A trip to the beach is a must for any summer holiday, but sunbathing can only occupy the little ones for so long. Rock pooling is great for inquisitive young minds who want to explore and discover new things. Crabs, anemones, sea snails, you never know what fascinating creatures you might find! Great places in the New Forest to go rock pooling are Lepe Country Park and Milford on Sea.
You can get easy-to-use species ID charts for quite a reasonable low cost, but they can provide hours of entertainment. The kids can use the charts to identify species of trees and plants as well as insects and other small creatures. The best places to look for creepy crawlies are fallen trees and deadwood. It’s not just fun, but educational too! The New Forest Reptile Centre has all six species of native UK reptiles and is the perfect spot to kick-start their ID skills!
A classic family activity we all love, there’s something special about finding a quiet and pretty little spot and settling down for lunch. Be sure to pack plenty of cake as well as frisbee and a football for some relaxed family games too! The Blackwater Tall Trees walk is an ideal place to go for it’s magical scenery.
Devise a list of items that the kids have to go and find, there are lots of options to go for. You can utilise that species ID chart from earlier and ask them to find a leaf from as many species of tree as they can, or even go more abstract with an item for each colour of the rainbow.
Let their creativity flourish with some natural art. You can only use natural items you can find nearby. A self portrait made with a collage of leaves? A mosaic created with twigs and stones? A miniature castle made with sticks? Let their creativity run wild! Try taking a walk in Boldrewood to see the deer for some inspiration!
The game we all know from Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin is simple but fun. Find a bridge over a stream or river, and each player picks a nearby stick. Drop your sticks at the same time on the upstream side of the river, and whosever stick emerges from the other side first wins! It may seem very basic, but you’d be surprised just how much time can simply disappear playing it. There are many little bridges around the New Forest which are ideal for a game of Poohsticks, though two particularly scenic spots are Puttles Bridge and Bolderford Bridge.