The half term holidays begin this Friday, and I am already thinking about ways to entertain my two little ones over the week off school and nursery. We have quite a few plans already, including a trip to the seaside for a few nights, and some planned catch ups with friends. I have left some quiet, unplanned holiday time as well, as it’s good to have this free space and everyone could do with rest time, it is a holiday after all!
One of my main aims over the holidays (and more generally) is to encourage time spent outside, and away from screens. I have nothing against Mia and Joe having tv and computer time, but in moderation. Their weeks are usually so busy that they spend only an hour or two a day with a screen of some kind. I’m sure this would be considered too much by some families, but it works for us, so I am happy with that! Holidays are often when screen time becomes more of an issue, and entire days would disappear in front of screens if I didn’t press the off button. We aim for for screen-free time between 9am and 3pm during the holidays, as this is the time when Mia is usually at school, and it provides a good balance. They get to watch some breakfast tv, then go out for the day, or play at home, and unwind with a little tv or computer in the late afternoon when they are often tired.
So, this leads me onto some ideas for getting outside more over the holidays, to encourage more time enjoying nature, even if the weather awful!
I have created a fun nature treasure hunt for Mia and Joe over half term. It’s a multi-sensory activity, which should lead them to explore, look around in the trees and the grass, touch leaves and listen for birdsong. The treasure hunt items are quite general and most should be possible to find in any setting, with a little time and effort. I chose items that transfer across the seasons too…so you might find a different kind of wildflower in Spring to Autumn.
Some More Outdoors Ideas
- 30 Days Wild – join the Wildlife Trusts by doing something wild every day during June. Their website is full a amazing ideas, and if you sign up they will send you a lovely chart and loads of stickers!
- Eat outside – lunch in the garden, or in the woods, or a pizza picnic for dinner…you pretty much just need a picnic blanket and whatever you fancy eating!
- Forest school activites – there are lots of local nature centres throughout the country and forest school holiday activities continue to become more popular. Take a look at your local Wildlife Trust’s website, and see where they have holiday activities happening. If you are near Oxfordshire I can recommend the Earth Trust, Hill End, Harcourt Arboretum and the Oxford Botanic Garden…all have nature themed activies running throughout the year, and particularly during school holidays
- Grow something – you can grow loads of vegetables or fruit in a really tiny spaces and kids love to do gardening. I’ve had success with baby carrots grown in a small planter on the patio and strawberries grown in hanging baskets. Herbs and edible flowers are also a great option, and make your food extra tasty and pretty! Once you have chosen your seeds, planting and watering them is fun too. Mia and Joe actually argue about who gets to water our garden…so it’s never me!
- Find a bluebell wood – they are magical at this time of year, and woods provide some shelter even if the weather is rainy. I’ve suggested some local bluebell woods to explore here and here.
- Make a bug hotel in your garden – you’ll only need a few old broken pots, sticks, wood, moss…whatever you can gather around the garden, the bugs and beetles will love it.
Puddle jumping – why not! The weather is warm enough now that you and your little ones are not going to freeze if you get a bit wet. Just pop on some welly boots and waterproofs and make the most of the rainy days. Maybe test the depth of those really big puddles yourself first though (speaking from experience!)
I would love to hear your ideas for encouraging outdoors play, and any holiday activities that you have going on!
Please feel free to print the nature treasure hunt for your own personal use. I’ll be sharing it over on Pinterest too!