The summer holidays have arrived and there’s no time to be bored with our pick of the National Trust’s 50 things challenge to ensure your kids fill their days with adventure.
We love encouraging both young and old to get out and explore the world around them. From the simple things like discovering new places by walking or cycling, climbing a tree or skimming stones at the seaside, to learning to navigate, hunting for bugs or creating your own den in the wild, nature has so much to offer to provide so much enjoyment. That’s why we’ve picked our favourite things for families to try this summer in order to embrace Devon’s great outdoors and to keep boredom firmly at bay.
Roll down a really big hill!
This one’s easy because all you need is yourself and a hill! Lie horizontally on the grass keeping your arms down by your side like a sausage and let yourself roll down to the bottom. Coleton Fishacre has a perfect hill for rolling while giving you the chance to tick off pond dipping and creating some wild art during their wild Wednesday events throughout August! www.nationaltrust.org.uk/coleton-fishacre
Skim a stone
Skimming stones is a vital skill for any beach-goer. Find yourself the perfect skimming stone; the smoother, flatter and rounder the better. Have a competition with your friends to see who can get the most bounces!
Go on a really long bike ride
Getting on your bike is an amazing way to explore the outdoors and cover lots of ground. There are a variety of cycle trails ranging from short to long and designed for families and children at Haldon Forest. You can also tick off climbing a huge hill if you want to work your way up there by foot! www.forestry.gov.uk/haldonforestpark
© National Trust Images: John Millar
Play pooh sticks
Teach your children the fun of a good old-fashioned game of Pooh Sticks. Find yourself a race-winning stick and then head to a bridge over a river. Drop your stick off of the side facing upstream and then quickly run to the other side to see which stick will come out victorious!
© National Trust Images: Paul Harris
Explore a cave
Discover what life is like underground by exploring the many labyrinths of nooks, crannies and passages. Find mini-caves natural caves on the beach or take a tour deeper underground at Beer Quarry Caves or Kent’s Cavern to see what you will find.
Cook on a campfire
There’s no kitchen in the woodland but that’s no reason to miss dinner. Become a true adventurer by learning to cook out in the wild! The East Devon countryside team run campfire craft sessions throughout summer, as well as bird watching and bug hunts, so you don’t have to go hungry when in the great outdoors. www.eastdevon.gov.uk/countryside
© National Trust Images: Chris Lacey
Bring up a butterfly
Work your way along the fun family trail through the Heddon Valley to find hundreds of beautiful butterflies. You can even get tips from the experts on how to look after your own caterpillar to allow it to become a butterfly. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/heddon-valley
Plant it, grow it, eat it
A true explorer needs to be able to know how to plant and grow their own food for life in the wild. Why not try growing cress or lettuce in the garden – easy to grow and healthy to eat. Or you can take a trip to Dart’s Farm for the chance to pick-your-own fruit and vegetables so kids can find out where it all comes from and how they grow! There’s also a maize maze running until late September – pick up your map from the shop. www.dartsfarm.co.uk
Go swimming in the sea
With two fantastic coastlines at your disposal there is so much choice for finding a nice beach for a swim in Devon. Beaches make for great places to tick off loads of ’50 things’ activities! Jump over the waves on the way in or try creating some wild art using driftwood or exploring the rock pools to find some crafty creatures.
Navigate with a map and compass
Learn the ultimate adventurer skill – navigation! Step into the great outdoors with confidence by learning how to use a map and compass so you’ll never have to worry about getting lost.
Travelling on the water is a fun skill to learn and the splashing from the paddles will help keep you cool in the summer sun. Head down to Devon Windsurf & Canoe Centre based in Decoy Country Park, Newton Abbot for canoeing and other water sport activities. Find out more at: www.devonwindsurf.co.uk
Build a den
Have you always wished you could build a super-secret den for your very own hideaway? Use fallen branches and leaves to create a base for adventure before a day of geocaching in order to find some hidden treasures in the area! Keep your den well hidden and you will be able to go back to it throughout the summer for lots more fun!
© National Trust Images: Paul Harris
Find the full list of 50 challenges o the National Trust website: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/50-things-to-do