I will be honest. I have found this lockdown the hardest of them all. Having spoken to friends and family it seems the feeling is mutual. The rain, the dark evenings, the relentlessness of it all. The pressures of home school. It has all felt too much too frequently.
An adventure in the outdoors has been our saviour. I am strong believer in time outside every single day. Sometimes my boys will look at me like I am losing it. What even in this weather? But it has such incredible powers of positivity. We all know the benefits of getting moving, but it is about so much more than that for us. It improves our moods, makes us smile, sparks our imaginations, gives us things to talk about, opens our minds, lets some light in. And this winter there has been a serious need for all of that, and then some.
And you know, adventure outdoors doesn’t need to be epic. We are not off orienteering or abseiling. There are no day long treks or mountain tops. At the moment, these are small adventures every day all with a big focus on being outside and having some fun. Away from screens, the endless requests for snacks and the shouting about school work.
This is our happy, wild and free time. Curiosity and adventure rule during these hours, and it is bliss (most of the time – I mean they still ask for snacks).
So here are some easy ways to spend some time outside each day and try to make it a bit of an adventure. I do completely get that by now the same walks are becoming a little on the tedious side… and I think these small adventures are good whenever you need them. Not just now, but always. Good for little legs and big imaginations. So even upon the return to school and hopefully some ‘normal’ these are great (easy and free) ideas for enjoying time outside.
An hour of adventure a day – IDEAS!!
- Photography Walk – we have found that turning our walks in to photography walks has been a huge hit, especially for our 8 year old. I try to give him a theme or a check list of things to photograph. A really lovely one was ‘winter’. Rather than us moaning about the cold and the rain we took photos of things that shouted winter at us – frosty leaves, bare trees, puddles etc. This was one of my favourite lockdown walks when I think back.
- Adventure Treasure – this is fab with toddlers and younger adventurers especially (although my 8 year old loves collecting too!) We take a bag or a bucket and collect to our hearts content. You can add a theme, like colours or seasons, or even base it on a story like We’re Going on a Bear Hunt. When you get home it makes for a perfect play session, perhaps with paint or play doh. You might even get time for a cup of tea!!!! We have a fab personalised treasure bag inspired by Ralph’s love of collecting. It is made for small hands and wild hearts.
- Forest School Walks. Every Friday my eldest and I have been heading off for an adventure walk in the woods. We have tried to turn these in to mini forest school adventures, as he loves having a bit of a challenge. Ideas we have tried include using our mini fire lighting kit from the brilliant Den Kit Co, tracking animal prints, building dens, bird watching and identification, tree identification and some wild art (bark rubbings and leaf arrangement for example)
- Outdoor mini camp. When the weather has been kind, we have taken supplies with us and set up a little mini outdoor camp. We try to find somewhere to sit – fallen trees, grassy areas, wherever we can, crack open the hot chocolate and snacks (of course) and perhaps a book or something for them to play with and just enjoy some relaxed time outside. They love the freedom of this and come up with all sorts of things to occupy themselves. Most of these involve mud and climbing…. more washing then boys??!!
- Stick competitions. There is probably nothing in this entire world that my boys love more than sticks. 30 seconds in to any walk and there is inevitably one in their hands. Turning this in to a bit of a competition has been fun. Why is your stick best? What could you use it for? Does it have any flaws? Why is is better than my stick? Many an excellent stick has come home as a result. We have used them for making solar systems, mixing potions, making stick men, making easter displays. You name it. Sticks are brilliant. It is official.
I hope these little ideas spark some adventure for you. Turning walks in to something a bit more fun and varying what we get to talk about has really worked for us, and we will definitely continue to use these ideas beyond lockdown.
Happy Adventuring! Emma and the Adventure Boys x