Family Travel

Paris with Kids – sightseeing on microscooters

29 September, 2015

We took our kids to Paris a few weeks ago. We considered asking Ramona if she’d like to stay with Aunty Jo while we zipped off with little Juno, because you know, four year olds can be pretty set on what they want to do and a tour around Paris might not be up there! We didn’t want 3 days of conflicting plans. In the end we booked tickets on the Eurostar for all of us and we were so, so, SO glad we did!

We had the BEST time. Paris is a wonder for families – everyone is so friendly towards kids and there are playgrounds everywhere you look and the food is our children’s dream come true!

We spent three days eating huge amounts of carbs and meat, microscooting around the smooth, marble paths and being wowed by the incredible sights.

We took it really easy, and did plan a trip to mirror the needs of our whole family. So, while we were interested in visiting the Louvre, we decided that might be better another time when the kids are better able to understand that we are queuing to see a historically important and heart moving portrait of a mystery woman…

Instead we walked/ scooted a lot and played in a lot of playgrounds and ate a lot of crepes. We hardly spend a penny on activities, opting to spend our cash on the trains and food. (Did I mention food?)

In this post I will start with things to do in Paris with children and will move on to things such as accommodation and things to take… you with me? 

(Hey, also, I know it is well weird me blogging about the delights of a European city whilst fully esconsed in a yurt in a forest in NZ… Pahahaha… What can I say? We LOVE the forest and we LOVE cities… So yeah, we are that, erm, unique brand of hippy that guzzles coffee and croissants like there is no tommorow!) 

Paris with kids - activities, accommodation and getting around

Things to do in Paris with Kids
There are loads of expensive activities to do with children, but so much to enjoy that is free or cheap too. I think it is all about finding the right balance. We paid for very little, but used everything as a learning experience. When we go back with older kids (ours are 2 and 4) we will probably pay for a few more galleries and museums and things. 

Jardin Luxembourg
We wiled away a lovely afternoon at the Jardin Du Luxembourg – conveniently located right next to the Luxembourg station.  We watched people sailing their boats on the little lake, we paid $7 euros for our family of four to enter the epic, epic playground, and we wandered up and down the tree lined avenues. In the summer months there are puppet shows and a beautiful carousel. We love the general relaxing atmosphere – sheesh, Parisians know how to take it easy! Everyone was just draped over seats and along the grass and we just joined in and people watched. Paris with kids - everything you need to know

Centre Georges Pompidou
This huge cultural centre is astonishing! It costs a fair few quid to get in (£15 per adult which actually isn’t too bad for the floors and floors of exhibits) but the most tantalising part of it for our young children was the huge, huge, HUGE escalator that is outside the building! I can not tell you how much our children buzz out on moving stairs – that is what living in rural NZ does for you – so this was heaven for them! It costs £3 per adult ticket to ride the stairs, but at the top you get the most magnificent views. Possibly the best in Paris. Save that, erm, tower thingy.

Surrounding the centre are lots of little indy markets and some amazing buskers and crepe shops and street art. It is a whole quarter buzzing with life. Paris with kids - world's biggest escalator

Moules and Frites
We saw getting a few massive buckets of mussels as an educational experience. Luckily our kids LOVE seafood – we actually have Mussel Monday every week in our home. We devoured this reasonably priced lunch at Leon in Republique – avec a cool little kids toy pack-  and then headed over to the Marionette statue over the road (see below) to laze around watching skaters.Paris with kids - moules and frites

Place de la Republique
If you are close to Republique (which you will be if visiting Centre Georges Pompidou or eating Moules) it is worth checking out this huge enormous, slightly forgotten square.  We watched the skaters, did a load of scooting, lounged under the enormous Marionette and discussed French history!

Jardin Buttes Chaumont
We scooted and strolled around these Jardins (hehe, said in a very British accent) with the kids for a whole morning. We saw a flautist rehearsing under a tree, and a very loud opera singer practicing her dramatic melodies. Where in the world do you see these things? There are rolling streams that we paddled in and great hills that offer grand views. Find it close to the Buttes Chaumont station.

Big Paris Attractions
Can’t really not mention these whoppers…

Cathedrale Notre Dame de Paris
This cathedral is a site to behold and we didn’t even go in! Just astonishing to see and also surrounded by lots of tiny little playgrounds – sandpits, swings, weird roundabouty things. So the children play while the adults scope out the idea way to capture the gothic art for Instagram!

