With overseas travel under strict limitations again this summer, the UK is set for another staycation boom in 2021. And whether you’re travelling to see family, a few miles away from home or to the opposite corner of the country, holidays are the ideal time to try out new activities.
Here are our five favourite outdoor activities you have to try out with your kids during your staycation.
Rockpooling is a wonderful activity for families because all ages can get involved. Found at the majority of coastal staycation hotspots, rockpools can be found when the tide retreats and reveals a vast range of fascinating sea creatures.
Realistically, all you need to go rockpooling is a bucket or clear container so you can get a great view of the creatures you pick up. It’s best not to use nets because the sea life could get caught in them. Make sure to take photos of all your finds for the holiday scrapbook, or make a checklist beforehand to see who can find the most creatures.
You definitely need to get stuck in to make the most of rockpooling - lift rocks to find crabs underneath, pick up seaweed with your hands to look at what is lurking in between the leaves. Waterproof footwear is definitely needed - these sandals from Keen Kids are the perfect balance between summer breathability and comfort, and rugged support and protection.
When you’re done with your bucket or container, make sure to slowly pour the water back into the rockpool so the creatures can return to their habitat safely.
Hiking is different from all the walks you’ve been doing during the pandemic. No, it is!
Whether your staycation is near the coast or lakes, in the woods or near the mountains, hiking is an incredible way to explore your surroundings. There are plenty of resources available to help you find child or family friendly routes, and it’s a fantastic way to switch off and reconnect with each other.
If your child is old enough, you could go old school, teach them some map-reading skills and have them lead the way. For younger ones, you could create a bit of a nature hunt for them to spot along the way (some local tourism websites may even have this sort of thing already made up).
If you’re travelling with a baby, there’s no reason you can’t go hiking - you just need to bring a baby carrier along for the ride.
Even if you’re not heading on a dedicated camping staycation, it’s a great activity for one or two nights of your break.
Camping is a brilliant activity to help bring you and your family closer together, both physically and emotionally. Giving your child jobs to do around the tent - no matter how big or small - will help to teach them about responsibility and boost their confidence at the same time.
Just camping a night or two means you probably don’t need anywhere near as much gear as a fully-fledged camping trip. You might not need all the bells and whistles, but you definitely need a family tent and sleeping bags.
A wonderfully simple and traditional outdoor activity, stone skipping is another one that is perfect for all ages. Whether they’re young and love every single splash or a bit older and love the challenge of getting an extra skip - stone skipping is a fantastic way to chill out for a while and still have plenty of fun.
If your children are a bit older, you might want to keep them up a little for a bit of stone skipping as the sun sets over the water’s horizon on a beautiful summer’s day. That’s an experience you won’t forget in a hurry.
Turning it into a competition is a great way to add that extra bit of excitement and intrigue, from who can make the biggest splash (not quite the idea of skipping stones, but younger kids will be impressed!) to who can score the biggest number of skips.
Loads of adventure parks in staycation spots all over the country are home to outdoor climbing walls. And many offer different types of climbing from bouldering set ups to wall climbing with ropes, so there’s something to keep all the family happy and feeling adventurous no matter what level they want to climb at.
Not only is climbing loads of fun for kids, it’s super helpful in terms of their development too. Climbing helps to develop a host of muscles all over their bodies, and their balance and problem solving skills, too. It’s also a great option for children who might find that ball sports are not their thing. Your little ones will come away from the top of those climbing walls with a huge sense of achievement and perhaps a sense of new-found confidence (maybe mum and dad will, as well!).
There we have it - our five favourite outdoor activities you need to try with your kids on your summer staycation. Which ones are you going to try out?
By Jonathan Davies
Jonathan Davies is a dad to three-year-old Raife and (nearly) one-year old Eden, and a writer for DaddiLife - the parenting website for modern-day dads and a community of fathers across the UK and US. Jon is incredibly passionate about the outdoors and the benefits it has on children and is always looking for new outdoor activities to try out with Raife and Eden.