With the summer holidays slowly creeping up, I expect that your kids are looking forward to being free from school and all things educational for six weeks! Despite this, I know that many parents are keen for their children to not completely switch off over the break and are looking for ways to keep their kids stimulated while still keeping them entertained. This is why I think that the Woodland Trust’s Nature Detectives initiative is so fantastic. It encourages kids to head out to their local wood with their friends or family and teaches them to explore and appreciate the UK’s breathtaking forests. It’s a great idea if you don’t happen to have a beach nearby, or would like your kids to do a little more than build sandcastles! While you’re out and about, there are so many activities you can get your kids to take part in. Junior Magazine had some great ideas, like collecting nuts and berries to see if animals have been feeding, listening to the sounds of wildlife or searching for nesting holes and animals’ homes. If your children love their household pets, then keep an eye out for squirrels, birds and even foxes, but if they like all things creepy and crawly, look under rocks or in logs for the bugs and insects that they love. The Woodland Trust actually have an amazing activity book that you can download and print off; it’s packed full of incredible arts and crafts ideas, as well as inspiring writing and even poetry. It has tick lists to encourage kids to look out for everything from butterflies to litter as well as pages to draw leaves and pages to think of the best things that they’ve heard, smelt, seen or tasted. It’s perfect for kids who maybe need a little encouragement to be creative, and a lot of the pages will get your kids to stop and actually take in their surroundings.

Of course, the fun doesn’t stop when you get home. You can use a bucket like Egmont’s colourful Enamel Bucket to collect lots of interesting leaves, stones, pinecones and more for fun arts and crafts projects. Djeco’s brilliant Classic Gouache Paints are ideal for painting pinecones or stones to create wonderful decorations or gifts. You could even collect leaves, moss and bark to decorate Calafant’s Build Your Own Treehouse kit. Whatever your child’s interests or hobbies, there’s something for everyone in your local woodland that will both educate and entertain in equal measures. Not to mention that they’re often a lot quieter than and not quite as busy as your nearest beach will be in the sunshine! If you have any local woodland that you love to visit or would recommend to other parents, let us know! You can comment below, share them with us on Facebook or tweet them to us on Twitter!
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