The bridge of locks
Our girls loved checking out Love Lock bridge which is right next to the Cathedral. It was such a sensory experience for them, playing with all these steel symbols of love. We talked about why people might chose to leave a padlock like this, and I regretted not bringing our own little family one. There are other things too… turns out, not just locks. As I was choosing a picture for this post I nearly chose one of Juno handling a little lock right next to a grey pair of lacy knickers before my brain had figured out what they were. EW! Paris with kids - love lock bridge

The Louvre
The Louvre is magnificent outside as well as in, so if you have young kiddos don’t be afraid of just lolling about on the grounds! There is plenty of outdoor art to enjoy (and nipples to squeeze) and general good atmosphere and, of course, KILLER SCOOTING TO BE HAD. Epic. Paris with Kids

The Eiffel Tower
It is set apart from everything but it would be impossible to visit Paris without seeing this astounding monument. It is properly, weirdly, massive and, um, well, a little bit pointless. We opted out of the queues and climbing and enjoyed it from below, we had a little picnic of pastries and Orangina on the vast lawns around it. Ramona absolutely fell head over heels in love with it. We made body shapes like it and as we walked closer to it she was holding up her fingers to almost try and capture it in her hands.

Getting Around
Paris is MASSIVE and there is so much to see. We bought a bumper back of tickets we could use on the metro and bus and simply hopped on and off and did loads of walking/ scooting in between. Our favourite way of seeing cities is walking around – we love the daily hubub of life you see, and we love discovering little corners. Paris with Kids - le Louvre


No bones about it, Paris is expensive to room in. I can’t recommend enough the idea that staying out of the city and getting the train in is easy peasy. So, so much more affordable. We have had lovely stays at different campground – the campground in the very central park Bois Du Bologne is great for access (we rode our bikes in to town in a jiffy – well, that is, AFTER following the Seine round the wrong way for about 1.5 hours … man, Paris was getting dingier and dingier and the roads were really beginning to resemble motorways but the Eiffel Tower seemed to be getting nearer! What the? We soon realised that the weird bending of the river is a bit of a crazy mind trick and we were cycling away from our beloved Gay Paree!)  Sites are small and you HAVE to book otherwise you end up on a craggy patch of grass with all the drunkard students!

We also had a truly delightful stay at the Huttopia campsite in Versailles one year when Ramona was little- that time we drove 12 hours to go to a car boot sale in the South of France. Haha.

However this time round we got the train so couldn’t bring all our camping gear. We did two things, a hotel in town and Air BNB.

There is so much gorgeous accommodation available on Airbnb Paris and if you look around enough you can get some great bargains. We bagged an entire apartment for just over £30 a night and it was completely gorgeous.
If you use this link to sign up right here  then both you and I get £13 added to our accounts which is nice right! And then you get points for inviting your mates… Like a budget accommodation pyramid scheme ha.
This is the place we stayed at. Thanks Maude!

Hotel Eldorado
We also had a rather more expensive, but equally lovely, stay at Hotel Eldorado because Maude’s wasn’t available for our first night and this was recommended to us. It is an old, rustic town house with the kindest staff and the loveliest ambience.  We wandered up the road for a lovely French tapas meal and got croissants across the road in the morning for breaky. Lush.

If your kids scoot and you can trust them not to go to far or be dangerous I recommend taking them with you! It was so incredible being able to walk for miles while our kids scooted happily along on their microscooters! Even Juno who is 2.5 went for almost the whole day scooting along. It felt really safe, and when it didn’t we just held hands. Paris with kids - a family holiday

We also took a fold up buggy so everyone could nap (it was a squash for Tim) (I jest) and the sling too. This meant we could stay up way past bedtime (hahaha, like we have such a thing) and just make our way home with two sleeping, worn out kiddos.

And, finally
In a dash of uncanny timing, I was sent info about this Paris weekend comp – it would be amazing if a reader won this! If not, do consider heading over there anyway, it is so worth it.

Love or hate it?
Would love to hear about your own Paris memories, whatever they are. (My parents and sister hate it, they think it is smelly and too big. Hahaha. I think they are holding onto traumatic memories of winding around the busy Paris streets with two grumpy girls in a groaning VW campervan. My own childhood memory involves waking up in that very van parked right on the kerb in front of the Palace of Versailles where we spent the night in an outrageous bid for a cheap holiday…)Family Travel - paris with kidsRamona took this shot…

unschooling, yurt life

Stir together; a cup of joy, a splash of grief, a pint of excitement, a spoonful of fear

24 September, 2015

All. The. Emotions.

We are back in NZ on the cusp of a whole new thing.

We had incredible flights here, the girls were total heros and the kindness of strangers went a long way. (Homage to the general public who are kind to children right here.) Those flights were sandwiched by a week in California, making ourselves truly at home amongst the totally marvellous unschooling tribes of San Francisco who roomed us and fed us and took us to their pottery workshops and museums and beaches and forests. (So much to say about that! Perhaps a whole other post … for now my photos on Instagram will have to do.)

Jet lag has been no issue this week; we are buzzing out on excitement alone- carried along from 5am to 10pm on rolling waves of let’s-buy-the-chickens-and-have-a-mudpie-kitchen-and-a-forest-school. (Um. And maybe a few good kiwi flat whites.)

