Get out and about with our round up of free events and activity ideas. Being out in the sunshine has been proven to be great for our mental and physical health, mood and stress levels. Lace up those shoes and enjoy the Great British countryside!
Great for grandchildren
According to a study children aged 5-12 spend an hour or less per day playing outside! Get them off the sofa and show them how to have fun outdoors like you did as a child.
- Set up a treasure hunt in the garden, or, even better, make them design one for you! You could hide snacks, painted stones, marbles or anything else that’s easy to disguise.
- Give them a small patch of earth in your garden and let them choose some seeds. Hardy wildflowers are a simple choice.
- Teach them favourite childhood games – you might be surprised to find they haven’t heard of some of them. A survey found that more than half of under-sevens have never battled conkers, and two fifths haven’t played ‘stuck in the mud’ – what a shame!
- Try a supervised ‘blindfold walk’, making them rely on their other senses to navigate the garden.
- Count the number of snails, trees or other signs of nature while out on a walk.
Boost your fitness
Getting active doesn’t mean slogging away at a gym. There are all sorts of ways for nature-lovers to combine getting outside with working up a sweat. Plus a Canadian study found we’re more likely to stick to an exercise programme when it involves being outdoors. Give these a try.
- Join a TVC Green Gym. This free outdoor fitness movement helps the envirnoment – you’ll be planting trees and digging ponds – but you’ll also burn some serious calories! Find your nearest at www.tcv.org.uk/greengym or call 01302 388883
- Find your local parkrun. Whether you run, jog or walk, the 5km (three-mile) route will be fully staffed with volunteers to show you the way. It’s free to join in. Find your nearest at www.parkrun.org.uk
- If running sounds a bit too fast-paced for you, you might prefer the tranquil movements of tai chi. The Taoist Tai Chi Society of Great Britain offers free taster sessions around the country. Find out more call 01206 576167 or visit www.taoist.org/uk
- Walking is the easiest way to exercise outside but if you need a little extra motivation why not sign up for Country Walking magazine’s 500-mile challenge? Don’t panic – you don’t need to do it in one go! You can do it by walking an average of 3.5 miles (or around an hour) a day between now and the end of September. Find out more at www.livefortheoutdoors.com/walk500miles
- Get up close and personal with the critters in your area – great fun for all the family.Give your local wildlife a boost by helping scientists record which species live where at a Bio Blitz event. There are free nationwide surveys happening all summer or you can undertake your own personal Bio Blitz in your garden. Full instructions and information can be found at www.bnhc.org.uk/bioblitz
- Play wildlife bingo with the little ones – print off a Wildlife Watch ‘spotting sheet’ and mark off the animals and plants as you see them. Find free sheets at www.wildlifewatch.org.uk/spotting-sheets
- Summer is the perfect time to spot butterflies. Butterfly Conservation hosts all sorts of events up and down the country. Brush up your identification skills, help on a conservation task or see a rare species. Find a local event at http://butterfly-conservation.org or call 01929 400 209
For more ideas of things to do, pick up the latest copy of Yours magazine