With the Summer holiday’s just around the corner (or already here for some lucky kids) for children all across the UK, I thought now would be an ideal time to put together a list of the 15 Top Summer Holiday Wildlife Ideas for Kids. Great for entertaining the kids, oh and they will get you and the children out into the fresh air and away from the TV or computer games.
15 Top Summer Holiday Wildlife Ideas for Kids
I will be doing as many of the 15 Top Summer Holiday Wildlife Ideas for Kids as we can with Bo (and hopefully the boys if they are interested). Each item on the list that we tick off I’ll write up about on here as well, so the list should over time become a set of links to blog posts about these activities (so please do keep checking back here as I’d love for you to follow our progress through out the summer – I’ll place a permanent link from under Encouraging People in the menu above).
As you can gather from a quick glance at the list some of these will be very short, and adhoc, on a day out walking, while others will require some planning and help! But hopefully they will all be fun for the kids. I have also tried to make sure that they are, for the most part, low cost or usually free (why waste money when free fun is all around us).
I’ve tried to include links to various websites where there are more details than I can fit in a single blog post or if there is more work involved that you might need advice on.
So onto the 15 Top Summer Holiday Wildlife Ideas for Kids (sorry this is quite a long post, but you can always bookmark it and come back to read the bits you want to do).
15 Top Summer Holiday Wildlife Ideas for Kids The List:
- Wildlife treasure hunt. [FREE]
- Wildlife scavenger hunt. [FREE]
- Pond dipping.
- Geocaching. [FREE]
- Make a home for nature.
- Make a boat from leaves/twigs to float on the river. [FREE]
- Visit a nature reserve.
- Search for moths by torchlight. [FREE]
- Sugar/wine rope for moths.
- Mini beast hunt. [FREE]
- Camp out.
- Make a found item mobile. [FREE]
- Create a daisy chain. [FREE]
- Visit the British Bird Fair
- Fruit Picking. [FREE]
1. Wildlife Treasure Hunt
|Searching for things is fun|
I’ll be honest I might have the name wrong here, I’m sure there is another name for it, but the idea is to set a list of items that the kids have to spot on a walk out, from an Oak tree to a Mallard, the items on the list can be whatever you like, some should be easy others should be a bit harder, as long as they are a possibility then they will look good. Once seen you then tick them off (bit like the old eye spy books you used to be able to buy).
The other alternative is to create a list of clues for each item on the list, so the kids have to work out for themselves what it might be and then find it, testing bother their ability to identify things and work out puzzles (this may be better suited to older children).
2. Wildlife Scavenger Hunt
This is similar to above but rather than just spot the items they have to collect them. Now of course I don’t mean you need to find wildlife, but add things like a specific type of leaf or a feather or plant etc. simple things that you are likely to find, but something to make a walk slightly more interesting than a simple walk may be to kids.The great thing about these first two is that there is no cost what so ever, and you can do them over and over again.
3. Pond dipping
|Pond dipping fun|
|Searching for a cache (illustrative photo only sorry)|
For those who don’t know what Geocaching is it is a treasure hunt using GPS co-ordinates (a handheld GPS isn’t usually needed most mobile phones these days have the ability and there are plenty of apps out there for this fun hobby) where you search for a small canister or something similar that contains a little note book so you can add your name to signify you have found it. Some of these will be large enough to house small items that you can swap, others will be tiny and really, really hard to find.
For a much more detailed description of Geocaching, please read my guide: What is Geocaching
Oh and again it can be done for FREE!
5. Make a home for nature
If you live in the UK you’ll have seen the RSPB adverts Give Nature a Home, and it really is a great project to get involved in so why not do it in your garden? We have plans to create a small water feature but there are many more things you could do, such as creating a Hedgehog home or a ladybird house etc. There are loads of ideas on the RSPB website.Some building skills and cost is likely to be involved in this idea, dependent on the project that you choose, but it has to be worth it.
6. Make a Boat from Leaves/Twigs to Float on the River
What more fun could you have while out near a river, lake or canal than to use twigs and leaves to create a boat to sale along. If you have no idea where to start (must admit I’m not sure but seems like a great idea) then take a look here: http://www.naturedetectives.org.uk/download/boats.htmThere can be little as enjoyable as watching something you have created (or something your kids have created) go on an adventure and sail down stream. Once you learn to make one you can make loads and have races, hours of free fun.
7. Visit a Nature Reserve
|Bo at Dungeness nature reserve|
With so many nature reserves around the country (sorry I’m thinking UK here, I don’t know what other countries are like) from national ones such as those run by the RSPB (Dungeness, Minsmere etc.) or WWT (Slimbridge, Arundel etc.) to more local ones run by the Wildlife Trusts (who are split into local groups such as the Bucks, Beds and Oxon Wildlife Trust etc.) or even you local nature reserves or country parks, then there is no excuse to not visit at least one over the summer holidays, many can be reached by public transport, so it is always worth checking the local reserves website for details.