Because on Saturday we move on to our new land, putting up our first little yurt next to a beautiful stand of native Kahikatea trees, ready to begin cultivating a huge veggie patch, a few orchards, and a life of wild learning and growing together. We popped in there yesterday, our first day in NZ and as we walked around there were two little piwakawaka (fantails) flitting around us, chirping and swooping and it just felt like they were giving us a little welcome, saying, make your home here with us!

When I was a tiny tike, despite always living in the inner city, I always said when I grew up I wanted to marry a farmer. (You can imagine the horror that bought my feminist mama. I also wanted to change my name to Eric so maybe that evened things out a little.)

It is a bit surreal to think we are well and truly becoming farmers now.Rewilding - Family moved from South London to a yurt in a forest in NZ

Over the next few weeks and months we have to build our own composting toilets (read about golden poos right here) and bathroom, we have to tap the springs so we have fresh water, put up our bigger, mammoth yurt, find places for our chickens and cows, and start planting out the food that will fill our bellies.

After a few months of travelling around (still planning posts about Paris and other adventures – i have been a bit distracted all summer by writing my new booooook) it feels so, so, so good to be grounding ourselves, embracing rituals and rhythms, connecting with the community of kindred spirits we have in NZ – in particular the family we are sharing the land with.

I can’t wait to be a part of Ramona and Juno’s learning journey as we learn together on the farm, through simply living and responding to creative urges and engaging with the natural world around us.
(I am an official Channel Mum vlogger person thingy and I did a video about our unschooling beginnings which you can see here…)

I feel so happy to imagine this childhood for our kids, one filled with bugs and mud and native birds and forest, one where they won’t lose touch with their wild selves.Yurt family - 30 days of  rewilding

And then, amongst all this huge sense of anticipation and happiness are these random pangs of sadness. A memory from this summer, of swimming in an English river with my lifelong best friends or laying down in the long grass to watch the meteor shower with my beautiful sister, will shoot into my mind and just take my breath away.

And, underneath all these feelings, the grief and joy and hope, is this sort of intangible fear.

It feels funny to type that out. To name it. But there it is. It is a quiet vibration just humming amongst it all. Because we can’t separate what we are about to do from all the horror stories of intentional communities we’ve heard. We can’t deny the fact that are not born farmers, or that we are all stepping out of our existing community of marvelous hippies to do this together.

But it isn’t the scary kind of fear. Because we know, know, KNOW we have to do this.

We walked on to the land on January the 1st this year and went “THIS IS IT! This is our very future right here! This dell has been marked with our names!”

And we are certain we want to live and work with others. We have always yearnt for interdependency and life-sharing and are convinced that sustainable living looks like this.

We didn’t want to grow old wishing we had taken a chance on nurturing a tribal way of life when we had it.

And if we can do this with anyone, it is with the family we co-own the land with.

So the fear bit? Mixed in with all those other emotions it is like sitting in a little carriage perched at the very top of an enormous, towering rollercoaster, staring down at that deep, inevitable, belly dropping swoop and roaring “WOOHOOOOOO!!! LET’S DO THIS THING!!”


Read about our move from South London to a yurt in a forest in NZ, amongst a load of inspiring stories in my new book, 30 Days of Rewilding – find your place in nature and watch your family bloom.  The Telegraph did an amazing feature on it and on the first day of release it went to Number One in its category on Amazon. Whooop! I guess, what I’m trying to say is, um, read it, if you like…


It takes a village – to be the parent you want to be 

16 September, 2015

Sometimes my husband and I are AMAZING parents, we are just real great at it. Calm, fun, creative. On days like these you might see us, after each smoothly putting a child in their car seat with no stress or tears, give each other a little fist bump, with the exploding hand thing after. Like we are teenagers in an American basketball movie. 

And then other times, we are really bad at this job. Good grief! We emanate stress, we are triggered by our children’s emotions, we start running on the “control mindset” that seems to be our default. There are no fist bumps on these days- these are the weeks we take it in turns to cower in the toilet. 

When I look back over this rollercoaster of parenting, I feel VERY able to trace it to times that we were feeling really supported- or not.  

Those darker, grumpier times have almost always been due to isolation, of being away from a supportive group of friends and family, because of big life changes or just getting out of rhythms that connect us to people we need and trust. 

There is a powerful phrase about it taking a village to raise a child. It is so true that children thrive on the multi-generational, diverse, chaotic grounding of community. But perhaps it is mostly true because of the support a village gives the parents.

We are exhausted 

Before I was a parent I thought I knew tired. Insomnia, exam stress, work trip, too much coffee, very late night, early morning train= EXHAUSTING! Oh how I can now laugh/ cry/ laugh-cry! I was only on Level 7 out of 30- now I’m on the bonus level and it’s not even a game I want to PLAY let alone WIN…

It’s not just the physicality of parenting, the putting new batteries in a broken toy with one hand, whilst doing up shoelaces with the other (and saving a falling bowl of coco pops with your foot) that happens all day.

