10 Outdoor Easter Activities

We’re trying to find any and every excuse to get outside at the moment. Here are 10 activities for this long weekend.

1. Easter Egg Hunt

Unsurprisingly an egg hunt comes at top of the list. If you’re not a fan of chocolate, just use small toys or equivalent to find. If you have more than one child try and hide two different types of chocolate so older ones dont find anything.

Older children could also be given a map to follow, or do an active hunt, where they are given an action at each find (star jumps, a song to sing).

2. Neighbourhood Egg Hunt

We are lucky enough to have some great neighbours and we’re all on a WhatsApp group. Nearly every house has got involved putting up rainbows or bears during the lockdown, and in time for the Easter weekend we’re going to be putting up pictures of Eggs too…. for a TRULY massive Egg Hunt! Reach put this week so you’re all set for the Easter weekend.

3. Reverse Egg Hunt

I’m almost reluctant to write this, because if your kids are anything like my daughter you will be playing this same game for hours, using exactly the same spots! Let children hide the eggs or toys around the house or garden… and you have to find them!

4. Egg Toss

This can be done with boiled or plastic eggs for less mess, or embrace the smashed eggs! Stand opposite each other and throw the eggs back and forth, gradually moving further apart until someone drops it! Plastic eggs are readily available online such as these (affiliate link); Baker Ross Coloured Plastic Eggs For Lucky Dips, Easter Parties and Gifts for Kids (Pack of 12)

5. Egg and Spoon Race

The classic relay race from everyone’s childhood. If you’d rather use a plastic set, we used the egg from Jessica’s kichen set, or you can buy this type of thing on Amazon (affiliate link); Egg and Spoon Race Game Easter Kids Outdoor Garden Sports Fun Balance Retro Game, 4 Plastic Spoons and 4 Eggs

Elsa dress non-compulsory

You could combine this with other fun races such as bunny hops, sack races or pretending to be chickens.

6. Egg Obstacle Course

Instead of an egg and spoon race, create an obstacle course around your house and garden, where children have to go over and under objects, through tunnels and demonstrate their balancing.

7. Daffodil Walk

If you’re lucky enough to live next to some greenery, you could go on a daffodil hunt. Who in your family can spot daffodils first? Take a cheap camera to keep them busy… later back at home they could look through the pictures and draw them! This is the type of camera we’ve bought for our daughter (affiliate link); Faburo Kids Camera Children Digital Camera Child Camera 12MP 32G memory card Toddler Video Recorder Christmas Gift Birthday Gift for Children

8. Create an Easter Egg Tree

Do you have a small tree or bush in your garden or outside your home? Draw or colour some pictures of eggs, rabbits and chicks to hang from it!

9. Play Easter Egg Bowls

Something easy to create. Draw a large Easter Egg on A3 paper with a clear mark in the centre and put in on the ground. Then, similar to a normal game of bowls, take it in turn to throw small balls, trying to get as close as possible to the centre of the egg.

10. Outdoor Nature Art

Create Easter pictures using only natural items you find in your garden or on your walk (where you can add interest by collecting things).
If your children enjoy painting rocks and pebbles, this is the perfect time for an Easter theme!
Errrrr it’s an egg?

So there you have it, my top ten things to do this long weekend. Excited!!!

Making the most of your garden with children

I feel so so lucky to have a garden at the moment, and hope to make the very most of it! Here are some ideas on just how to do that.

Exploring Nature

It’s the perfect time to learn about the nature in your very own garden. Activities include;

  • SCAVENGER HUNT. Take a few minutes to write a list of natural things to find in the garden. For small children a quick sketch… or find numerous examples online to print off. You could also do a photo scavenger hunt- they have to take a picture of everything they find.
  • TREE APPRECIATION. It’s the perfect time to learn about the trees (or flowers, or bushes) that you have in your garden. Draw a picture. Find the seeds and learn how they spread. Do any animals, birds or mini beasts live there?
  • BIRD WATCHING. Spend ten minutes to half an hour sitting quietly, counting birds and identifying what they are.
  • FLOWER PRESS. Collect their favourite flowers and press them. If you don’t want them picking your favourites, restrict to wild flowers.
  • MINI BEAST HUNT. Go searching under stones, bricks or dig in the soil to see what you can find. Older children could make a chart; name, size, colour, no.of legs, wings, how many.
  • RUBBINGS. Try different surfaces, different leaves and bark.
  • GARDENING. Plant seeds, prune plants or even just let children dig. Try to think of some usual pots you could plant in; old wellies, egg cups, a mug. Have a competition with every member of the household to see who’s seed grows the fastest!

