Campfire's burning

Campfire’s burning

Remember that BBC TV programme from your youth, Why don’t you ?  Or to give it its full name, Why Don’t You Just Switch Off Your Television Set and Go Out and Do Something Less Boring Instead ?  As the summer holidays are almost upon us, the perennial challenge is to find enough activities to keep kids occupied over seven whole weeks (or sometimes eight, if you’re really, really unlucky) .

Whatever age your kids are at, it’s never too early to introduce them to The Great Outdoors.  Getting outside is the perfect antidote to sitting in front of the TV, playing video games or becoming addicted to social media.  There are three main reasons why this is the case:

1.  Getting outside is good for health and self-esteem as well as overcoming boredom.  If you haven’t seen this fantastic video, watch it to realise how addicted many of us are to social media.  The message is clear: look up; live in the present; real life is happening all around you; don’t miss out !

2.  But getting outside to enjoy different activities also teaches your kids life skills.  They’ll be inspired and gain experiences at an early age that will stay with them forever.  Learning to stretch their bodies’ abilities, becoming more self-sufficient, experiencing risk and reward, picking up new skills … these are all part of growing up.  From camping on a mountain top, to hiking from A to B, to careering across a gorge on a zip wire, they will gain confidence and satisfaction from having stretched their brains as well as their muscles.

3.  Lastly, getting outside is a must for families.  Introduce your kids to the activities you enjoyed as a child, passing on your passions and interests.  What better way to come together and grow together as a family ?

The obvious caveats apply.  Make sure you and your kids have the necessary knowledge, skills, equipment and clothing to undertake these activities, and seek professional instruction if you feel you need to get the best grounding in a new activity. Always plan ahead and have contingency plans in place in case things do need to change.  Safety is paramount and learning only takes place in safe and unthreatening environments.

So here’s my list of 50 outdoor activities for you and your kids to enjoy over the summer holiday.  There’s one for every day of the seven weeks’ summer holidays plus one extra for the in-service day on the Monday before school starts back again … and I can guarantee that if you achieve all 50 your kids will be dying to get back to school if only to have a rest !

This is intended primarily to provide a long list of ideas to inspire you but if you have other suggestions, please just add a comment and we’ll grow the list together.

Step one is to ask your kids to make their own list.  And if they can’t come up with anything, then suggest some of the following ideas …

On land

1.  Go rock climbing.

2.  Have a treasure hunt

3.  Visit a zip wire

4.  Learn to juggle

5.  Make water rockets

6.  Make a photo project

7.  Make a movie

8.  Host the mini Commonwealth / Olympic Games

9.  Go bungee jumping

10.  Walk the high ropes

11.  Make a catapult

12.  Learn some knots

13.  Build a tree house


On wheels

14.  Go on a bike ride

15.  Go blo-karting

16.  Go to a skatepark

17.  Go to a mountain bike trail


On water

18.  Go rafting

19.  Go to the beach

20.  Skim stones

21.  Go fishing

22.  Go crabbing

23.  Go on a boat ride

24.  Go gorge walking

25.  Go wild swimming

26.  Go canoeing / kayaking

27.  Catch and release frogs (or other reptiles)

28.  Walk across to a tidal island

29. Dam a stream

30.  Get behind a waterfall


In the countryside

31.  Have a picnic

32.  Go geo-caching

33.  Make a fire

34.  Cook on a campfire

35.  Go pony trekking

36.  Make a rope swing

37.  Make mint (or nettle) tea

38.  Practice archery

39.  Fly a kite


In a wood

40.  Make a den

41.  Learn to wittle sticks

42.  Go foraging

43.  Make an assault course

44.  Build a tree house

45.  Track wild animals


In the hills

46.  Climb a hill (or munro)

47.  Wild camp on a mountain top


After dark

48.  Camp in the garden overnight

49.  Look for bats on a night walk

50.  Sleep in a hammock




2 Comments on “50 Outdoor Activities to Engage your Kids in the Summer Holidays

  1. Sent this to my daughter who is now 30 with her first child nearly 2, her response was “This was my childhood” so spend quality time with your kids it will stay with them forever.

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