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Summer adventures with kids

I love the Summer. Ever since I was a child that notion of a long holiday with friends and family has filled me with joy. I love long days where you can actually make the most of the evening and be spontaneous like you can’t at other times of the year. Of course as a child those summers felt like they would go on forever with endless days of sunshine and ice cream. Not quite the same as an adult with work and childcare and general insanity thrown in the mix… but still lovely. And nothing I love more than watching my boys roll around on the beach like they have all the time in the world, and as if Summer will last forever. It is the best, and just how it should be for them.

As a parent it can all be a bit daunting though. The management of it alongside work, and the cost (!!) can feel overwhelming, and we put soo much pressure on ourselves. It cannot be perfect and action packed all day everyday. So here are some of our favourite adventures which work really well in the summer, and hopefully that don’t take too much planning or money!

Summer adventure ideas:

  1. Bike Rides. Pretty self explanatory but this always works really well with our boys. A good bike ride with a picnic or some snacks means we can spend a nice couple hours getting outdoors, getting some exercise and exploring an area with a picnic stop. You can go from your door or travel somewhere new and it gives them a real sense of being in charge of their own adventure. Great with friends too.
  2. Picnics. One of Ralph’s absolute favourite adventures. You can have themed picnics, picnics in the garden or local park, picnics at the beach, in a den, in the woods, on top of a hill. You name it. They can help pack the picnic or shop for it, or bake for it. We have also done country-specific picnics, so think French or Italian etc and that makes for a bit of interest and fun too. Endless possibilities for adventure. Ooh and teddies welcome too.
  3. Woodland adventures. This is another firm favourite for us. We are lucky to have a number of woodland areas near us so we often head to the woods if we have a morning or afternoon free. It is great for spending some time outdoors and letting them use their imagination. We did it in the Easter holidays and my 10 year old still says it was his favourite day of the holidays. I think the simplicity and the freedom it allows them to go off and explore is a really positive thing. It allows them to properly be kids and play and climb. It always leaves everyone in the group really genuinely happy. Building a den is always a great challenge, or creating hideouts for fairies or dragons. Climbing trees and finding rope swings are always bonuses for our boys and the muddier they get, the better the day has been! Finding different mini beasts and exploring their habitats is great, and there is always time for a picnic.
  4. Beach trips. It won’t feel like summer without a trip to the beach. We are very lucky in Devon to be able to access lots of beaches relatively easily and I know that isn’t always the case. But if you can, then this is the perfect summer adventure. We tend to either head there early for a couple of hours and leave before the crowds and heat, or later in the afternoon and stay in to the evening. It is a lovely time of the day, quite and lovely and warm and perfect for a swim to cool off! Well if there’s been sunshine of course…
  5. Local attractions. There are some great low cost or free local options in this part of Devon, and I am sure this is the case elsewhere. I try not to do too any ‘paid for’ adventures as it all just gets too much, but some interspersed with our other adventures work well. We have ideas like sunflower picking, a maize maze, swimming, outdoor obstacle course, local farm, canoeing, local museum, cinema and a train trip on our list of summer ideas. We also love the National Trust, and as members this offers a great cheap day out with loads of opportunities for adventure. Properties often have special Summer activities or trails for children.
  6. Outdoor swimming pools. This has become a massive one for us recently. My eldest is a total fish and loves to get in the water at any opportunity. Our youngest is not very confident at all. So outdoor pools have been a way of trying to build his confidence and enjoy the summer at the same time. A number of them near us are heated and at a fairly low ticket cost, so these work brilliantly. An hour of swimming and some outdoor picnicking afterwards is a brilliant half day of adventure.
  7. Trails. We have spotted a few local free trails for kids, which would be a brilliant way to see a new area and get them to walk further without realising! Exeter has a lovely one where you have to locate models of dogs, and Bristol had a lovely adventure pet themed trail. We have also done a number of Treasure Trails as these are a great way to explore somewhere new and get the children involved. They are relatively cheap and you can do them with a group of friends or family.
  8. Colour Hunt. A colour hunt works brilliantly with little ones. You can have colours on a sheet of paper, or colour the inside bottom of an egg carton with various colours. Then head off for a walk somewhere and challenge the children to find at least one thing on your walk to match each colour. It is a great way to spend time outdoors and enjoy your surroundings without the pressure of anything else. Their focus is entirely on the colours and their hunt so there is no moaning about walking. Opens up great conversations about plants, animals and landscapes too. Ralph always loves this.
  9. Nature Trail. In a similar fashion to a colour hunt, a nature trail gives you a nice focus for a walk, either somewhere new or to jazz up a tried and tested walk! A list of either written or picture based items in nature to suit the time of year and you are good to go! Great for different ages too as you can make the list easier or more challenging. Ideas for Summer might include butterflies, bees, sunflowers, stinging nettles, wild flowers, ladybirds, swifts, dragonflies, daisies, grasshoppers.
  10. Can you find…? A game/challenge you can play at home or out and about. We actually have a set of cards we sometimes use for this, or you can make up your own, but essentially it involves children being asked to locate something and be the first to bring it back to you. So it could be “Can you find something orange?” Or “Can you find something smaller than a pea?”. It is literally a never ending game and is great to have up your sleeve on a walk or a rainy day. The cards we have can be found online but we always add to them too to give variety. You could come up with a huge list of ideas for this, and some could be really challenging. It would keep them busy for ages!!!

Happy Summer adventuring everyone, Emma x

Summer adventures with kids

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Happy Adventuring!  Emma and the Adventure Boys xx