In the summer it always seems like a good idea to get children outside for some activity when the weather is bright and beautiful here in the UK – and even when it’s not. There’s so much to explore even if we have to don our raincoats and wellies to do so.

There are many wonderful activities that mirror what we do here at Circus in our Outdoor Play areas that you might want to try out at home.

Many of us have lots to explore in our gardens plus we are very lucky in Cheltenham to have many beautiful wooded areas nearby. Take a look at this list of Play Parks from the Day out With the Kids Gloucestershire website. It includes Batsford Arboretum, Broadway Tower Country Park and Cotswold Country Park and Beach to name a few.

Just going for a walk will help burn off energy so your little ones will be more settled at home. But why not have your children look for as many different types of plants and or animals as possible? Birds, salamanders, insects, toads and so on.  Look for as many species as you can or maybe focus on just one for your ‘nature walk’.

Why not take photos of the species you find with your smartphone and download your nature photo montage to your computer later when you can talk about your ‘finds’ further with your child and commemorate the day? Look up the plants and animals you find on a website like UK Safari so you and your child learn to identify these plants and animals again. Or take a pad and paper and have your child draw whatever grabs his or her fancy along the way.

Encourage your child to use all their senses, not just sight! They can hear birds chirping and the wind blowing, smell plants and feel the many different textures of the outdoors – tree bark, flower petals and slimy salamanders to name a few.

Of course it’s always fun to picnic outdoors. So why not enlist your child to help you pack a healthy lunch or tea to take along? If you include some fruit or vegetables you can talk about how these plants were grown outside and what they taste like.

Check out some of our healthy sandwich and snack ideas here and remember to be careful to store food properly to avoid food poisoning. Check out tips on how to avoid food poisoning here here plus see other great picnicking tips from NetMums.

A few other precautions: remember to take along sunscreen and ensure that if you are going somewhere wooded you wear clothing or use insect repellent to help avoid ticks, mosquitoes and other biting insects.

Spending time with children outdoors can be rewarding for your little ones and you.  Just take your time to allow your children to discover as much as they can about the world around them and have fun!