Eating outdoors

The possibilities are endless! We’re enjoying some fabulous weather, so have been having lunch and tea outside wherever possible… here are some other options;

  • BBQ. It genuinely is never too early for a BBQ. Enough said.
  • PIZZA! On Mother’s Day we lit our horrendously underused outdoor pizza oven… Jess absolutely loves making the pizzas. If you don’t have a pizza oven, create the pizzas, pop them in your normal oven and then eat them outside! You could even turn your garden into an Italian restaurant… spend some day colouring/ painting Italian flags for that extra touch!
  • PICNIC. Jazz up a simple lunch of sandwiches by spreading a blanket and going outside. Make it into an adventure for little ones; pack up a bag and take them on a little walk around the garden ‘Follow The Leader’ style. Can you find obstacles to walk under/ over/ around?
  • ONE POT. If you go camping with your family, you might have a camping stove or trangia that you could use to cook your tea on. Older children might be able to cook the food themselves.
  • DATE NIGHT. Three years ago my husband had the idea to build a bar in our garden. At the time I thought it was a bloody stupid way to spend money, but now I’m eating my words! We had a lovely night at the weekend wrapping up and going outside, listening to music and eating a take-away. I am well aware garden bars aren’t overly common, but definitely go for a ‘night out’!

Outdoor Art

  • NATURE ART. Make a picture with leaves, twigs and flowers that you find in the garden.
  • CHALK. Let children chalk on your driveway or patio. A great canvas, and then for the enthusiastic they can wash it off!
  • WATER PAINTING. A paintbrush and a pot of water is all you need to get some great designs on fences or patio stones. In the sunshine it will dry quickly so you can go again!
  • STONE PAINTING. If you are still going outdoors, hide them for others to find. There are lots of groups and places around that do this.

Dens and Tents

Pretend to go on a mini holiday and make the most of any tents you have, get them out a spend a day using that as your base. Or as a Wendy house. No tent? Grab a few chairs and a big sheet. Get multiple dens going, build a tent village!! Each tent/den could have a different purpose; one for reading, one for games. Or if your little ones like role play, take out your shopping toys and let every den be a different shop! Can you make shop signs?

Make use of what you have in the garden. Do you have a sandpit? Spend a day at the beach! If it’s safe to do so and your children are a little older, you could even have an overnight adventure, sleeping outdoors!

Water Play

Having recently bought a water play table for the children, who spent about 5 minutes with it before they got bored, I can honestly say filling pots and pans with water and letting small children occupy themselves is the best activity you can do.

My daughter also loves washing things, the car is her favourite, but we’ve taken out her brother’s high chair, you could do plastic toys, or outside pots. As long as she feels she’s helping, she’s happy.

If your child has lots of dolls, fill a tub with bubble bath and let them have a bath time. And of course if it’s warm get a paddling pool out!

Sport and exercise

With Joe Wicks taking over the nation, it seems we are all turning to our living rooms for our exercise space. But remember you could do these online sessions outside! Other ideas;

  • SPORTS DAY. You vs the children. Egg and spoon, slalom, rolling races, hopping races, obstacle course.
  • TAG or if your garden’s big enough, a Hide and Seek Tag.
  • DAILY WORKOUT/ CIRCUITS. You don’t need Joe Wicks! Let each corner of your garden be a station. Star jumps/ Knee ups/ Heel kicks/ Skipping. Run in between.
  • BALL SKILLS. Passing, dribbling, hockey skills, tennis skills.
  • DANGEROUS WATERS. Basically dont stand on the grass (the crocodiles might eat you). Create obstacles that children must navigate to get from one side of the garden to the other. Super easy to set up and you can keep making it harder.