Using the reserves hides will allow you to get much closer to nature than you would normally be able to do, and they are usually designed so that the local wildlife will come to you as well.
Members of wildlife organisations (such as the RSPB) will usually be able to visit their nature reserves for free, but the cost to the public usually isn’t that high anyway and getting close to wildlife is priceless so worth the money normally.
8 & 9. Search for Moths by Torchlight and/or Sugar/Wine Rope for Moths
|A Privet Hawkmoth on Bo’s hand|
As you’ll no doubt know I’m a big fan of moths and I have a light trap for this activity but there are other fun ways you could look for moths. I’ve combined 8 & 9 here as they are so closely related, and are really two ways to do the same thing; see moths!Firstly the very simple technique of using a torch and going out in your garden (or local area) and shining it on any flowers you find, there are some plants that are better than others (buddliea for one).
Some good advice can be found here: http://www.angleps.com/Sugaring.pdf You could easily combine this with No. 11.
10. Mini beast hunt
|Lesser Stag Beetle a great find on a mini beast hunt on of my top 15 Top Summer Holiday Wildlife Ideas for Kids|
Bugs, Beetles, Flies and any other mini beast you can imagine can be found everywhere, so why not go on a hunt with your kids and see what you can find.
You don’t need to go far (your garden or nearest spot of waste land or greenery will do, there is bound to be something. A magnifying glass and a book (visit you local library they will have something if you want to keep costs low) may well help to have a good look at and identify what you find.
It is also a great way to introduce new kinds of creatures to children, not everything has to be big and bold, there is an amazing array of wildlife that can be found crawling around almost everywhere. It is also good to teach kids that these creatures aren’t a scary annoyance but are actually really interesting.
11. Camp Out
Kids love a night under the stars, but you don’t have to go to a camp site, if you have a garden you can stick the tent up here, your kids still get to experience sleeping out but with the added benefit of your house being near by. I’d love to suggest wild camping but there are few places that allow you to do this (which is a shame), so I can’t really.If you don’t have a tent it could be costly, but they can be a great investment (I hope to be buying a decent one soon then we can spend plenty of time heading off out at weekends), and if you already have one it becomes another free item on the list.
12. Make a Found Item Mobile
13. Create a Daisy Chain
|Daisies ideal for creating a crown one of my 15 Top Summer Holiday Wildlife Ideas for Kids|
Sometimes the simplest activities are also the most special. I doubt there are many of us who have not created a daisy chain at one time or another (probably when you were kids yourselves in summer holidays or on school playing fields, I know I did) it is fun for all of us and summer is an ideal time to pass this activity on to your kids.
Get out in the sunshine (remembering to wear sun cream, and a hat), find a grassy field and you are bound to come across hundreds of Daisies, Buttercups and the likes. Why not take a picnic and spend some time relaxing and helping your kids create wonderful necklaces, crowns or bracelets.
A simple, easy and best of all FREE activity that is fun for all, and will get you out in the fresh air.
14. Visit the British Bird Fair
|Bill Oddie with the Birding For All team last year|
Ok I’ve thrown this one is as although I won’t be taking the kids to the bird fair I will be working at the Birding For All stand selling raffle tickets so why not pop along and say hi (and buy a ticket, we have great prizes including a pair of Swarovski Binoculars and they only cost a pound a ticket).This is the most costly item on the list (assuming you have a tent) but in the three days that it runs (Fri/Sat/Sun) you will also be able to see some wonderful talks, take part in interesting activities, look through hundreds of amazing stalls (everything from charities to artists) and maybe even meet a famous face or two (last year we had Bill Oddie and Nick Baker visit our stand – they are both patrons – and saw a number of others).
15. Fruit Picking
Towards the end of the holidays you’ll start to notice fruit baring trees and bushes start to become heavy with ripe fruits so why not get out there and see what FREE local food you can find. Kids love this (you could of course visit a pick your own fruit farm, but free is always better) and you’d be surprised what you can find, from the obvious Blackberries to even Figs in some places.A great site to help with this is called Falling Fruit, they list locations all over the world where free growing fruit can be found (the UK needs help so add your findings!).
My only advice is to a) try and pick as far away from roads as possible and b) make sure you wash all that you collect, it’s better to be safe than sorry here. Oh and make sure you are picking from plants in public areas, you don’t want to be pinching from someones garden.
Just think about what wonderful dishes you can make with your found produce!
Thank You for reading 15 Top Summer Holiday Wildlife Ideas for Kids
Finally thank you for reading this list, and I hope there is something on here that you find useful. Be sure to let me know if you do – Just use the comments below. Also If you think of something else that I have missed then please feel free to let me know.
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