You can have fun outside, whatever the weather, so switch off the DS and turn off the telly, and head outside to the great outdoors.
We live on an Equestrian farm so there is plenty for us to get up to on our doorstep, but we are always looking for things to do further a field, and so we’ve come up with some suggestions which we all enjoy doing.
THINGS TO DO AT HOME
Dens are fab. You don’t need much space! For an easy DIY tepee:
- Get about 7 bamboo poles and tie them together a fifth of the way up with some string or rope.
- Put some blue tack on the ends of the bamboo, which will help keep them still, or jam them into the soil if you are making on grass.
- Cover the outside with an old sheet, and clip with clothes pegs.
- Grab some face paints, look around for some feathers to stick in your hair, and then start your own war dance!
Bug hunting is always great fun! Osbourne Books have got some great books for identifying different bugs, and the butterfly one is great (£ 5.99). Our favourites are the free sheets you can print off from the Wildlife Watch website which have spotter sheets for just about every eventuality and location.
TRIED & TESTED DAYS OUT
West Wittering is a perfect spot. With sandy beaches and wonderful dunes, this fantastic spit just outside Chichester makes a perfect day trip from London or the South East.
There’s a very blowy wind, so perfect for kite flying, and the ocean is warm and perfect for paddling. If it rains, you can hop down the road to Fishbourne Roman Palace or the Weald & Downland Open Air Museum. Even better, make a weekend of it and you can do the lot! The Banyan we discovered recently which will take bookings for even short weekends.
East Head, West Wittering: Open dawn til dusk. Car park is £ 7.50 on weekend, £ 6.50 during the week
BATTERSEA PARK ZOO
Did you even know that there is a fantastic zoo in the middle of Battersea Park? I love this because it is wonderfully small an intimate, and you can have a picnic and a skateboard in the park afterwards.
Open 10-5.30pm. £26 for a family ticket, season tickets available.
Oxenwood Outdoor Education Centre near Marlborough in Wiltshire is a great place for kids (and grown ups!) to just play all day. Woodland activities, stream dipping, survival / bushcraft skills, mountain biking to name but a few of the things they can entertain you with. Day trips, half days and residential courses available.
We are all horse mad in our house, and the impact of Team GB’s fantastic medal haul at the London 2012 Olympics has made the nation pony mad too.
Wellington Riding is based in 300 acres of the Duke of Wellingtons beautiful Stratfield Saye Estate in Hampshire. They teach children from the age of 5, and if you don’t ride, they’ll teach you too! Team up a lesson with a trip to Stratfield Saye House and farm shop, have a picnic in the gardens and then live out your own battle of Waterloo!
Approximately 1 hour (45 miles) from London on the M4
By Joanna Jensen, Founder of Childs Farm.