Other games and activities

  • TREASURE HUNT. Hide items all over the garden for little ones to find. Older children could be given clues or even create clues themselves!
  • BUBBLES. Endless entertainment!
  • MUD PIE. Messy play for little ones… all you need is water, mud a a few pots for the perfect mud pie.
  • PUDDLE JUMPING AND RAIN DANCING. Don’t let the rain stop you getting outside. Layer up and get involved!
  • MAKING TRACKS. Have a train set or V-tech toys? Just think of the EPIC size creation that you can make!
  • PLAYING WITH TOYS OUTDOORS. Remember you don’t have to do anything particularly special, just being outdoors if something a little different. Do what you would usually do, just outside!

Are there any activities that I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments!

If you’re still heading out for walks, this post might give you some inspiration to motivate little legs!

Wentworth Garden Centre

A day out to a garden centre? I was a little dubious when a friend suggested taking Jess (3) there. But what a great suggestion!! Based adjacent to Wentworth Woodhouse in Rotherham, this is why we loved it;

Feeding the Animals

A visit to the farm is £2.75 for adults and £2.50 for children, with a bag of food just 60p. You’re able to feed Aplacas, Llamas, Pygmy Goats and Sheep. We had to go back for more food because Jess was so excited by them! Other animals (that you can’t feed) include pigs, rabbits and guinea pigs, meerkats and a wide selection of birds.

The Play Areas

There is a main playground in the garden centre, and within the farm there’s a brilliant undercover toddler play barn and a large outdoor sandpit. In the farm there’s a number of coin operated rides, including a race track. There’s also notices up about a new pirate ship area coming soon.

The Maze

Within the gardens is an absolutely brilliant maze. Perhaps it was because we had the place to ourselves, but we had loads of fun playing hide and seek within it.

The Gardens

They’re great to explore, with lots of little paths and steps to wander round. Within the gardens is a short woodland walk, an ice house, a bear pit and deer to find!

The Food

We loved the cafe; it had a wide selection of hot and cold food, a good children’s menu, and despite being busy, efficient staff kept tables cleared so we didn’t have to wait. In warmer weather there’s alternative places to try.

And remember it’s a garden centre!

So mum and dad stay happy with a good mooch about, including looking at the gift shop and pet and aquatic centre!

If you’re looking for a garden centre (or let’s be honest even if you don’t), and want to keep everyone happy, you’d be hard pressed to find a better choice. You’re welcome.

A day enjoying Bolton Abbey

It is difficult to identify a more picture perfect place to enjoy the winter sunshine! There are walks for all abilities here… and on this beautiful sunny day we enjoyed two of them!

Firstly some key info:

  • A map of the estate can be found here.
  • Parking was £10 all day. With a ticket you can visit different car parks, but we based ourselves at the Riverside carpark. Entry is otherwise free.
  • At each of the car parks, toilet facilities are available.
  • Many paths are gravel or surfaced, but there are definitely muddy parts, particularly across fields towards the Abbey.
  • Pushchairs are certainly possible in many places, but you need to be brave on the steeper paths. If you prefer to keep it safe, a good option might be to the Astrid and back from the Riverside carpark.
  • There are no traditional play areas, but there is a sandpit, and at certain times of year there are activities on the main paths… including Easter and Christmas trails.

Starting our morning walk at the Cavendish Pavillion, we decided to take advantage of the glorious sunshine and walk on the far side of the river towards the Strid, crossing at the Aqueduct and returning on the near side. We’d packed a picnic so we’re looking out for a good spot for lunch!

This path can get steep in parts, and be careful with a youngster as the path does have some serious drops in places! Jess is (usually) pretty sensible so we were confident she’d be fine. I can’t say for definite how far this route is, stupidly forgetting to start my tracker, but looking at the estate map I think a little over three miles. If you’re after something a little longer you could also walk up to Barden Bridge (previously done on this blog post).

Walking back was a bit colder in the shade! Luckily Jess was refuelled after her sandwich and the draw of ice cream (!?!) at the Cavendish Pavillion kept her going. I had an amazing chocolate brownie with my cuppa, which kept me pretty happy too!

After warming up we crossed back over the bridge, this time taking the river path to the abbey. This path is also steep in places, but there’s lots to keep children engaged including crossing a ford (although you can also avoid it), as well as a money tree!

Be warned, the field on the approach to the Abbey can get VERY muddy… the path along the side of the river (rather than cutting through the field) is a bit better, and also provides the opportunity for stone skimming!

