With the U.K. Summer holidays only a few weeks away, this is an opportune time to get yourself prepared for a whole summer of fun outdoors.
Join your local Wildlife Trust
We’ve been members Wildlife Trust members for 10 years now. We receive regular Wildlife Trust magazines and newsletters of our local watch group. We’ve learnt lots over the years, many of the pull-out posters adorned my kids rooms, now they cover my walls. From minibeasts, sealife, garden birds and meadow flowers the magazines are packed with great information about local wildlife and how you can protect it. Many groups have days out for members, where you can visit local wildlife reserves or attend special events like bat watches.
Grow your own food
It maybe already Summer but there are plenty of things you can still be growing either in your garden, in a window sill or hanging basket.Sow some lettuce seeds, plant up some pots with herbs like Chives, Mint, Thyme, Marjoram and Sage, these are really easy to grow and will attract bees and butterflies to your garden. If you can have an area of your dedicated just for the kids, grow bright flowers, like Nasturtiums, Sunflowers, Snapdragons and Sweet Peas. There’s nothing wrong in buying plug plants from your local garden centre to fill up an abandoned sand pit, sand removed and replaced with suitable soil obviously.
Make your garden ornaments nature crafts
Compliment your garden with a homemade scarecrow, a small fairy garden, a recycled CD mobile, old fork and spoon windchimes, bunting made from old clothes or even a den made from willow. Daisy chains, dandelion crowns, pebble pets, dreams catchers and wind socks make great nature inspired crafts.
Visit a beach and rock pools
Beaches and rock pools are a haven for all sorts of sea animals and plant life. Head along sandy beaches to find shells, dip a net into a crab infested rock pool or feel the sand and seaweed beneath your toes, there’s nothing like breathing in the fresh sea air.You can find out which beaches are the beast in the Good Beach Guide
Take a picnic by a canal
As well as the beach, canals are another way to enjoy the water. Whether if it’s taking a picnic and going for a long walk, go on a family cycle ride, let grandad take the kids fishing or try a new watersport like canoeing, canals are fun and a great way to discover water birds, mammals and plants. I’ve joined my local canal trust, with some many canals now being renovated or rejuvenated thanks to Lottery funding, you can discover what your local canal trust has for you.
Go pond dipping
As well as the sea and freshwater places to visit, why not go pond dipping? Home to many insects, amphibians, birds and plant life, ponds are teeming with life.Look for newts, frogs, water boatman and discover how important cretain plants are to pond life by taking part in the Big Pond Dip
Celebrate Love Parks Week
Get yourself and your family off to your local park. Whether if it’s for a kick about with a football, throwing a frisbee or flying a kite (check that there are no overhead electricity power lines), or to read a book whilst your kids cycle around, your local park has so much to offer, some even have public bulb planting, local children’s events or a Forestry Nursery for pre-school children. Find out what’s going on near you for Love Parks Week from 24th July.
Go foraging or visit a pick your own farm
Throughout the Summer you will notice the hedgerows will start to bear fruit such as blackberries, elderberries, rosehips and hawthorn. Fruit trees like cherry, plums, apples, pears, damson etc will also be starting to ripen. Spend a few hours in the countryside, away from passing cars picking soft fruits to make jams, jellies and cordials. Tree fruits can carefully stored or freeze to be eaten during the Winter months or made into pies. Make sure you are foraging on public land and always be sure you know what you are picking before consuming. It’s worth asking neighbours who are unable to pick their own fruit trees, if you could do it for them.You can share the harvest and save on waste. Pick Your Own Fruit farms have made a resurgence in the last few years, making a great way to get fresh fruit (and eat a few on your way around) if you don’t have a garden or left it too late to grown your own.
Go camping at a family festival
Summer Festivals are becoming more and more family friendly, some are just dedicated to kids. Why not borrow a tent from a friend or neighbour and book some screen free time away
Visit Your Local Library
During the Summer in the U.K. primary school children take part in the Summer Reading Challenge. After reading 6 or more books during the Summer holidays, children receive a certificate on completion. There is a different theme each year, with incentives along the way to get special stickers to fill their progression chart. Why not get a few books out about how to care about your environment, a pocket guide to Wildflowers or how to turn broken toys into something else?