This is a collaborative post
It’s been a great year for outdoor activities. The summer heat may have been a little unbearable at times, but we’ve been blessed by plenty of rain-free days and here in the UK, that’s the most we can ask for! However, as autumn creeps in and the end of September approaches, the evenings are getting noticeably darker once again. Soon, the trees will be shedding their leaves and we’ll be ditching our beach towels in favour of our cosiest blankets.
With that in mind, it’s high time we take advantage of these last few rays of sunshine while we still can! So, pack your family up, head outside, and try one of these brilliant activities.
If you’ve ever been rock-pooling, you’ll know that it’s an incredibly enjoyable way to spend an afternoon. Head to a rocky coastline and use a net to gently lift out and examine the sea creatures that live there — you’ll be surprised at the variety of otherworldly creatures you’ll discover. Nowadays, you can even find rock pooling kits online, but in our opinion, these are an optional extra — the joy of rock-pooling is in its simplicity, after all!
You can find plenty of rock pools along the southeast coast of England, the south coast of Scotland, and the north coast of Wales, but in general, most any beach is likely to have a few rocky crags ripe for exploration. Keep a few things in mind, though. First, rock-pooling can be quite dangerous, so make sure you keep a note of the tide times and wear suitable footwear. Secondly, many rock pools are now classed as protected areas, so make sure you don’t damage the rocks or the creatures inhabiting their pools. Finally, it might be worth packing a few first-aid plasters, just in case. Slipping on a sharp rock can easily cause a nasty cut, so it’s best to be prepared!
Go for a hike
If you’ve got the whole family with you, then walking is one of the most enjoyable ways to get fit, and it’s a great activity if you want to learn more about the natural world around you. Enhance your hike by including a nature identification book in your backpack. The kids will love spotting the native birds, butterflies, and insects as they stroll through one of the UK’s many beauty spots (for a comprehensive list of suitable walks, check out The National Trust’s website).
Once you’ve found the perfect trail, make sure you’re properly prepared with suitable clothing and equipment. Kitting your family out with all the right gear can be costly, but stores like Trespass offer decent-quality waterproof jackets and walking boots at reasonable prices — perfect if you’re on a budget. Remember to take lots of water with you too – even on an overcast autumnal day, it’s easy to dehydrate while hiking. For older children (or if you fancy yourself as a twitcher), a good pair of binoculars is worth bringing along, too. Any old cheap pair should entertain the kids, but if you’re visiting a nature reserve, a pair made for birdwatching is perfect for getting up close and personal with the wildlife.
Go to the park
If you’re feeling a little bored and want to do something different, why not try going to the park? There are plenty of large parks across the UK, along with the usual smaller, family-sized ones. Head out for a simple, leisurely stroll, go on a bike ride, climb a tree or simply sit back and read a book whilst the kids burn off some energy.
No matter where you live, there’s sure to be a park nearby. The best thing about parks is that they’re free to go to and easy to find. They’re also a great option if you’ve got little kids with you who are too young to go to a museum (screaming toddlers and ancient artefacts really don’t mix!), and the best part is that there’s an emphasis on making your own fun, providing a perfect opportunity for your children to use their imaginations (instead of staring at a screen all day — something we’ve blogged about before).
Have a picnic
If you’re looking for a simple family activity that won’t cost the earth, then the age-old British tradition of an outdoor picnic is a sure-fire winner. Picnics are a great way for the whole family to come together and connect with each other. Besides, who doesn’t love an opportunity to enjoy some great food?
Pack up a bundle of tasty sandwiches, fresh fruit, and for the finishing touch, maybe even a bottle of traditional lemonade. Anyone can enjoy a picnic, young or old, so it’s an excellent opportunity to invite the grandparents along, too. When it comes to picnicking, there are a few things to keep in mind. Pick a calm, quiet place where you won’t be disturbed. Second, make sure you pick a place with enough shade for you and the kids to sit in — though as we approach the end of September, this may be less important! Above all though, always make sure you clean up after yourselves — we like to follow the principles of ‘leave no trace’.
The best time to make memories as a family is when the weather is good. And right now, the weather is still pretty great. So take advantage of these last few rays of sunshine while you still can – pack your family up, head outside, and try one of these brilliant activities!
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post