The last couple of days, while still a bit nippy, have been bright, sunny and remarkably dry here in Belfast (cue torrential down pour the minute I post this). Though it's a couple of weeks before the official equinox, spring is definitely on the way. So every Tuesday for the next eight weeks I'll be posting a regualr feature on the best Eco Friendly Activties for kids that make the most of the new season. Enjoy x
Kids love picnics and kids love parks, so combining the two is a bit of a no brainer. If it's still a bit too chilly to be lazing around on the grass, don't worry. You can pack smaller snacks such as fruit, nuts and cereal bars, and eat them on mini pit stops as you walk around the park. There are plenty of things you can do to make this an activity with particualr focus on the environment, such as;
Support your Local Park - While some days you may want to explore further afield, making the most of your local parks is one of the best things you can do. If the park is in walking or cycling distance you save on fuel, and you can feel happy about the idea that you are making the most of a local annimity.
Make the food yourself (let the kids help too) - This will have far less packaging than shop bought sandwiches and crisps. Transport it in re-useable containers, with drinks in bottles or flasks., and carry in a rucksack or similar, rather than plastic bag. If your kids are helping, see if they can come up with good ideas for recycled lunch boxes, from old tubs, container and the like.
Teach the importnace of maintaining a tidy environment - Making sure the kids pick up any litter when done and lead by example in making sure you leave your own area tidy too. If the park doesn't have it's own recycling units take stuff home with you (after all you had room to bring it with you). Also pick up after any animals you may have with you too - unaddressed dog fowling is not only ganking, but dangerous too.
Organise a treasure or scavenger hunt - Get children to collect or spot (a game of nature eye spy perhaps?) various items from around the park, teaching them their names and role in the local environment. You can also use this as a chance to ensure that kids are aware of park boundaries and safety, and the right and wrong ways to engage with the surrounding wildlife.