It’s the mental and emotional strain just as much. The incredible privilege of watching out for other people’s needs, every minute of everyday, and the need to be so mindful of our own feelings and the impact of those on our children. Holding it together is well knackering! 

We need people who aren’t quite as tired as us in our village. 

When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts.  A mother always has to think twice, once for herself, and once for her child.  

– Sophia Loren

We have things to do

I want to be the parent who plays, and joins in, and opens doors for my children’s curiosity to blossom. Not the one who is tidying and doing jobs all the time. This sort of means our house is a tip, and that loads of jobs, erm, don’t get done. I do feel like this isn’t meant to be the case. 

I’m so inspired by a bunch of my friends (who live in a separate town to me dangnamit) who spend all day every Monday at one of their houses, tidying together. They do it on a rolling schedule so that once a month each one of their houses gets a full on seeing to while all the kids play. It is such a simple thing and a way that villages have done jobs forever. There is a saying on our farm:

If it feels like work, there’s not enough people doing it.

Rowan, from the farm

Life should be enjoyed; parenting and chores can be a pleasure when done together. 

We have hopes and dreams 

I am learning that I am the parent I want to be (kind, patient, creative) when I have chance to work. (I know! Me! Technically lazy but actually quite ambitious!) I neeeeed time to concentrate and bring to fruit the ideas that ping around my brain. My natural desire to learn and create didn’t die when I birthed my children, if anything it grew and grew. When I don’t get the opportunity to focus on my own shizzle for a bit I am frustrated and distracted with my children- perhaps also out working a little bit of deep down subconscious “motherhood has thwarted me” narrative. 

Two of my friends in London do a sort of “child swap” where one morning a week one of them has all four kids while the free mum does some writing, a few days later the writer has all four kids so the other mum can have the morning off. Working, reading, relaxing, fun, whatever- one delicious morning every week to yourself can be a sanity restorer. (Quick, write a list of mates to ring up…) 

We need shoulders 

Our mental health as parents relies on us having shoulders to cry on, arms to lean on, ears to vent in. Especially for those of us (possibly many, many of us) dealing with emotional baggage from childhood, we need a space where can be honest and open about our feelings. Having other adults we can call on to talk through stuff with us, to give us a huge hug, to let us know we are enough, but that we don’t have to be enough by ourselves… We are born to have this kind of community. Having a group of people we can be vulnerable with and talk through struggles with restores us, makes us able to be the parent that can laugh and dance and be really present. (I also believe we should be authentic with our children too, but not to burden them with our emotional needs.) 

 The Embrace, Gustav Klimt

Build a village

I found myself beaming today as I opened up a facebook group I’d been invited to, called Takes a Village. Alot of isolated mums are found on facebook and forums, that’s for sure, I spent my first three months as a mum almost solely online googling “Is [insert very normal newborn behaviour] normal?” Takes a Village is a local, open group where mothers can connect and build a friendship offline in order to start doing bits of life in a villagey way, raising their kids, cleaning together, getting well needed breaks. The creator of the group, Rachel, set up the group one evening, and in the morning she woke up to 128 members. A few days later and it has 250 members- it doesn’t sound like much but it represents about a tenth of the NZ population. Hehehe. 

Rachel says “I moved to a new town in November and although I joined the local playgroups I’ve found it hard to develop the intentional sort of friendships that extend beyond focusing on children’s play. These days children don’t get to witness as much of ‘village life’, meaning amongst other things, you end up with many adults spending the afternoon playing with their children inside and frankly being a little bored. So I started this page to see if there were any other parents who, like me, craved more adult time and interaction during the day. I created it in the evening, and by the time I went to bed there were already 70 members. 

We are hardwired by nature to be a part of a tribe, but these days we move away from our families and change locations so much it’s hard to make old friends. So we end up on our own, which with small children is incredibly hard. This page was a way to bring people together and help each other – with cleaning, with cooking meals for new mums, de-cluttering, babysitting, baking, gardening, sharing skills – whatever people want.”

Parents have already organised themselves, met up and some have begun a roster of meal cooking for the group’s pregnant women’s transition to motherhood. It is potentially so life, and society, changing. 

If you are a parent, you are probably weary, likely have a list of jobs as long as your arm, but you deserve a shoulder to cry on and the fulfilment of your hopes and dreams – be they writing a novel or doing a poo solo.

Can you send a text now? Start a Facebook group?  I hope you find a way to find your village. You and your kids are well entitled to more fistbump days. 

online games

Free Online Games for Kids | Gender Neutral Play

9 September, 2015

You may know that when it comes to screen time I am absolutely FINE with interactive things, like playing online games or free apps, but watching endless amounts of kids tv kind of makes me a bit… scritchy.

