The clocks have gone back and spring is here. In fact, many people in England have been basking in unusually warm temperatures for the time of year. So now is the time to make more of the outdoors – and to enjoy that valuable extra hour of sunshine in the evenings.
Here we suggest 15 ideas for family fun outdoors this spring:
Get arty: Encourage the kids to make “landscape” art by using stones, twigs, leaves or whatever they can find. You could make a paving stone the framework for the art or use stones to make a circular frame.
Go collect: Challenge the kids to make a new natural collection. It could be pebbles, shells, photos of flowers etc.
Listen and learn: Blindfold each other and then lead the blindfolded person on a walk. Ask them to tell you what they can hear and touch. This really heightens the senses to the sounds and feel of the outdoors environment.
Forage for food: Join a foraging session and learn about the foods that are safe to collect from the wild to eat.
Splash time: When the April showers come, as they usually do, don’t stay indoors looking out, instead grab your waterproof jackets and over-trousers and pull on wellies and enjoy mucking about in the rain.
On your bikes: Make sure your bikes are in good working order if they have languished in the shed or garage all winter and then head out for a family bike ride. Sustrans is a good place to start for quieter or traffic free routes suitable for families.
Apple fights: Like conkers, apples can be tied on to the end of a thick piece of string and used as fun weapons for apple fights. Play the same rules as conkers, so you take it in turns to hit each other’s apple. The one that loses their apple off the string first wins.
Build a den: Make a den in the garden with wheelbarrows, sheets and blankets or head to a local woodlands and create a den from old branches and foliage. Take care never to destroy live plants and trees.
Bug bingo: Find and identify 10 different bugs. The winner is the first to 10.
Pooh sticks: Find a bridge where you can see a flowing stream or river beneath you. A wide bridge is the best. Each choose a twig and drop it at the same time over one side of the bridge. The winner is the person whose twig makes it to the other side of the bridge first.
Grow your own: Give the kids a patch of garden and let them choose to grow flowers or vegetables. It’s fun seeing the shoots appear and then the fruits of their labour.
Eye spot: Check out iSpot on-line and join in the fun of spotting wildlife and then sharing your “spots”.
Watch out: Get started learning about the natural world with the help for the Wildlife Trusts' Wildlife Watch activity and spotting sheets.
Go wild: Sign up for RSPB Wild Square to explore and identify the nature that's around where you live. You’ll also find a free ID kit.
More going wild: Project Wild Thing offers lots of ideas and tips for getting kids outdoors more and enjoying the natural environment.
Tell us about your tips for family fun in the great outdoors this spring.