To cross to the Abbey you have the choice of a footbridge or if you’re feeling brave, the infamous Stepping Stones!

After exploring the Abbey, we took the path alongside the road that takes you back down to the Riverside carpark.

Both children were fast asleep by the time we got to the road, a sure sign of a cracking day out!

I wonder what your favourite walks are there?

Moorlands Nature Reserve, YO32 2RE

We’re always on the lookout for a new nature reserve, this one, near Skelton north of York, is great for children! As well as enjoying the nature (complete with Nature Trail), there are loads of things to look at and explore.

Website: https://www.ywt.org.uk/nature-reserves/moorlands-nature-reserve

Route: A circular path leads you round the reserve, follow this trail map.

Pushchairs: The path does get narrow in places, but is fine would be fine for most pushchairs.

Facilities: None, but the nearby Haxby does.. including a Costa!

Parking: Free roadside parking

Our first visit here was on a Little Legs walk with the Baby Walking Group. Jess was immediately on side on entry, when she spotted some logs to balance on. I was more interested in some early Snowdrops blooming, gorgeous! If you visit later in Spring, this is a prime spot to enjoy bluebells.

The nature trail takes you around the reserve passing 10 posts of animals (they’re listed on the map linked above). We walked in an anti-clockwise direction, which meant that we could leave the tree house until later in the walk.

One of the first things you come to is the pond, with a platform to help you take a better look.

I wasn’t expecting the sculptures dotted about, but they were great, with a pixie tree our particular favourite.

The treehouse provided shelter for our snack, the children loved climbing the steps and peeking out the windows.

The final excitement came with the fairy circle outside the classroom. After this we “enjoyed” playing hide and seek back to the entrance.

Overall, this is a really lovely reserve, especially for small children to explore. It’s great if you live in York, but perhaps a little far from Leeds, unless you’re combining it with another trip. If you’ve got National Trust passes, you could visit the nearby Beningbrough Hall.

If your little ones need a little encouragement getting excited about being in the outdoors, you might find this blog post useful.

Finding Boggarts at Longshaw (NT)

Another weekend, another National Trust Trail!!

Longshaw, in the Peaks is an absolutely fantastic place to head to for gorgeous walking trails and outdoor adventures for children.

The Boggarts trail is based on one of the main walking routes that can be seen on the property map. Whilst the main path itself is suitable for robust pushchairs (some parts can get muddy), be warned the activities and exploring areas are largely set off the path.

The trail starts at the main car park, where you can pick up a trail guide for just a pound from the welcome building. Alternatively, you can follow the orange marked walking route and look out for Boggart signs!

One of the first discoveries is the little Boggart hamlet of Boggart Rise! All the little dwellings have doors that you can open and try to catch sight of one!

Other favourite activities were balancing at Boggart View and exploring Boggart Burrow.

There’s also a great viewpoint over the valley (although its largely obscured by our selfie)!

The Boggart trail’s final activity is found just off the orange route, on the path leading towards Padley Gorge, with more little magic dwellings.

If you’ve got a buggy, you’ll need to return to the orange route, it’s 1.7 miles in total. If you take a picnic it’s great for little ones!

However, if you’re buggy free you have the luxury of heading down to picnic or snack at the truly beautiful Padley Gorge. On warm sunny days you’ll find loads of families enjoying this wonderful spot, and there’s often an ice cream van parked on the road that you cross.

Without a buggy, you have another option to return to the car park. You can extend your walk by picking up the pink route, this brings the total length of the walk to 4.5km.

The pink route follows the stream, and whilst there’s no Boggarts to find there’s lots of fun to be had throwing in sticks and grass playing Pooh sticks! This path can get extremely muddy here, you have been warned!!

After crossing a footbridge the path leads up through woodland back to the car park. If you have older children there are some good boulders to climb on the way back.

It’s a lovely family walk, but if you fancy something a little more challenging then you might enjoy the fantastic 3 mile circular route of Mam Tor!

Great walks for Christmas with a country pub!

Amidst all the craziness of shopping, nativities, wrapping and parties it’s easy to lose sight of what we should be treasuring over Christmas; families! What better way to enjoy time with families than with a festive walk… finishing with a mulled wine at a country pub.