There is something about me feeling like kids are learning when they are playing games (er, free games, I might add! I am a cheapskate) but I sort of doubt that when they are sitting and absorbing moving images.

That might be strange, but it is the truth!

As unschoolers, we don’t really worry too much about screen time on the whole. All of those tests that show playing games online leads to obesity or mental health problems are done on school kids who spend all day sitting at a desk. So a few hours of playing online games for an unschooled kid is neither here nor there, I reckon!

And who knows, kids who play online games as youngsters are probably well set up to become uber successful as adults in this digital age!

I enjoyed discovering some of the kids games on recently. My daughter sometimes goes on there to play at the library while I do a bit of work. I like to guide her to the general kids section where there are loads of games that aren’t gender specific.

We have enjoyed the Lion Guard – sequel to Lion King- one, the Bare Bear ones and the Pickle and Peanut. They are just the perfect combination of complicated, easy to play and absurd! That is the ideal kids game in my opinion!

I also love that they only take a little while to load, pop ups are not a distraction, and I can wean my girls off Peppa Pig Zombie Watching by leading them on to

Would love to hear your thoughts on screen time and playing online games!


80 Fun Outdoor Activities for Kids | Things To Do Outside

7 September, 2015

I have basically spent the summer making a list in my head of all the fun outdoor activities kids can get up to. Why? Don’t ask me! It is the slightly tragic nature of a blogger I think, to turn everything you do into a (mostly unpublished) blog post.Every fun thing we have done outside (and there’s been a humoungous about of fun activities- check out Instagram) has gone on The Great List Of Outdoor Activities In My Head.

Well, what is the point of an In-My-Head list? Eh? Eh? NO POINT.

So here it is, the Very Ultimate, the Mostly Free, the Really Fun List of Outdoor Activities for Kids. Thank me later. Actually you probably won’t because you’ll never look at a screen again as you’ll be having too much fun outdoors with the kids. Harumph.

(This might seem like strange timing, the week that kids are going back to school. But to me, it is IDEAL timing. This list is a big fat reminder about how important it is to make the most of the times you have with your kids when they are not stuck in a classroom. You could print this list out and cut it up and have an instant “Outdoor Activities Jar” and then whenever you are looking for things to do that are free and fun and outside you can pick one out and VOILA!)

Why play outside?
Whilst writing my book, 30 Days of Rewilding, I researched just how happy and healthy the outdoors can make us. There is quite a lot of evidence that suggests mud can fight depression (really!) and living with a green space close by makes you live longer (I KNOW!) –  connecting with nature has a hugely restorative role.

For children in particular, I feel that the Great Outdoors is BIG enough for them! It can hold their rambunctiousness, their loudness and their energy. We don’t have to say “Use your inside voice” or keep nagging them to stop being so wild. These outside activities don’t come come with a “NO JUMPING NO RUNNING NO SHOUTING NO BALL GAMES” sign like so many areas of our children’s lives do! Because the earth can absorb it all – our children can be fully themselves outdoors.

The wilderness is enough for our children’s wild side.

I love that.

So here we go, 80 fun outdoor activities for kids!
Amazing Fun Outdoor Activities for Kids
Fun Activities in the garden

The ideal place for dabbling your feet in the Great Outdoors is obviously your garden! I believe gardeners are up there with oil-rig climbing activists in terms of protecting the planet. Getting children involved in gardening activities is the first step in nurturing nature lovers, I reckon.

Make bird feeders. Collect pine cones, spread lard on the segments and cover with seeds. Hang on the trees!

Little fingers are great at weeding. Show them the easily identifiable weeds to pull.

Get a seed catalogue and let your children chose the flowers they want to grow.

Little hands are great at digging. Get the children to plant the holes for the flowers they want to plant.

Plant a small herb garden with your child, let them know it is theirs to care for.

Let your children pinch out the new shoots on the tomato plants.

Let the children harvest the vegetables – they will only learn to be careful with the practice!

Put the kids in charge of watering – this is a critical job and one they can do so well!

Build a worm bin for your scraps – see a how to here – and put your children in charge of collecting the right scraps and monitoring the worms health.

Build a compost heap your children and put them in charge of checking the temperature – see a how to here!

Make a mud wall. Dig up a little corner of your garden till you get to the kind of clay-like dirt. Plaster a bit of your fence with it and then start moulding faces into it, this is something epic that the kids can work on everyday – it will soon look like you have a wall of gargoyles!80 fun outdoor activities for kids

Playing outdoors!
“Our challenge isn’t so much to teach children about the natural world, but to find ways to nurture and sustain the instinctive connections they already carry.”
– Terry Krautwurst

Outdoor Activities in the forest
Every town has a nature reserve – it doesn’t have to be a great forest, a simple local woodland where trees are gathered will do. Cool in the summer, covered in the rain, forests are the ideal environment for outdoor activities. 

