As the weather improves, now is the perfect time to get out into our gardens and enjoy some family time together outdoors. It can even be educational too!
Below we share some of our favourite outdoor activities, from growing tomatoes to becoming a nature detective.
Planting vegetables and fruit is a great way for kids to learn where they come from. They will be able to watch the plants grow and take part in nurturing and caring for them. Home grown vegetables straight from the garden also provides some of the freshest ingredients for your family to enjoy.
If you’re new to growing vegetables we'd suggest tomatoes, runner beans and onions. They’re the easiest to grow and help keep the kids interested as they don’t take as long to grow as some other vegetables.
You don’t need a big garden either to grow vegetables, tomatoes can be grown in a pot on a balcony or even grown in a hanging basket!
For tips on what and when to grow, we’d recommend visiting the RHS Grow Your Own page.
Camping and marshmallows
As the weather is now getting warmer, camping is a great way to get back to nature. Of course, we can’t go to a campsite right now, but we can camp in our gardens. It’s also a bit more like glamping, with easy access to the house, especially a bathroom!
We'd recommend getting the tent sent up in the afternoon, then after dinner you can settle down in the garden. If you have small BBQ, toasting marshmallows is a great treat for a pudding. After eating, now is a good time to switch off from phones and tablets, and get ready to read stories to the kids as they slowly drift off to sleep.
If you haven’t got a garden, then why not build a den in your house out of cushions and sheets? It’s still great fun to do.
Here are some top tips on the perfect camping trip without leaving the home.
Become a Nature Detective
There’s plenty to discover in nature and one way to explore it is on your daily family walks. On just a short walk you can see trees coming into life, flowers bursting into colour and birds singing their morning chorus song.
The Woodland Trust have come up with some great tools for kids to use when they’re out exploring nature, from identifying different leaves and twigs to the types of flowers found on trees. Don’t forget for kids to use their senses too – listen to the trees blow in the wind, smell the flowers (from daffodils to blossom trees) and touch the bark on the trees.
Stargazing at Night
The night sky is full of stories and curiosities and with summer on its way there’s the opportunity for both young, and old to discover what lies beyond the starry skies. Preparation is key, a clear night sky and plenty of provisions to make it an exciting evening, such as blankets to keep warm, space themed treats like constellation cookies and if you’re not too familiar with what lies above us, we’d recommend a Stargazing App to help the kids explore. If you don't want an App, the BBC have a great stargazing activity kit to download from their website.
Now just sit down or lie back and discover what the sky has to offer, let the imagination flow…
Pebble or rock hunting for painted rocks has been a huge success across the country, however, it’s not as easy now with everyone being at home. Instead go for your daily exercise with the whole family, especially while the weather is lovely and sunny, to find some non-painted rocks and bring them home for your kids to decorate.
They could paint and transform them into animals or characters, from our own Bertie Bat and Fifi Fox to their favourite animal or colour. We’d recommend giving them a good clean first and let them dry in the sunshine before painting them. The BBC has some great tips for painting rocks.
Afterwards, the rocks can be used to play games such as noughts and crosses or to add a little more colour to your garden or the kid’s window sills.
Picnics in the garden
We can’t have a picnic in the park or on the beach at the moment, but that doesn’t stop us having one at home in the garden, or even in the house if don’t!
The kids can help with preparing the picnic, from making the sandwiches to helping bake some delicious cupcakes - red velvet with buttercream are a favourite. Set up your blanket wherever you’re having your picnic, bring some pillows for extra comfort and all you need to do now is tuck into your delicious food. We'd recommend some games too, like hopscotch and hoopla.