Creative Country Walks; How to get the kids more interested

Creative outdoor activities with the kids this Easter

Hi everyone, hope you’re all enjoying the Easter holidays! It’s the second week of the school holidays now in the UK and thankfully the weather has been unusually good to us so far but as the cost of keeping the kids entertained rises and the fact that it is a two-week holiday, why not mix in some ‘free’ creative activities too.

Longer Spring days are an ideal opportunity to get out and about for a country walk and whilst you may get some initial ‘groans’, especially if you have teenage kids, there are ways to make it more enticing.

Firstly, the slight bribery of an ice-cream or some of that Easter Egg at the end will always help! But here are some other ways to make the whole process of getting them out for a walk more interesting and fun for those with little legs!

Here are my top tips.

For the really little ones, Age 8 and under:

  • Get them to carry a small basket or bucket and either give the a list of things to look out for to collect, or let them decide themselves, making it into a treasure hunt where they can use the items later, for example, a fern leaf, unusual pebbles in a stream, a feather, acorns, a dandelion clock, an interesting stick, pine cones, etc
  • Encourage them to smell flowers and describe to you what they smell like.
  • Are there lambs or cows in a field, birds tweeting in the trees? How many are there, ask them to count them and once they return home, make a pie chart with pictures  to record what they saw.
  • If you’re in a wood, stop for a moment and look up, what do you see? The tree branches swaying? Clouds gathering, squirrels jumping between the branches, a bird singing very loudly? What type is it? Can you spot a birds nest?

 

There’s so much to see out there at the moment, up high, on the woodland floor and out in the fields too, and you can’t beat some lamb spotting for little ones!

All the suggestions above are about children (and you) using your senses fully and therefore making it a more mindful experience, and to take your time, the slower you are, the more you’ll see!

When you get home, you can then use the items collected in lots of creative ways, for example;

  • Set them out in a display on the table, let them change it around until they are happy with it. Let them take a photo of the display.
  • Now, they could either use the items in an artistic way, such as a painting, or drawing which creates a great memory of the day for them to put up I their room or kitchen or,
  • They could use some of the words they’ve used to describe the items and create a poem or description or
  • Even better, combine the two, a piece of art with the writing underneath
  • They could also keep their items in a display bowl in their bedrooms, a treasured collection to keep going back to and a lovely memory of the day.

leaf circle  leaf line up

Colourful leaf displays always look really good and easy for little fingers to create

Another great game to play for little ones in the woods is spotting characters faces and shapes in trees or bankings. For example, we have ones that I call ‘Eyes of the woods!’  ‘Screaming pig face’, ‘Monster foot’ and ‘Baby elephant’, see below!

Spot the characters and then encourage them to make up stories about them, and then add in creatures too like squirrels, badgers, an army of ants, blue jays and robins – children can really let their imagination run wild and make up some brilliantly creative stories .

For the older ones…

I’d say it’s always worth going somewhere where older ones and teenagers can explore more physically, such as climbing trees, or making their way across a river; older children like to be more daring!

And whilst I’d normally say leave the phones at home – there are ways you can use them creatively on walks too, such as setting them a photography challenge or using them for geo -caching (basically modern-day orienteering, search for the apps).

P1020290

Here are some other ideas;

  • Big kids still like to be like little kids sometimes, it’s just about re-phrasing it to sound cool! For example, you could change ‘Hide and Seek’ into a ‘Hunger Games’ challenge instead! Just have a clear finishing time and meeting place or you may never see them again! A little freedom is great for older kids and it does them good to explore on their own, providing it’s a safe place that you know well of course.
  • Challenge them to take abstract pictures of walls or old buildings whilst you’re out, they can either blow these up as printed paper images to work on, or copy the patterns by drawing them out – the idea being that they use these then as a back drop for some graffiti images (google for ideas of designs ). They can then paint their designs paint over the top – (tip – rather than buy messy spray paint, you can actually by felt-tip style brushes, that give a painted effect with less mess!).
  • If you have children that are already into art, to give them a new challenge, pick up ‘natural’ objects to paint with as something different that creates unique textures it’s a really fun way to paint! For example, collect teasels, grasses, feathers, leaves and bark to make prints from or literally use as a paint brush to make different marks, Pippa Ashworth is a great artist who uses these techniques, to create an individual style in her paintings.
  • Finally, if all else fails, rope swings, den building and climbing trees always works a treat, providing they don’t get stuck!

IMG_3747      IMG_3748IMG_3793           IMG_9196

This is the stuff of childhood dreams I think, it’s so good for them to get out and play creatively in nature and good for your soul and sanity too.   

And finally, don’t forget the beach!…

If you are lucky enough to get to the coast this holiday, here are some other creative ways to play on the Sand, see photos below provided by my friend Clair from @asocialnature. You can basically use the beach like a giant canvas!

IMG_3751   IMG_3750

Mermaid tales and pebble towers, there are always great creative materials to be found on the beach!

I hope this has given you a few new creative ideas to make getting outside with the kids more fun, and less hard work for you parents, grandparents and carers, with the added bonus of when you get home, you’ll have had some fresh air and calming scenery, they will have hopefully burned off some energy, and you might just get half an hours peace and a well-earned cuppa and cake!

Please do let me know in the comments if you try any of these suggestions, and let me know how you get on!

Until next time…

Juliet, The Curious Creative

P.S I have just 2 places left on my next Playing with Writing workshop if you live close to Huddersfield and would like a fun-filled, creative evening out, on Wednesday 1st May, click here for further information.

3 Comments on “Creative Country Walks; How to get the kids more interested

  1. Hi Juliet, this has been a joy to read thank you. I’m loving your idea of taking a bucket along with us when We take Mia for a walk to collect treasures in, great idea also displaying them when we get back home and talking about them. Thanks for the inspiration. Love Karen xo

    Like

    • Thank you Karen! So glad you enjoyed it and can’t wait to see what treasures Mia finds! 😀⭐️😍

      Like

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