Build a den. There is a traditional technique where you perch one big long stick in the V of a tree to make a sloping spine for the roof. You then lean long sticks against it. But I’m sure you and the kids will come up with your own way!

Go on a scavenger hunt. Create a list of things to find; mushrooms, feathers, birds nest, badger holes. Go on a mission to find them.

Give the kids a camera and let them make a nature documentary.

Roll a log onto its side and discover all the critters living beneath it.

Make a crown out of leaves and twigs.

Use your den as a stake out, wait and watch and record the wild life you see. (If you do it at dusk you might get lucky and spot some badgers.)

Whittle sticks into arrows and use a tree stump as target practice.

Take paper and pencils and take bark and leaf rubbings. (For those of you who missed out on this as a child: put the paper on top of the thing you want to rub, then gently move your pencil over the top.)

Weave with nature. Make a grid out of twigs tied together with thin strips of flax. Now you can weave weeds and blossoms all the way through it.

Collect a hamper of nature’s wonders to bring home for a seasonal nature table.

Play wild bingo – like a scavenger hunt but better – there are downloadable ones here by the amazing blog Seeds and Stitches. 

“If a child is to keep his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in.”
Rachel Carson

Outdoor Activities at the beach

The place I hear the call of the wild the loudest? At the beach! If you go there often enough you need to “do” anything- the sounds of the crashing waves and the amazing textures and treasures are totally enough. But to get started with the fun, check out these activities.

Float a log out to see and then try and sink it by throwing stones at it. (Tim and I used to play this all the time before we had kids HA HA – genuinely fun!)

Create a dam system right by the tide mark – help your children stoke up their engineering minds by working out a plan for building a dam. You need a lower bed of stones/ sand, and then you need to build the dam bit up. Too much fun to try and capture water in it, without letting the dam wash a way.

Chasing waves – it is a classic not to be overlooked. This is perfect for children of all ages. If it is a nice day you need more of a penalty than “got wet by an incoming wave” – work out some kind of jail for kids to go in when they get wet.

Body surfing – there is a technique for this awesome surfing with out a board – check it out here.

Sand sculptures – like sand castles but more intense. My girls love making giant, fancy mermaids using all the stuff the tide washes up.

Drift wood monsters – build up monsters using driftwood and seaweed.

Crabbing – turn over rocks at low tide to see some great ones. Alternatively grab a net, some bait and a wharf (ideally.) Crabs are such fascinating creatures, with their weird goggly eyes and drunken stagger.

Fun Games to Play Outside
As well as activities there are loads of games for kids to play outside. Here are a few new ones and a few classics too.

Kubb is one of those games I have been recently introduced to which I love. It does need a bit of makey do before hand, but once you have it it will basically become a family heirloom. Think chucking bits of wood around in a systematic, strategic way. Yep, you got it: Viking Chess. Here is how to make and play Kubb.

Bowls… Whatever it is NOT just for grandmas. You see, you, the toddlers and the teens will get right into this, you will! And there is a set of bowls in every charity shop I have ever been in ever. So. yeah.

Hit the target. If going out and getting a fancy set of bowls doesn’t float your boat, simply set up a bit of target practice with whatever you have to hand. Pin a scarf on to a tree and then collect a load of pine cones. Wile away hours trying to hit bullseye. You will. you really will!

Sardines – I was tempted to say “Hide and Seek” but you can see this list is an original one and Hide and Seek has no place on an original list of things to do outside, hello?! Ha. Sardines on the other hand – it is quite an underrated classic! In this game once person hides while the whole crowd counts to 50. Then the crowd split up to hunt down the hider. When they find them they just hide with them, until everybody is hiding there. It makes me giggle just to think about it!

What time is it Mister Wolf? Oh, talking about fits of giggles! This is a childhood game that involves kids of all ages, perfect for outside. You have a wolf, with her back to you, and a set of keys (or another item) set just below her back. All the kids stand 6 metres away and ask “What’s the time Mister Wolf?” while she is thinking of and saying her answer the kids trying and sneak up to grab the keys and take them back to the finish line. But after the wolf has said “XXX o clock” she turns around and everyone has to freeze. If she sees someone moving they are out, and if the keys are gone she has to guess who is holding them. FUN FUN FUN!

Outdoor Activities on a camping trip
A lot of the beauty of camping lies in the being – you know? Not busying yourself with activities and games… but sometimes you need a bit of inspo, right? These outdoor activities are great for any time but ESPECIALLY whilst camping! 

Build a fire, wrap potatoes in two layers of tin foil and cook them up. The taste of fire-baked spuds is out of this world!

Star gaze. It is such an obvious one, but when you are flat on your back with a rug wrapped around you, while the milky way reveals itself to you, you realise why it has become such a classic wild activity!

