Our friends the Meek family have selected our ten favourite things that the kids have done while camping and caravanning.
We hope you enjoy giving one or two (or all of them) a go!
1. Make a kite and fly it
There's something magical about flying a kite, particularly if you've made it yourself. Kids and adults alike will enjoy the challenge of designing and making their own kite and the rewarding pleasure of seeing it flying. A simple kite is easy to make and shouldn't cost a lot. All you need is few household items, a splash of creativity and patience, and a windy day!
Make it - There are hundreds of different kite designs. After a spot of online research, choose a simple design and get making.
Fly it - Find an open space, away from any trees or electrical cables. Stand with your back to the wind. Unwind some of the string and ask a friend to lift the kite up for you. As the kite catches the wind, unwind the string gradually to allow it to lift higher in the sky.
Amy and Ella made kites when staying at the Rosedale Caravan Club site in Yorkshire. This was an ideal location - a long narrow site. Amy said, "it was really fun running up and down the long caravan site road, trying to get to fly. We got some funny looks from onlookers."
2. Have hot chocolate outside the caravan in the dark
The clocks haven't gone forward yet and it still gets dark relatively early but that doesn't mean you need to retreat into the caravan or motorhome for the rest of the evening.
As the kids lock up the bikes, put away the scooters and wander back from the playground, make a batch of hot chocolate for everyone to share. The more, the merrier; invite newly made friends over to share in the fun. For an added treat decorate with cream and marshmallows!
Ella loved this challenge, her reasons being (in her words): "one: because I got to have a cup of hot chocolate and two: we did it with friends that we made at the site."
3. Create a treasure hunt / trail for parents and friends
This is a great way to get to know the site or area you are staying in. Send the kids off to explore and design their own treasure hunt.
Ella did this challenge with a school friend who was staying over in the caravan for the night.
Here are her top tips:
- Get a map (from the site) or even better, make one of a small area of the site, like a park or playground. Decide where your final prize could be.
- Write a set of clues like, "The seat with chains that goes to and fro. That is the next place where you now need to go." Make sure that your clues make sense and follow on.
- Cut out your clues and hide them (in the right places!) round the park / location.
- Hide the prize in the spot that you chose.
- Give the first clue to your parents or friends (along with the map for help) to have a go at.
- There you have it. That's how you make a treasure hunt!
4. Draw the view from your caravan / motorhome window.
For you arty folk out there, this is a great activity.
Encourage the family to choose a window to sit at and draw (or paint) what they can see outside. Everyone will have their own style - there are no right or wrongs with art so just have a go. If you draw or paint the picture on a small piece of card, you could turn it into a postcard and send it to a friend or relative to show where you've been and what you've seen (literally)!
Amy loves drawing and loved this challenge. She fondly remembers drawing "a picture in a beautiful CL site where there was a picturesque view. I've kept it to remind me of the time we were there."
5. Welly Wanging
The aim of welly wanging is basically to throw (wang) your welly as far as you can. So find a large open space, grab some wellies (that you're not wearing) and split into teams. Take it in turns to wang the welly and see which team covers the furthest distance. Experiment with different techniques along the way; try overarm, underarm and even swinging between the legs.
6. Feely bag challenge
This is a great game to encourage the kids outdoors and to explore the site. Give everyone a small bag and go off hunting for unusual bits and bobs to put in it; limit this to an easy number, e.g. 5. Re-group and then the fun begins. Take it in turns to guess what the items in the bag are by feeling inside, without looking. Note down what you think all the items are and then check them off if you're right.
7. Build a den and get the family in
Den building is one of those great outdoor adventures that all kids should do at some point. Get the whole family involved and make it a family adventure. Head into some nearby woodland and spend time collecting large fallen branches and twigs.
You can arrange these to make a teepee style shelter or try the following:
- Find a healthy, living y-shaped tree and prop your longest branch against the Y. Alternatively, prop the branch between two Y-shaped trees. This branch becomes the backbone of your shelter.
- Arrange other branches along the backbone, as close as possible, trying to avoid leaving any gaps. Don't forget to leave a doorway!
- Cover the branches (walls of your den) with fallen leaves and moss. Plug any gaps that might allow rain or wind through.
Once your den is complete, get the family inside and enjoy your hard work. You could maybe have a picnic inside or even sleep in it!
8. Wake up early to hear the dawn chorus
Don't laze around in the warmth and comfort of the caravan or motorhome but make an effort to get up and out early one morning, before sunrise and you'll be amazed by what you hear. Birds usually start to wake up and sing an hour before sunrise so wrap up and position yourself ready to listen to the performance.
Take along a gas stove and a few simple essentials to make breakfast. As your sipping on your coffee or hot chocolate and munching on your sausage or egg sandwich, try to identify which birds are singing and become familiar with their individual sounds.
As the rest of the world wakes up around you, return the favour by leaving bird food or making your own bird feeders (covering pinecones in lard and birdseed).
9. Go geocaching and leave a caravan / motorhome related cache for others to find
Give a walk a purpose and thrill; make it into a treasure hunt that the kids (and adults) will love. Geocaching is the new, digital alternative to treasure hunts and is becoming increasingly popular around the world.
There are millions of geocaches ("treasure" - containers of varying sizes) hidden all over the place, probably not very far from where you are currently.
- Download a geocaching app onto your smartphone. Alternatively use a GPS device, if you have one.
- Choose a geocache that you want to find and then use the app / device to navigate to its location. These vary in difficulty so choose an easier one when first starting.
- Once you find the geocache, look inside, sign and date the book (if there is one) and replace it in its original hiding place. Some geocaches contain items or goodies inside. If you wish to take a piece of treasure with you, you should always replace it with something else (not food). Be creative and try to leave a treasure linked to a caravan or motorhome.
10. Create an outdoor sculpture using land art
This challenge isn't about being a great artist or having natural artistic flair; it's about being creative in the outdoors - anyone can do it.
There are so many different natural materials outside (pines cones, grass, twigs, stones etc.) that can be used to create a unique piece of artwork.
Tips and considerations:
- Try not to do this on a windy day. You don't want your artwork to blow away.
- Don't pick any berries if you don't know what they are.
- Avoid picking and using wild flowers.
- Don't forget to take a photo of your finished piece so that you can remember it.
You can follow the Meek family on their blog Do Try this at Home
Get Active with more great things to do both during half-term and all year round.