A great way to turn an afternoon walk into a fun adventure activity is to go on a Spring Nature Trail.
Winter is almost over and although spring doesn’t technically begin until March 20th, if you go looking in the right places, you’ll start seeing changes in the trees, flowers and wildlife.
Encourage young ones outside
As the days get longer and temperatures start to rise, we should all take the opportunity to get outside more.
That being said, it can be hard to motivate young ones to get some fresh air; especially as they don’t understand the many health benefits of a walk. I personally don’t know of any toddlers already getting their 10,000 steps in each day. But if yours are, extra points for you!
Organising a Spring Nature Trail is simple enough to do as you don’t need many resources. Remember to take with you a notepad, pen and camera phone so that you can photograph your findings.
What to look out for
Before you leave your house, make a list of different things that you want to find on your walk. Each finding category can be adapted to suit both younger and older children, this will keep it exciting for all. We’ve listed some ideas below to help you get started:
- Trees – Younger children can run around looking for trees with thick trunks. The different layers and cracks can sometimes resemble faces. See who can find the funniest face. For older children, you could print off a Leaf ID activity sheet. Have them play detective and work out what tree the fallen leaves come from.
- Flowers – Bluebells will start appearing around mid-April. If it’s too early in the season to spot them, little ones can try looking for buttercups. Give older kids more of a challenge and have them search for rarer flowers such as honeysuckle.
- Insects – Get everyone to take a seat and keep still (that part is a challenge in itself). If you look at the ground closely for long enough, you’ll start to see tiny insects crawling around. See if the children can name any that they find.
- Mammals – You may not see many animals around, apart from a few squirrels or rabbits however you might find evidence that they are close-by. Animal homes are hidden all around and Nature Detective’s activity sheet will give some clues on what to look out for.
Did you know?Sense of smell tends to be heightened during springtime as there is more moisture in the air.
Plan your route
Decide where you want to walk; you’re best off choosing a wooded area with overgrown grassland. These are the hotspots for shy animals as it gives them many places to hide and explore.
There are plenty of nature reserves around the UK and The Wildlife Trusts have a handy map to help you discover areas near you. You’ll be surprised how many there are!
Once you’ve printed off your activity sheets and planned your route, you’re just about ready to go! Do make sure that you’re all in suitable footwear as some parts of the trail could get a bit mucky!
We’d love to see what you’ve come across of your own Spring Nature Trails. Post them online and don’t forget to tag us @theplayexperts