Create a camping tableau. As you go through each day bring back to your pitch daily mementos. Gather your rocks and pine cones and shells into a beautiful nature shrine.

Leaf Garlands. Use strips of flax to stitch leaves you have collected together. Wrap them around your guy ropes.

Create a nature welcome mat. Make your site feel like home by collecting small rocks and spell out WELCOME at the start of your pitch.

Forage for nettles and make nettle tea or chuck them into your dinner. Chop and fry an onion, 3 cloves of garlic in a huge knob of butter, add 6 cups of stock and 6 handfuls of nettle. Cook through, blend and eat! Heat takes the prickle out but wear gloves for harvesting!80 outdoor activities for kids-3

Tree spotting. Bring along a book about the native plant life. Tick off the ones you spot.

Introduce your children to the tradition of campfire stories. Sing some songs from your childhood, tell some tales and see the whole family getting into it!

Choco-Bananas on the fire. Split your bananas open with a knife, chuck in as much chocolate as you want. Wrap in two layers of tin foil and bake them.

Build a swing. A campsite isn’t home until it has a little rope swing hanging somewhere. You need sturdy rope, a thin but strong log and a knife to carve out a hole for the rope to go through. Toss it over a healthy, thick branch two times and have fun!

“As children observe, reflect, record, and share nature’s patterns and rhythms, they are participating in a process that promotes scientific and ecological awareness, problem solving, and creativity.”
Deb Matthews Hensley

Nature Crafts

When we do nature crafts we not only use nature but we tend to do them all outside too. Doing nature activities outside means there is very little stress about mess.

Get the glue, a bowl and some autumn leaves outside and craft up a beautiful bowl. See a video tutorial here.

Painting pine cones with fun colours.

Painting sticks and hanging them up.

Painting stones.

Use biros to draw faces onto acorns, with their little caps on- I made a minion once, by accident. He was awesome.

Nature mobiles – cross two sticks over each other to make a cross. Use thread to hang leaves or shells or feathers from it. (To be fair these are beautiful in a very rustic way – possibly too witchy looking to hang above a baby’s crib.)

Leaf Kebab sculptures – thread leaves onto a super thin (perhaps whittled – see below!) stick almost like a kebab. Place them in the ground or on show somewhere.

Ice hangings- place flowers and leaves inside plastic bowls, with a loop of string coming out of them – freeze them and you have an incredible looking bit of ice art!

Replace the flowers and leaves with seeds and nuts and not only do you have a crafty garden decoration but you have a bird feeder. Amazing. See this and more over at Red Ted Art. 

Use whatever you can find, wherever you are to make Land Art – see the Artful Parent for a SUPER inspiring interview with Richard Shilling about Land Art for kids.

(And check out my Pinterest board for all of the above crafts and a stack load of outdoor craft activities for kids.)

Things to do with sticks

A brilliant bushcraft any child over three can get involved with is whittling. There is a real sense of joy to be found in whittling a stick nice and smooth! These sticks can be turned into all sorts of things.
Amazing fun outdoor activities for kids

Make a wand!

Make a sword.

Make a javelin and have a tournament.

Whittle a whistle for the more advanced.

Build fairy houses.

Play pooh sticks – race your sticks down the stream.

Outdoor Activities for toddlers and small children

One of the ways you can really help the little people in your life fall in love with nature is to set up an Outdoor Play group – for babies to older children. See how to do that here.  But here are some everyday outdoor activities for toddlers…

Chalking. Give your children a little package of chalks and let them chalk up the patio, the trees, anything in their path. This is amazingly liberating for them!

Natural painting – with just some different mixing bowls and paintbrushes get them to mix up different coloured paints. It is amazing the difference colours leaves and muds can produce and kids LOVE this activity!

Mudpies. The ultimate small child entertainment system! Grab some wooden spoons and bowls, head to a muddy area and let them go for it!

Ice smashing. A great one for winter and summer. Freeze some little plastic figures in ice cream containers of water. ONce they are frozen solid give your child some utensils to bosh them out. We do this ALL THE TIME – and no injuries yet. Just a lot of delight!Amazing fun free outdoor activities for kids

The middle years – roughly six to twelve – is a time of greatly expanded interest, curiosity and capacity for assimilating knowledge and understanding the natural world. Rapid cognitive and intellectual growth occurs, including many critical thinking skills achieved through interaction and coping in the nonhuman environment.Intellectual development at this stage is especially facilitated by direct contact with nearby natural settings, where a world of exploration, imagination and discovery becomes increasingly evident to the child.
Stephen R. Kellert

Outdoor activities for older children and teens

Nature play isn’t just for young kids, my friends. In 30 Days of Rewilding I interview a few people who have seen – or experienced – something amazing in the great Outdoors. Youth- at – risk who have got their lives on track by wilderness trails or teenagers who have found themselves by being lost in nature. 

