lambing Shed Live! for bottle-feeding and the chance to see a live birth (booking advised for both). The estate includes woods, moorland and an adventure playground.
2. Wild & trusting: The Wildlife Trust offers a superb series of back to nature events in a comprehensive UK-wide calendar. Choose from ranger walks, junior warden events, nature garden treks, pond and river dipping, family foraging and fishing, how to garden for wildlife and more.
3. For the fun of it: Kent’s Groombridge Place offers Alice’s Circus Adventures, featuring characters from the tale. Also available are birds of prey displays, the chance to run wild in the forest or get lost in the maze.
4. Become a nature detective: Become a Woodland Trust Nature Detective and learn to build a giant bird’s nest, or twig raft, and read up on ‘How to identify trees in winter’ and ‘Where do birds build their nests’.
5. Spring watch: Visitors to the Royal Botanic Gardens in London can engage with its displays from a new angle this spring — the Easter Moomins Festival includes an interactive trail inspired by the works of nature-loving Finnish writer and artist Tove Jansson, Hemulen’s Herbarium (where kids can learn about plants), Easter activity tents and a Moomin Chocolate Hunt on Easter Sunday.
Did you know?
Fewer than 10% of children today play in natural places such as woodlands, the countryside and heaths compared with 40% of children 30–40 years ago.
Source: Natural England (2009) report by a government environmental adviser
Published in the April 2017 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)