30 Wild Ideas for #30DaysWild
30 Wild ideas for wild families
We are BIG fans of the Wildlife Trusts 30 Days Wild campaign to get families re-connected to nature and to appreciate and enjoy spending time outdoors.
Last year we collected litter every day for 30 days; doing our bit to try and make roadsides, waterways and natural outdoor spaces a bit cleaner for the wildlife with which we are luckily enough to share these places.
This year we thought we’d share our own list of 30 ideas for outdoor fun and adventure. Some are perfect for mid week or at the weekend, others might require a bit more time. All-in-all though, they are easy to complete and don’t require specialist skills or equipment – just the will and motivation to get outside and give them a go.
Night time adventures
1. Night walk in a wood
Different animals come out at night and ones that you might not be familiar with. Look out for any signs of movement, shadows in the dim light and listen carefully for sounds such as bats screeching, owls hooting and foxes barking. Take along a headtorch but try not to use it if possible. Ideally use a headtorch that has a red light beam since this won’t impede your night vision if it shines in your eyes.
2. Night time skate/scooter
3. Star constellations – 5 to spot
The most obvious thing to look out for are satellites and in particular the International Space Station. Satellites look like shooting stars or fast moving aeroplanes. You can spot them with the naked eye and you are likely to see them quite regularly. The International Space Station looks like an even brighter satellite. It is the third brightest object in the sky.
Try to spot some of the most recognisable constellations:
- The Plough (also referred to as the Big Dipper) is a group of stars that form part of the larger constellation called Ursa Major or Great Bear. It is one of the most familiar star shapes in the northern hemisphere. The plough is shaped like a bowl and handle or saucepan. Three stars make up the handle and four stars make up the bowl. It is really easy to spot.
- The North star, also called Polaris, is the brightest star in the sky and is an important navigational tool because its position in the sky is almost exactly lined up with rotational axis of the earth. So if you are in the northern hemisphere and face Polaris you are looking directly north. Polaris should be easy to find because it is the brightest star in the sky but you can also locate it using the Plough. Draw a line continuing from the two outer stars that make up the bowl of the Plough (these are referred to as pointer stars).
- Orion is one of the more famous constellations. It is most identifiable by the hunter’s belt, three stars lined up in a neat row.
- Orion’s Nebula is where a beautiful cluster of stars are forming. To locate the nebula, look at the vertical row of three fainter stars that hang off Orion’s belt. Orion’s nebula is the fuzzy patch in the middle.
- Cassiopeia is easy to find because it is a zigzag row of five stars that form the shape of a W (or M, depending on its position in the sky).
4. Hide and seek by torchlight
The way to play hide and seek by torchlight is; someone is chosen to be the seeker and they have to close their eyes and look away from everyone (no peeking!) while the hiders (the rest of the players) run and hide. Once the hiders have found their hiding spot they turn off their torches and try to stay silent. When the seeker has counted to 30 they then begin the search for everyone using their torch. The hiders could be anywhere – behind trees, logs – anywhere really! Watch out for and hidden obstacles when you run in the dark! The seeker catches a hider by shining their torch on or at them. If the seeker finds someone, the person that has been caught has to follow the seeker around, helping with the search by also shining their torch on other hiders. The first person to be found is the seeker for the next round.
5. Night time wild life ramble
Weekend adventure ideas
6. Sea life sculpture
Collect as many pieces of plastic debris from the beach as you can. Using the different shapes, sizes and colours, create a sea life sculpture – it can be as realistic or imaginative as you want. Consider leaving a sign or message that explains why you created your art and where the materials were from. Leave your audience thinking and maybe they’ll do their bit.
7. Whittle something
Don’t expect to be carving masterpieces straight away! Start by simply stripping bark off twigs that can then be used a skewers for cooking over the fire. Also try sharpening the end of a stick to make a spear which can be uses to spear litter.
As you gain in confidence and ability, you can go on to make butter knifes, letter openers and forks!
8. Get to know a wild place
9. Make and sail a mini raft
- Use loom bands to attach two hazel sticks to 7 or 8 cross sticks of similar length placed at 90° to create the classic raft structure (as seen in the photograph right)
- Take a piece of garden string and tie it off onto one of the two main sticks using a timber hitch (image right).
- Then trace the loom band with the string, keeping it nice and tight, to create a square lashing.
- When you have lashed one (or more) of the cross sticks (or you are running out of string length), tie off with a clove hitch (see images right).
- Keep repeating the process until all of the cross sticks have been attached.
- Your raft is not ready to sail!
