Got a spoon, a blanket and some bubbles handy? Then pop them – and our other suggested items – into your car boot as well as the usual stuff (wet wipes, change of clothes – you know what we mean) to help your little ones really engage with what’s definitely going to be your best family day out yet.
10 fun essentials for a family day out…
1. A spoon, for digging
If you’re somewhere digging is allowed, why not get your little ones to dig deep and see what they can find?
They might even manage to construct a mini soil-castle or a retreat for ants.
2. A ‘magic’ carpet
Got a spare blanket or rug? If so, it’ll serve you a really good turn on your day out.
Hide a few toys under it and get your toddler to guess what they are. Or tell a magical story about the far off lands the carpet’s going to fly to and watch your baby’s eyes light up with surprise.
Of course you can use it to put your little one on for changes and snack times as well – magical and practical!
3. A trike
Some kind of transportation is kind of necessary if your children are young: while you might think they can manage the walk – and they’ll definitely tell you they can – you often end up trekking further than expected.
A trike can be great fun for little ones as they can zoom wherever they want – so are that bit more interactive than a buggy.
4. A nature trail list
It’s great to have an objective on a long walk beyond being just a walk. A nature list will help keep the kids entertained, and you can download neat little checklists for free (there are loads on MadeForMums right here).
Or – for some pre-walk fun, get your little ones to create their own. They can draw a feather, a leaf, a worm, a snail and a tree for example, with a box next to each to tick when they’ve seen that object.
Doing this before you go will also (hopefully) get them excited about their day ahead too = bonus!
5. A foldable bag
Your children will definitely want to keep some of the, errrr, ‘treasures’ they find on their nature trail list, so let them carry a little bag or basket with them to stash it all in.
And a word of warning here: don’t, under any circumstances, be tempted to throw a single stick, stone or feather away before you get home – or even for a couple of weeks afterwards. We mean it. They know EXACTLY what’s in there.
If there’s a toddler out there who doesn’t like blowing and chasing bubbles, we’ve yet to meet him!
Get your little one to blow them and try and catch and pop them.
He’ll have loads of fun chasing them in all directions – and you might just get some great Instagram pics, too!
7. A magnifying glass
Mini-beast hunts make the forest much more fun! If you have a standard magnifying glass, children can have a closer look at how magical and fantastic these creatures are.
Or bring a magnifying bug pot if you have one – but remind children to put the insects back where they found them after they’ve had a look
8. Paper and pencil – for bark rubbing
Bark rubbing might be as old as the trees themselves, but we still think it’s great. Yep, children love doing this activity (let’s face it: so do adults) and it’s really easy for toddlers to do, too.
Pencils or fat crayons would work equally well – and what a pretty homemade souvenir they make.
9. Mini play saucepans
Sound like a strange thing to take on a day out? Stay with us on this! If you have a play kitchen at home, chances are you’ll have some mini stainless steel saucepans and colanders.
They’re great for collecting and sifting sand if you’re near a sand pit, and they’re fun anywhere with water play or soil too. They’re small and light, so hardly take up any room.
10. A ‘gift’
If your day out might include a gift shop along the way (say, a country house or garden) you might just be able avoid a standoff at the gift shop by bringing a little wrapped ‘gift’ along.
A mum suggested this tip to one of the MFM team when they were on our way to the zoo: “Avoid the gift-shop-begs beforehand by bringing something along that the place is likely to sell – like a cuddly toy, cute bookmark or pencil set.”
This obviously only works if you already own these things, though a good tip is to look for something your kids have forgotten about at the bottom of the toy box – or even have a charity shop hunt a few days before you go.
You could even wrap it in tissue paper before you head out so it really looks like a little present.