Side Street Style: Getting back to nature - Family fun during the school holidays

Side Street Style

Family travel and lifestyle blog


Getting back to nature - Family fun during the school holidays

kids outdoors

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As we move through winter and edge towards the warmer months, the little ones and I are already thinking about half term and the Easter holidays which will no doubt be upon us in the blink of an eye. What I love most about half terms are all the possibilities for the kids to really reconnect with nature as part of a family; while they get plenty of outdoor time at school and on weekends - it's not quite the same. For this reason, I try to plan as many fun and exciting things to do that are budget-friendly and gets everyone outside enjoying the fresh air. Here is my mini school-break activity list.

1. Go Geocaching

One of our new favourite pastimes is Geocaching; it's perfect for all ages from toddlers to grandparents and best of all, this global treasure hunt app is free to download. For those who don't know what Geocaching is, it's a real-world outdoor treasure hunting game in which you find containers or "caches" of all sizes - from tiny micro button-sized ones to large containers big enough to store items to swap. In each cache is a small logbook which you sign; you can examine the entries and see when it was found last and by whom. We have discovered new places, from forest paths to urban walking routes via Geocaching and have even swapped a few things along the way. When you gain more experience, you can leave your own set of caches for people to find.

Kids who hike
My son and I at the Sugarloaf Mountain Trig point in the Brecon Beacons

2. Bag some Trig Points

Trig Points are dotted all over the UK landscape - mainly on top of prominent hills and mountain summits; both my boys love ticking a new trig point off. It's an engaging and fun way to encourage a proper vigorous walk - just remember to pack a picnic. I'm lucky that I live near the Brecon Beacons (a gorgeous walk!) but there are toddler and child-friendly mountain walks all over the country, and you would be surprised how fulfilling it is to reach the top of one as a group. You can read about our recent walk up The Garth Mountain and only last week my 9yr old and I hiked up Sugarloaf Mountain with stunning views across Abergavenny and the Brecons.

3. Get on your bike

There are some amazing traffic-free cycle routes all over the UK which you can find on the Sustrans website and this is another activity that can be enjoyed by all ages. I have been taking my boys out on the Taff Trail since they were toddlers. It's a great way to travel and explore your local area and you’ll be surprised by what you find along the way – my little one even came across a slowworm making his way across one of the cycle paths. If you're looking to go away over the Easter Holiday, there are some great places that are cycle friendly such as Center Parcs. With locations across UK and Ireland, Center Parcs has miles of which have forest trails and a range of bikes for you to hire, so there are no excuses to not get outside.

Taff trail cycling

4. Den Building

Another free activity that really only takes some sticks, leaves and a dash of imagination; head to your local woods and help your kids building their own den. If you want you can even take a few luxuries along with you - such as a big blanket and a flask of hot chocolate to enjoy inside your new construction once finished. This is also one of the things on the National Trusts 50 things to do before your 11 ¾ y/o. It encourages children to reconnect with nature and we have been enjoying gradually ticking ours off; in fact, we have less than 10 activities to do before we have completed them all!

kids outdoors

5. Get in the water

Encouraging your children to be confident in and around water is so important. While swimming lessons are the first port of call, supervising them on a trip to the beach to jump over waves or a spot of wild swimming at a local stream is a great way to boost their confidence in a natural environment. Like I said, safety is very important so be present and always supervise your children and be sure to research safe places to go. Most UK holiday parks have indoor (and sometimes outdoor) pools which you really should make use of and enjoy as a family. It’s the perfect group activity in your May Half Term break so make sure everyone packs their swimming costumes.

6. Try something new

Is there an activity your kids have always wanted to try? Why not make this year the year you finally do it? Last summer I took my boys kayaking down a canal in West Wales; it was a lovely and gentle introduction to the sport and we spotted so much wildlife and birds along the way. My eldest also had a go at stand-up paddleboarding on a lake during a taster session which, incidentally, only cost around £10. When he joined us after, we noticed how it had really helped to boost his confidence in the water. If your kids are thrill-seekers then how about going on a treetop aerial adventure, ziplining from tree to tree? We tried it in the Forest of Dean and we all had an absolute blast.

Standup paddleboarding

All of these can be done right here in the UK so don't feel like you have to go far or spend a fortune for a memorable adventure. It’s also worth noting that there are plenty of holiday parks in the UK that offer an array of outdoor activities from summer through to October half term breaks. Keeping things simple is often the best route. It opens up the opportunity for quality family time, as well as doing things that are beneficial to the overall mental and physical wellbeing of your whole family.

kids outdoors


  1. Trig points? You learn something new every day!! I never knew they existed if I'm completely honest, so thanks for teaching me something new! x

    1. Trig points are great - they are usually mountain or hill summits but can also be found on green spaces and commons - nice to tick off the list

      Laura x

  2. These are all great tips and I love getting out and about with the family!

  3. We find it hard to get out sometimes. We don't drive and live in a small town so there aren't many options.

    1. You don't need to drive far to get outdoors and into nature, is there is park near you? You could go on a bug hunt

      Laura x

  4. Brilliant ideas, I can't wait for some warmer months! Thanks for the ideas, I'm going to do geocaching with the kids this afternoon now!

  5. I have never heard of trig points before. I want to take my son paddle boarding in the summer, I think he will love it. We love finding bike riding places, fun for everyone and usually some beautiful scenery too


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