Summer holiday activities

Children in summer woods - Burntollet Woods
We've got loads of summer holiday ideas for you (Photo: Press Eye Photography/WTML)

The summer holidays aren’t far away, especially in parts of the UK where school finishes at the end of June. We’ve got loads of summer holiday adventures to get kids active outdoors and away from their screens! Discover the natural world on your doorstep and become Nature Detectives this summer.

Create a fairy garden

Use your imagination to design a fantastic fairy garden! You can do this indoors if it’s raining. You will need:

  • A container, such as a plastic box or old washing up bowl
  • Earth
  • A collection of natural materials: small stones or pebbles, sticks, moss, leaves, and perhaps some small flowering plants.

Fill your container with earth (if you’re using living plants, put some stones in the bottom for drainage). Use some leafy twigs to make trees. Build a fence or little seat with sticks. You could even make a pond by sinking a plastic cup or another small container into the earth and filling it with water. You’re bound to think of lots more ideas once you get started!

Set yourself a woodland challenge

Have a competition with your family and friends and set up challenges to complete on a day out in the woods. Remember to decide how many points each one is worth. Here are some ideas:

  • Climb a tree (make sure there’s an adult around though!)
  • Balance along a fallen tree trunk
  • Find three types of flower (our summer flowers ID will help)
  • Cross a stream without getting your feet wet
  • Use our leaf ID to identify three different tree species
  • Find some wild animal evidence – tracks, a fox or rabbit hole, some fur caught on a bush, or even some poo!

Have a look through our Activities for more challenge ideas.

A boy and girl balancing on a log.
Make the woods your playground this summer! (Photo: Jill Jennings/WTML)

Host a teddy bears’ picnic

It’s sure to be a hit with little kids, especially if they can invite some friends from nursery. Use a teddy cookie cutter to make some little bear-shaped sandwiches, and cut out some pictures of bears and hide them in the surrounding area for kids to find (just remember to take them with you when you leave). Don’t forget to sing the Teddy Bears' Picnic song too!

Find more fun picnic food ideas.

Learn to skim stones

You can do this on a pond, river, or calm sea. Don’t get too near the water’s edge and make sure you don’t hit any ducks – or swimmers!

  • Find some round, flat, smooth stones.
  • Hold a stone flat between your thumb and forefinger.
  • Get down low and throw it across the water with a spinning action. It might take a bit of practice.

Tell us how many skips you managed on our Facebook page. The world record is 51!

A family of five skipping stones on a pond.
Have a contest to see how many 'skips' your stone makes! (Photo: Michael Heffernan/WTML)

Try a barefoot walk

Let the grass tickle your toes, splash through a stream, and stomp in some squidgy mud. Did you know you have over 7,000 nerve endings in each foot, so walking barefoot is a great way to get in touch with nature? Just make sure you look out for anything sharp on the ground.

Some parks and attractions have special barefoot trails, so search online for one near you. You could even try setting up a barefoot walk in your back garden or living room.

Go on a butterfly hunt

Summer brings throngs of colourful butterflies. Use our spotter sheet to hunt for fluttery butterflies in woodland clearings!

But if it’s too wet to go outside, why not cheer yourself up with a gorgeous butterfly mobile instead? You will need:

  • several sticks of similar length
  • string or wire
  • paper – coloured, patterned, or white if you want to colour the butterflies yourself
  • colouring pens
  • a needle and some strong thread.

A red admiral butterfly resting on a leaf
Why not use the lovely red admiral butterfly as inspiration? (Photo: Jane Corey/WTML)

1. Cross the sticks over in the middle and fasten them with string or wire to make the frame.

2. Fold a piece of paper in two and draw half a butterfly along the folded edge. Cut around it and open it out. Repeat for lots more butterflies. Decorate them if you wish.

3. Attach a thread to each butterfly using the needle and tie the other end to a stick. Hang up your mobile and admire your cloud of colourful butterflies!

Keep the fun going all year round

Outdoor adventures don't have to stop after the holidays, become a family of Nature Detectives! Keep exploring with seasonal mailings and get even more fab ideas and fun activities, and support our native woods and wildlife at the same time.

Let us know what you’ve been up to in the comments below or on our Facebook page. You can post pictures on Twitter or Instagram using #NatureDetectives too.

What's your favourite summer holiday activity?

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