We love a good Christmas Day walk, it’s a great way to spend time after breakfast and presents… and helps you build up an appetite for Christmas Dinner!! And if you want to avoid the chaos of Boxing Day shopping, take the opportunity to get out and into the fresh air- and walk off all the stodge!

Here’s some suggestions of good walks around Leeds with a pub (although mulled wine is not guaranteed 🤣)! Most pubs are open Boxing Day, Christmas Day hours are given below.

A walk around a park The superb Roundhay Park has surfaced paths (perfect for pushchairs), two lakes, play grounds and woodland! For a quieter stroll, head up the Secret Gorge for a picturesque path along a stream. Finish for a drink at the atmospheric Roundhay Fox, open on Christmas Day 11.30am- 6pm.

Along a canal The beautiful canal stretch between Woodlesford and Methley has a path both sides for a circular walk. There are no stiles, but it can be really muddy on the stretch between Lemonroyd Marina and Methley, so make sure if you take a buggy it’s suitable for off-road paths! The Boundary House in Methley is just a little walk off the canal, and is one of my favourite pubs, open for drinks 12-7pm on Christmas Day.

Around a lake Newmillerdam Country Park is absolutely beautiful anytime of year, but in winter if you’re lucky the frosty views are spectacular! The paths through the woodland and around the lake are mostly buggy friendly, and the cosy Fox & Hounds is a great way to warm up after (open 11am-2/2.30pm on Christmas Day).

Exploring woodland Hackfall Woods in Nidderdale are a great place to explore with little ones, be careful if it’s icy because paths are narrow and could be slippy! Warm up with a drink at the nearby Crown Inn at Grewelthorpe- there’s a path next to the pub that leads straight to the pub.

Away from it all One of Yorkshire’s favourite walks has got to be the Burnsall to Grassington route, about 3.5 miles each way. Maybe a little far for little legs, but it could be a good choice if you’re lucky enough to have a baby in a carrier! The Red Lion at Burnsall is famous for its warm welcome, great food and good atmosphere.

Something longer For a full day walk, there is a great moor from Ilkley across Ilkley Moor and over to Addingham. You can take the return leg along the River Wharfe, it’s about 11km in total so not a one for little walkers! We did this a few years ago on New Years Day- the perfect way to walk of those festive drinks and a great way to start the New Year! The Fleece in Addingham has just been given a new lease of life, and perfect for a mid-way lunch!

This year we’re spending Christmas up in Newcastle, and are planning to head to the truly fabulous Cragside for our Boxing Day outing! What are your plans? Do you have a favourite walk at Christmas time?

The Muddy Boots 2020 Family Challenge

As the time to make some New Year resolutions nears, let me introduce you to a family challenge that gets you out walking at least once a month… as well as showing you some of the best family walks Yorkshire has to offer.

The concept is simple. 12 of my favourite Yorkshire family walks to complete in 12 months. I’ll be suggesting the months to do each walk on my social media, but feel free to mix them up if needed! Whilst some of these routes are buggy friendly, encourage your little ones to walk as much of the routes as possible (read this blog post for help).

You might be able to identify some of the walks from the pictures… but if not here we go!!

The Gnome Roam at Newmillerdam. At just under two miles with loads of activities on the route, this is a great starting walk to get little ones enthused about getting out and about. A pub at the end can get you warmed up from the cold.

Nature Trail at Oakwell Hall. This two mile route has two loops, so half way round you can stop off at the cafe to refuel… and the pull of the play area gets your little ones to restart!

Golden Acre and Paul’s Pond is 5.5km… and is suitable for buggies that don’t mind mud! Refuel and warm up in the scrummy cafe.

Ilkley and Middleton woods is best done April/May to see the glorious bluebells. With views over Ilkley and a walk along the river, this has a little bit of everything…

Up in Nidderdale lies the fantastic Hackfall woods. You might catch the bluebells here in May, but if not take a picnic and allow yourself to explore this gorgeous woodland.

Aaaahhh Heath. A summer visit means picnics on Heath common or drinks in the lovely King’s Arms beer garden. So summer is the perfect time to try this short circular walk.

One of Wakefield’s most popular family walks is the Room on the Broom Trail at Angler’s Country Park. Pack a picnic and some bird seed and enjoy following the trail round the lake.