Image credit: SAS Survival Handbook
10. Have breakfast with the birds
Mid week adventure ideas
11. Jigsaw map adventure
The first thing to do is to hide a surprise / treasure in a suitable location within easy walking distance. Then draw a map of the area (as accurately as possible) on a piece of paper and indicate where your treasure can be found, e.g. x marks the spot. Once your map is complete you can then turn it into a jigsaw. Draw a picture on the back of the piece of paper or stick it securely onto a picture / photograph. Then cut your map into jigsaw pieces – you can make this as difficult or as easy as you want depending on the size and number of your jigsaw pieces. Put all the jigsaw pieces into an envelope and post to a friend or family member. You never know they might give you one in return.
12. Create a map
13. Scooter safari
Choose a suitable route (ideally a cycle path or tarmacked surface) that is near to where you live. Chuck some bits and pieces in a rucksack (waterproofs, water and snacks) and head out on a scooter adventure. It’s a great way to take in the surroundings whilst getting some fun exercise at the same time!
14. Fly something
15. Rename a viewpoint
Be creative and have fun thinking of names that give people of hint of what they might expect to see when they are there.
We once renamed a local wood that we visited regularly to walk and bivvy in ‘Campfire Wood’ Whenever we drive past it now, we all shout out ‘There’s Campfire Wood!” and look fondly at a place that is special to us.
Mini wildlife adventures
16. Hide and peek
17. Hedgehog house
The easiest way to do this is to turn over a sturdy crate and cut out an entrance (and even make a porch for them!). Where you position the house is important and will determine whether you actually get any visitors or not. Position the house in a damp, untidy, quiet area that won’t be disturbed, e.g. against a wall or fence and under plants or vegetation. Ensure that the entrance to the home is facing south or south-west to avoid a north or north-easterly wind. Don’t be tempted to decorate the home for them; part of the hedgehogs’ preparation for hibernating involves furnishing the home with leaves and debris from the garden. If you do get any visitors later in the year, don’t disturb them.
18. Csi Murder Scene
19. Make a natural collage
20. Clouds – find out the name and predict the weather
Here are a few you could research:
21. Shadow puppets
22. Camping cookout
Take along some prepared bread dough. Remove a handful of dough and roll it into a long sausage. Remove the bark from the end of a freshly cut stick, such as hazel. Twist the dough around the stick, making sure that the dough is not too thick. Hold the stick over the hot embers of the fire and allow it to cook. Once the dough starts to brown and harden it will slide off the stick and you can put the sausage in the ready-made hole.
23. Make a tent peg
Hazel is a brilliant wood to use because whenever you cut some wood off it, another branch grows back. TIP: when you cut your hazel tree (which you can distinguish by the leaves in the shape of a duck’s foot) cut it at a 45 degree angle as it means the rain will run off the wood! Once you have done this cover the stump with mud to disguise it.
How to make a tent peg:
- First, find a piece of wood that is a suitable thickness and saw it (like explained above).
- To make the pointed end, that will go into the ground, do a shoulder push (with a straight arm, press your knife a few centimetres away from an end and push down away from you)
- To make the notch where the guy rope goes, hold the piece of wood firmly in one hand and place your knife blade at 90° across the wood. Press the knife into the wood where you want the notch to be, rocking the knife from left to right to help make the cut deeper.
- Place your knife a few centimetres below the cut that you just made and thumb push (push your thumb on the back of the blade) towards the cut. It will stop automatically when it reaches your cut. Repeat this process until you have a deep notch for your guy rope.
- When you hammer down a peg you need to make sure the top doesn’t crack. At the opposite end of your point, bevel the end using the thumb push technique.
Follow these instructions but be careful not to cut your fingers and there you have it, your very own tent peg.
24. Solar oven
All you need is an old cardboard pizza box, cling film, newspaper, foil and black card.
- First cut a square hole in the lid of your pizza box, leaving one edge attached so that you have a hinged flap.
- Next, cut some foil out and stick it onto the inside of your flap.
- After you’ve done that, stick some cling film over the hole in the lid of the pizza box.
- Now open the lid and cover the inside base of the box with black card, and stuff rolled up newspaper in the edges of the box for insulation. Then voila! You have your own oven, powered by the heat of the sun.
Here’s the sciency bit
The foil reflects extra sunlight into the box, the black card absorbs heat to cook your food faster and the cling film prevents any thing from falling in from the outside and keeps any heat inside. Try melting a Haribo, making a s’more or even baking cookies (I don’t think you’ll be able to roast a turkey though!).
25. Arrowhead trail
While you are out walking find some sticks and place them on the ground to make the shape of an arrow. Do this every few metres so there is still some searching involved. Try to make them quite obvious so you don’t leave people wandering around, lost, in the middle of a forest. Choose a a good place to put a prize (like a tree stump or rocks on a beach). Leave your reward in a sheltered or secure place to make sure it doesn’t blow away. Make sure that your arrows lead to your prize. You could challenge your family and friends to complete your trail so make sure there are enough prizes!