Bushcraft. Older children can thrive learning survival skills, learning how to use good tools and how to identify edible plants. (Youtube is one place to start learning!)

Weaving flax flowers. Kids from about 7 plus will be able to make these beautiful flowers using this tutorial. 

Camping out by themselves.

Overnight trails. We used to do this when I was a teenager as a youth group, to fundraise but it is also possible in larger teams through Oxfam Trailwalker. An amazing challenge for young people.

Ice sliding. Fill a deep over tray with water and freeze it – rush to a hill and SLIDE. I took a bunch of young people to do this once when I was a youthworker and we were all crying with laughter.

Hill sliding. So simple, but when we did this the majority of people around us were teenagers and they were having a right royal blast! Literally, get a box, a steep hill, and go for it! Check out photos here.


Playing outside is such a simple way that families can reap all the happy-making, health-boosting benefits of the Great Outdoors, whilst also nurturing our in-built love of nature. I reckon that a childhood spent playing outside, the chance to be loud and wild and create adventures, is a great gift we can give our children, and one that sets them up to be resilient, content adults.

What do parents owe their young that is more important than a warm and trusting connection to the Earth?
Theodore Roszak

Some of these activities you will find in my BRAND NEW EBOOK! 30 Days of Rewilding – find your place in nature and watch your family bloom. Discover a load of inspiration for you and your family to go on a beautiful, nature loving adventure. Buy from Amazon Kindle or my own store as a pdf downloadable on any device or computer.


30 Days of Rewilding – find your place in nature and watch your family bloom!

6 September, 2015

 30 Days of Rewilding takes the form of thirty short chapters, easily digested on the fly, to help you find a sense of home in the natural world. I am so sure that these stories of people who have been transformed and restored by connecting with the wild will inspire you to dive into a love affair with nature, and take your family with you. (People are so enjoying it that it rocketed into its category as a Number One Bestseller! Whoop!) 

30 days of rewilding book

From a brick house in Peckham to a yurt in a forest in New Zealand
30 Days of Rewilding is motivated by our own story and the move we made two years ago with our young children from our (awesome, messy) Victorian terrace house in South London to a (beautiful, chaotic) yurt in a forest in New Zealand. It is a massive change, but the most significant part of it, for me, has been getting in touch with my wilderness DNA.

Through conversations with a variety of people from authors to CEOs and visits to projects around the world from a Forest School in Germany’s Black Forest to a playgroup in South London, people are invited to restore their connection with nature.

There are the mothers who find deep well-being as a result of meeting under each new moon, youth at risk who have had their feet set back on track through wilderness trails, and families who have begun a life-long fling with the wild.

Their stories will make you want to re-discover the ancient pact with nature written on your bones.

Why 30 Daily Readings? 
I was inescapably drawn to write this book because it is something we have found happening to us over the last two years; a rewilding. But as I was writing it I began to believe in the concept of the book more and more – daily readings for busy parents. Because there are TONS of books out there telling us about how sad it is that children can name more Dr Who characters than native birds, and we KNOW that sucks. But the only way children fall in love with nature is when adults nurture an environment where this can happen. Deep, happy-making connections are made between adults and children, and people and earth, when we together go out to poke the moss, watch the beetles, count the stars.

The idea of the book is that over the month readers gradually, through the different activities and stories, discover a sense of belonging in nature.

Early Reviews Say

“Oh my, it’s so amazing! I love it so, so much. A heart palpitating amount. I just read this in one sitting because I couldn’t stop, I was too busy fist pumping and nodding vigorously. I am now itching to plant some spring bulbs, walk through the woods and run into the sea. All of the links made between being outside and having good mental health are sobering and brilliant and SO TRUE- for both children and adults. I am sending it to everyone I know.” Hannah,

“I loved your book! I feel totally motivated to re-wild us all- to get out in nature and take on some of your ideas. Today we just sat in the grass in our barefeet and I wiggled our toes and talked about what we could do. Wonderful inspired ideas and a lovely way to get kids away from screens!” Becky,

Kindle People: 30 Days of Rewilding is available through Amazon

For Non Kindle People: Also available as a simple PDF which can be read on any Ereader or computer. (For Ereaders I advocate the use of Nook, free to download and comes with a cheeky freebie mag already downloaded.) Download 30 Days of Rewilding as a PDF here.

I would be stoked if you could share this post around and give some reviews on Amazon, help me spreadeth the word. And if you are a twittery type, join me tomorrow night on Twitter at 7pm BST for a chat with the hashtag #30DaysOfRewilding

Thank You
It is you readers that keep me motivated to write, you know? I feel so, SO privileged to have you and your encouragement. *sends a blooming blossom your way*

THAAAANKS!!!  And enjoy your bank holiday if you are getting one!30 Days of Rewilding Zenobia