Climb a steep hill and then roll down it
All you need is a soft, grassy bank or hill. When they’ve tried it once, they’ll probably want to do it over and over again. Get them to keep their arms and close to their body when rolling and avoid any dog poo!
Plodge in a shallow stream
They’ll need to wear wellies if it’s chilly, of course. When the warm weather arrives, you could invest in some plastic shoes so that they can enjoy the sense of the water on their ankles without standing on something sharp.
Grow your own plant
There’s nothing quite as satisfying as growing something kids can then eat when it’s grown. Easy things to grow include strawberries, tomatoes and cress. If you don’t have a garden, they still grow things in pots on a sunny window sill.
Go on a nature trail walk
Take a pair of binoculars along if you have one. It can also be fun to let kids take snaps of what they see using a mobile phone. These can then be printed out at home and used to make a nature diary. Take a bag along too, to collect curious things they may spot along the way, like unusual leaves, feathers or stones..
Play Pooh sticks
You will need two or more players, each armed with a stick. Stand on a bridge over moving water. Check which way the water is flowing so that you throw your sticks in on the right side, so that they'll get carried underneath the bridge with the current. On the count of three everyone must throw their pooh stick into the water below. The stick that floats underneath the bridge fastest wins.
Dam a stream
If you’re at the seaside, the kids may be lucky enough to build a dam on the beach. For a stream, use twigs, branches, stones and rocks to stop the flow of water. Make sure they have some fun ‘undamming’ it when it’s time to go home as wildlife further downstream may depend on the water supply.
Make a mud pie
For this you need some interesting things from nature to mix in , like twigs, leaves, feathers and seeds, a big mixing stick or spoon – and plenty of mud!
Take a picnic
Perhaps to your garden, your local park or further afield. We tend to think of picnics as lengthy summer affairs requiring complex planning. But in the cooler month of April, it’s just fun to pack cheese and crackers, a few little tomatoes, a banana – or whatever your child likes in a backpack with an insulated drink. Find an upturned log or a park bench and enjoy a short but memorable impromptu feast.
Build a den
Best place to do this is out in the woods or at least near a clump of trees, where you can make a den of branches, leaves and mud. If you lean sticks against a tree like a wigwam, you don’t have to do so much building. In the garden, you might need to be a but more creative with cardboard boxes, blankets and so on. The point is, they’re doing something creative outdoors, so it ticks those boxes!
Fly a kite
You don’t need an expensive one. All you need is some wind and an open space. Kids love to see their very own kite flapping way above them in the blue sky and launching the kite, then running to pick it up over and over is a great way to burn off energy!
The National Trust offers 50 Things To Do Before You’re 11 3/4 on its website with lots of fun ideas of engaging with the great outdoors.