Little BIG adventures
26. Climb the height of…
27. Tag team cycle ride
The idea is to select a cycle ride that is a bit (or a lot) longer than the usual ride you might normally complete, and then share the riding between the riders. So, the first riders are dropped off at the start of a section to start riding while the support car or van drives to the end of the section. When the riders arrive at the end of the section, they swap with the driving team and then drive the support vehicle to the end of the next agreed section. Repeat the process until you reach the end of the trail. You don’t have to do the driver/rider swap at the end of every section, but the idea is that everybody takes their turn to ride at least some of the trail.
Look online for ideas in your local area, but some that we have completed have been the Tissington Trail in Derbyshire, the Tarka Trail in Bideford, Devon; and Drake’s Trail from Tavistock to Plymouth (and back if you can).
If you meet other walkers on route, you’ll notice a glint of respect in their eyes (or in the tone of their conversation) when they realise that you are hiking with the intent of staying out over night.
- keep heavy things close to your back to help keep your centre of gravity
- pack things in the order you are going to use them
- keep waterproofs near the top, just in case
- put gloves and hats in outside pockets
- use dry bags to keep valuables – and clothing etc – dry in case water gets through the outer layer of your rucksack
- pack snacks and take plenty of water, and keep them handy too
- tell someone where you are going and when they can expect you back
- take a first aid kit and know how to use it
- always carry a map and compass (and know how to use them)
29. Wild swim / float
Take a wetsuit, a towel, some dry clothes and some snacks and warm drinks to help warm you up when you come out of the water.
If you are swimming with children, make sure they have some flotation device (buoyancy aid if they are young or a weak swimmer, or a safety tow float).
Places to wild swim:
- the ocean – try coasteering or just playing in the waves – be aware of currents and tides
- lakes – the larger the lake, the colder the water (usually). They are free of currents but make sure you can get to the shallows if you get too tired or cold.
- rivers – slow flowing rivers are fun to swim (drift) down – be aware of white water
- water fall plunge pools – don’t go too near the falling water itself though
If you are not a strong swimmer, or don’t fancy exerting yourself too much but you want an exhilarating experience, find some gentle rides to float down. An inflatable ring or car tyre are great for riding small rapids on. Make sure you check the rapids are safe to float down before you jump in, and that you can safely get to shore at any time should you need to. A buoyancy aid is a must for both children and adults alike, and you might want to pop a helmet on the younger rapid riders.
30. Family fun run – park run, 5 or 10 k fun run, fancy dress run, run the shape of
Why? Well, unless you’re fit and err… a runner, running is nothing but hard work that gets you hot, sweaty and looking like a beetroot on legs.
But with the right approach, and a bit of creativity, running can actually be fun… for a family. Honest.
Ideas for making a run, fun
- Take part in a fancy dress fun run.
Fun runs for charity (like Sport Relief) give everyone a good excuse to get dressed up and having fun – and raising money for good causes, too. The fact that most people are not serious runners makes fun runs relaxed and informal, and very supportive environments. If you find a local fun run and are tempted to join in, then do! And if there’s the option of running in fancy dress, then do that as well; when you see everyone in their costumes on the day, you’ll wish you had worn one too. Plus, wearing a fancy dress costume gives you an excuse to run more slowly and to stop and chat to people on the way if you need a rest.
- Join Park Run
Get a Saturday morning off to a nice startPark Run is an organisation that runs 5km timed runs all across the UK (and beyond) every Saturday morning. It is run by volunteers and even runs junior events in some locations. OK, so there are some serious runners that attend Park Run, but this shouldn’t put you off trying one – there are runners of all abilities and from my experience, they are very friendly and no-one actually judges you on your look, gear or ability. The beauty of Park Run is that every respects everyone for enjoying and sharing the experience of running together.Look out for fun Park Runs i.e. runs that take place on special occasions like Christmas.
- Run a shape
Running a shape is really good fun and perfect for families. All you have to do is open Google Maps and use the Distance Measure tool (right click on the map) to mark-up a route you want to run, trying to draw a shape or an outline of something. The beauty of doing this is that not only have your created an interesting route for your run, you’ve also worked out its distance! Clever eh?At Christmas time last year we drew the shape of a reindeer using the roads and streets of the local area, and then we ran (jogged slowly) the route dressed with Christmas fairy lights, Santa hats and singing Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. It was amazing how many people said hello or even Merry Christmas as we passed them. They either thought we were nutty or we helped to fill them with some Christmas cheer.