Bolton Abbey is just picture perfect all year round. But on a sunny day you can enjoy a leisurely picnic as well as the views!

May Beck and Falling Foss. Walk away those September blues with a trip to the coast. Combine a visit to Whitby with this amazing and magical walk. Waterfalls, woodland and probably the best tea garden on the planet.

Damflask Reservoir is a great circular route with a fab cafe stop on the way round!

Stanley Ferry and Southern Washlands Nature Reserve combines a canal walk with woodland.The Stanley Ferry Pub is well placed for a family friendly meal afterwards, so you might want to keep this as a winter walk.

The National Trust always does Christmas well, so why not leave a walk in the beautiful Nostell parkland until then, before enjoying the Christmas spirit at the house and gardens.

So there you go! At the start of each month I’ll be sharing a bit more about these walks for you. Make sure to share any walks with #muddybootsfamilychallenge. Good luck!

Skipwith Common, York

Another new discovery for us! This is a lovely nature reserve and one of the last remaining areas of lowland heath in England. It used to be a bomber training airfield in WW2, and signs of this modern history add to the interest. Today we followed the 2 mile marked route, which was on tarmac path all the way, meaning we could take James in the covered pushchair to shelter him from the downpours!

Website: https://www.friendsofskipwithcommon.org.uk

Parking: Free, we parked on King Rudding Lane.

Facilities: Picnic benches and benches dotted around, but no toilets (nearby villages do have some good pubs!)

Pushchairs: Everywhere is pretty flat, and our route was great for pushchairs (as long as you don’t mind puddles!). The longer routes are largely unsurfaced.

Route: We followed the red route from this map, and the Friends of Skipwith Common websites provides this accompanying information.

Dogs: Are welcome but as this is access land MUST be kept on a short lead.

When we first arrived at the carpark it was absolutely TIPPING it down and we questioned our sanity at getting out the car (even Jess, lover of puddles, suggested she could just stay in the car). But, we had two hours before we had to be at our friends house in a neighbouring village, and it is #getoutsideday, so on went the waterproofs and off we went. I’m so pleased we did, the rain actually lightened as we went round- definitely did it at the right time of the day.

The walk starts on a little loop through woodland past a picturesque pond, and despite initial reservations, Jess was immediately onside with the puddles… at least she was until she suffered a mini Dawn French moment and jumped into puddle capable of housing the Loch Ness Monster. Water over wellies, wet feet and wet leggings. Good start to the walk!!!

The pond we passed had a little viewing platform, and information sign.

It’s access land, and there were loads of brown sheep wandering around. It’s a bit surreal really, I’m used to seeing sheep roaming around fields so it was a bit odd to see them appearing from behind the trees!

There are a few viewing platforms dotted about, and on a drier day I could imagine enjoying a picnic or taking some quiet time to enjoy the view.

The remains of the bombers training camp are so interesting to see, and whilst Jess didn’t have a clue what we were trying to tell her about, we found it pretty impressive! There’s a memorial there too, again not something easy to explain to a three year old.

It’s a great place to explore, and we’re looking forward to returning to do some of the longer walks! If you struggle to keep little ones motivated whilst you do walks, read this blog post for ideas on keeping them entertained!

Rachel xx

Brayton Barff, 2km circular

We were visiting family near Selby today, so stopped off to do this short walk on our way there. It’s been a scorcher, but the well-surfaced main path is through woodland and so we thoroughly enjoyed the shade! Even better news is that if you come in spring you’ll find bluebells 😍😍

Route: https://www.yorkshirewater.com/things-to-do/walks/brayton

Parking: A small free carpark, it can get busy.

Facilities: None, but I’m sure you’ll find a decent country pub nearby, right? There are benches dotted along the path.

Pushchairs: At a little over a mile I’d say why not try to let your toddler walk, it’s a good early one! Otherwise the main route is completely buggy friendly.

The basic premise of Brayton Barff is a circular path around a hill. Whilst the path undulates, there aren’t any significant uphills/downhills. You get some lovely views over to Selby and Drax. There are lots of little trails to take you up the hill and explore, but these are not suitable for buggies. Plenty of little legs do though, and there are loads of examples of den building!

With little explorers I’m sure you could spend hours on this beautiful hill, but equally if you’ve got just an hour to kill when you’re in the area this is a great choice!