Looking for activities to do with the family that are free and will occupy the kids, whilst also getting outdoors and away from the computer, TV and games console screens? We've got five ideas for free activities to keep the kids busy!
There are lots of games you can play with kids of all ages outside;
Nature Letters; use fallen fallen leaves, twigs, berries and nuts to write the first letter of your name in giant nature letters.
Make a nature bracelet, using daisies. Or a piece of cardboard with double sided tape, and find interesting items from the floor to stick onto the bracelet.
Mini Beast search; look under stones, on leaves and flowers of the hedgerows and undergrowth to find insects, beetles, butterflies and caterpillars, but make sure you collect them carefully to avoid injuring them and let them go free again!
The Woodland Trust website have some great ideas and free activity sheets you can download and print off to help with more ideas.
Go For a Walk or Run
Our canals and rivers offer very accessible walking routes whatever age and ability. With over 2,000 miles of traffic free towpaths, you'll find the fabulous scenery of the canal or riverside stroll amazing, as you turn each bend in the waterway and new scenery comes into view. What better way to enjoy a family day out?
You'll find plenty of great canal or riverside pubs to eat along the way, but do the research first to make sure you don't go hungry, or take a picnic with you and you'll keep the costs down even more.
Identify Birds and Nature Watch
You don't need expensive equipment to identify birds, just a pair of eyes. Although binoculars are a help, especially for those whose eyesight isn't as keen!
You don't need to know anything about birds to enjoy watching them.The RSPB website has birdwatchers guides telling you what to look out for and how to identify different birds.
The Forestry Commission have a free spotter guides, and activity sheets on their website which you can download and print off to help identify wildlife and take part in watching nature.
Learn to Fish
Fishing is fun. But there's a lot of equipment involved, not to mention skills and techniques, so you'll need to at least buy some basic fishing kit. Take a look at the Canal and River Trusts website and video guides to get to grips with the basics of learning to fish.
People Watch and Relax
With ever increasing rates of obesity, stress and declining mental health in the UK. The canals and rivers run through some of the most heavily populated communities in England and Wales, providing accessible green and blue space where it’s needed the most. Research shows that spending time by water, whether it be your lunch break, daily commute or just a weekend stroll, really does make us feel happier and healthier. So why not take a canal side stroll, find a bench or take a picnic rug and relax, watch the boats go by and people watch?
Let us know your ideas for free activities on the waterways and canals of the UK by commenting below!