School's Out for Easter
Time to let the kids go wild with adventure, and have an Easter to remember! Are you struggling for ideas to keep the kids entertained this Easter? The Meek Family, blogging as Do Try This At Home, are advocates of raising children with the outdoors as an integral part of their education, and share their top 5 suggestions to get them in the fresh air this spring...
The winter may well be behind us (sort of); the days may be getting longer and the temperatures warmer and more pleasant (again, sort of). So this means youngsters around the UK will be gearing up for two weeks of outdoor adventure once school is out for Easter, right? Well, not necessarily! In fact, they are more likely to have ideas of lazy lie-ins the mornings after the nights (of late-night game playing) before. Eat; sleep; game; repeat.
Unless, that is, you offer them an exciting alternative... Adventure!
Here are five ideas to help lure the kids away from their consoles and into the great outdoors.
1) Get Them Out onto (or into) the WaterWatersports come in many different guises: kayaking, canoeing, white water rafting, surfing, windsurfing, water skiing, wake-boarding so there is likely to be something for everyone; from the nervous to the gnarly.
Don't let worries of where to do it, equipment and safety put a dampener on things as there are lots of ponds, reservoirs and lakes that have recognised watersports facilities and instructors ready to offer taster sessions or introductory courses. Local sailing clubs often offer 'have a go' days too, so ask and ring around to find something in your area.
2) Camp OvernightThe simple activity of camping out overnight is exciting and enjoyable. Kids that say they don't enjoy camping have probably never done it before!
Like most activities, camping can be done in different ways ranging from camping in the garden to a wild camp on the side of a mountain, in just a bivvy bag or under a tarpaulin. But there are also bothies, mountain huts, caves and even tree tents to consider if the thought of a traditional campsite doesn't appeal. Take a stove, some water and some freeze-dried noodles or pasta for some al fresco dining. However you decide to do it, make sure you have the right sleeping bags to ensure everyone is snug and warm – a warm and well-fed camper is a happy camper.
3) Conquer a Hill or MountainThere's nothing more fulfilling than a strenuous hike or climb to the top of a summit and admiring the view (if you are lucky). In fact, the tougher the climb, the bigger the rewards.
Encouraging youngsters to embark on an age-appropriate physical challenge helps develop important qualities such as perseverance and determination, which will serve them well through life. After all, anyone can NOT climb a hill/mountain, but not everyone who can, does. Positively promote the 'go do life' approach and it will rub off on your budding adventure tribe.
So, find a local hill or mountain – or even better, get the kids to – and then set out (with boots, waterproofs, map and compulsory flapjack) to conquer it.
4) Cache-in on a GeocacheThe beauty of Geocaching is that it's fun, accessible and importantly, free! The chances are you will have walked past several secret caches today – without even realising it; they are literally everywhere. And of course, they are not secret at all. All you need to unlock the fun (and locations) of Geocaching is a smart phone and freely downloadable app. The 'finds' themselves can range from easy to difficult depending on their size and/or how they have been hidden.
Geocaching is perfect for all ages because the excitement of locating something hidden is ageless. It's also a great outdoor activity for the teenager reluctant to disconnect themselves from their phone!
This outdoor activity does come with a word of warning, though: it can be very addictive!
Give it a try – don't be a Muggle! (the term for non-Geocachers).
5) Learn Some BushcraftIt is regularly said that children are becoming disconnected with nature; more comfortable with a games console in their hands than a branch not to mention a worm, woodlouse or frog!
Bushcraft gives children the perfect opportunity to get down-and-dirty with nature, through activities like: shelter building, foraging, fire lighting and outdoor cooking. The significance of such experiences goes beyond the literal as children will learn how to assess risk, value and respect the natural world as well develop important self esteem and self confidence.
Finding an opportunity to have a bushcraft taster session or longer course shouldn't be too hard – a quick search in Google should reveal some local providers which shouldn't be too expensive (unless you book on something branded with the initials BG).
So, there are five ideas for getting your family tribe away from the TV, out of bed and off street corners, and out into the outdoors this Easter. Remember, it's not important what you do and how you choose to do it; the important thing is that you just do something!
You can follow the Meek family's adventures on Facebook here and Twitter here.