With six weeks of school holidays to fill, now is the time to get out and enjoy the fresh air as a family. Not sure where to start? No worries! The National Cycle Network – cared for by the charity Sustrans* – provides a system of safe and interesting signed paths and routes throughout the UK for walking, cycling and scooting.
From weekend exploring to scenic commutes – and everything in between – it’s a network for everyone, including children of all ages. Looking for more inspiration? Go to the Asda Tour de Fun website where you’ll find lots of ideas for outdoor activities – and indoor fun if the weather lets you down.
Plan your days with free guides and downloads, and discover great places through Asda’s partnership with Sustrans. You can also enter competitions to win great days out and prizes to help you make the most of your summer. Here are some outdoor activities to get you started…
do some cloud spotting
Turn your heads to the sky, take a look at the clouds and take it in turns to ‘spot’ different animals and other shapes. What can you see?
Play 'would you rather...?'
Ask questions such as ‘Would you rather be a rabbit-sized horse or a horse-sized rabbit?’. Take turns to offer other players the choice between two options – the stranger or funnier the suggestions, the better – and see which they pick!
Make daisy crowns
Find yourself in a field with plenty of daisies? Why not try making daisy crowns! You could also have a competition to see who can make the longest chain in 15 minutes.
If you’re near a stream with a footbridge, play Winnie-the-Pooh’s game Poohsticks. On the word ‘go’, each player throws a twig into the water from the upstream side of the bridge, then everyone runs to the other side to see whose stick floats out from underneath it first. Who’ll be the champion?
Eat a teddy bear's picnic
You’ve packed some snacks – now invite some cuddly friends along. Let each child bring along one toy to join in with your lunch.
Make a grass whistle
Although simple in theory, there's a lot of work that goes into making the perfect grass whistle - finding the perfect blade of grass is just the beginning. Then, you've got to master the technique! Kids will be thrilled once they've nailed the techinque.
Take a memory challenge
One of you begins by saying ‘I’m going on an adventure and I’ve seen…’ followed by something you’ve already spotted on your day out. The next player has to repeat the same sentence, remembering that item and adding their own thing afterwards. And so on. Anyone who gets it wrong or pauses for too long is out!
Take photos on your smartphone of the different trees and flowers you spot. What are their leaves like? How tall are they? Then look them up when you get home.
Make a collage
Scavenge for twigs, leaves, flowers and more, then take them home and make them into a lovely woodland-themed collage you can remember the day by. Brilliant!
Hunt for treasure
Make it a treasure trail! Have an adult go on ahead to hide golden chocolate coins along the walk as treats for eagle-eyed kids to find.
Hide and seek
You can’t go wrong with a game of hide and seek! Trees and bushes make great places to hide but watch out for your shadow – it could give you away!
Look around for bushwalk bingo
Give each child a pencil and a ‘bingo card’ (click to download) when you set off on your walk, with a list of 10 things that you’re likely to see, such as a butterfly, foxglove, oak tree and feather. The first child to tick off everything on their card is the winner.
Use your ears
Find a nice, flat spot and all lie down on your backs. Close your eyes tightly and take a few minutes just to listen to the sounds of whatever is around you. Can you hear the birds? Is that an aeroplane? What noises do the leaves make? Talk about what you can hear.
Play 'catch the colour'
Get an adult to call out a colour, then everyone have to run off and find something that colour. The last person to come back is out of the game. Keep going until you have a winner! The key is to make it harder as the game goes on, so start with easy nature colours like green and yellow, then end with harder colours like blue and pink.
Sing songs and tell stories
Find a comfy spot and sit everyone down on a picnic blanket or rug. Then get creative, sing some songs and tell stories. Think of it a bit like a traditional ‘campfire’ activity – but without the camping or the fire!
Go on a bug hunt
Lift a stone or log and see what creepy crawlies lurk underneath – a magnifying glass may help. Count their legs, chat about what you think they eat and get kids to sketch the ones they spot. Then gently put the stone or log back in its place when you’re done.
Take leaf & bark rubbings
Pack a few crayons and some paper to try your hand at leaf and bark rubbing. Place a sheet of paper over your chosen leaf or against a tree trunk or branch, then rub with a crayon to leave a pretty nature print.
Scavenge for objects
Think treasure hunt meets bingo – make a list of things for players to find, such as a fallen leaf, round stone, item of litter to recycle and so on*. Or have each person find one item as fast as possible; vary the difficulty depending on age and ability.
Play 'who said that?!'
One person closes their eyes or covers them with a blindfold, and the rest of the group have to decide on one person to make an animal call. The nominated person then has to guess who made the noise. If they get it right, they keep being the blind-folded player. If they get it wrong, it's the next player's turn.
Take a game of hide and seek to another level. One person hides while everyone else counts to 30. Then the rest of the party split up to go and hunt the hider. When they find them they hide with them, until everyone is hiding in the same spot.
The Quiet game
This is the trump card for restoring peace to a gaggle of squabbling kids! Whoever can stay quiet for the longest is the winner. You’re welcome.
* Sustrans: This summer, Asda has partnered with Sustrans for the Tour de Fun. Sustrans is a charity** and custodian of the National Cycle Network – 16,575 miles of paths for walking, cycling and scooting, spanning the UK. It connects people and places, creates liveable neighbourhoods, transforms the school run, delivers a happier, healthier commute and provides a safe, enjoyable way for everyone to explore cities, towns and the countryside.
Words by Samantha Wood