Summer is here and as the school holidays draw near, you may be feeling a subtle pressure to fill the days with meaningful memories and adventures with your family.
There can be a sense that having ‘an adventure’ needs to be somewhere far away and takes a lot of planning or requires lots of specialist equipment. But if we shift our definition of what adventure can mean: time spent outdoors, exploring new places or being more present in an environment we are already familiar with rather than moving through the motions, we take this pressure off.
We all have varying amounts of time, energy and budget over the holidays, so we’ve put together five simple ideas for small adventures you can have during the summer break.
The 10-minute adventure, go on an ‘awe walk’…
This is one for those days when you have been stuck inside working or juggling the kids all day. A sense of guilt might be building that you’ve not been outside on a beautiful sunny day. Making time to go on even the shortest of walks can feel reviving.
The idea of an ‘awe walk’ is to be aware of the present moment rather than being lost in past or future thoughts. Try to focus closely on your surroundings – what can you see, hear and smell? What plants or flowers might be in bloom, what is the weather and light doing? Keep children engaged by challenging them to find specific things, such as a leaf, a feather or a specific flower.
The early morning adventure, a sunrise walk…
This one requires a little more planning and dedication, but there is a simple joy in getting up to see the sunrise, seeing the landscape bathed in the amber light of dawn before the world fully wakes up.
During the start of the summer holidays, sunrise is still relatively early, but by mid to late August, this shifts to around 5.30am – 6am. Think of local spots that provide a good vantage point, such as a small hill, monument, park or lake.
The night before, get the kids involved by packing a bag and making a light breakfast to enjoy as you watch the sunrise from your chosen spot.
The night adventure, go stargazing…
Stay up late to see the night sky in your garden, or head out to a local park or spot in the countryside which will help minimise the effects of light pollution. Pack a warm blanket and a flask of hot chocolate and lie back and gaze at the stars. You can download apps to learn more about which constellations you can see at certain times of the year, but keep the screen time to a minimum and absorb yourself in the moment.
Summer is also the perfect time to try and see the Perseid meteor shower – this is a space rock which enters the Earth’s atmosphere and is seen as shooting stars in the night sky, this is active from 17th July to 24th August in 2023, with the peak falling on the night of 12th August before dawn on the 13th August.
The day adventure, explore your local area…
Spend a day challenging yourself to look closer at your local area – climb the nearest hill or the highest point in your county, walk from your home to the nearest body of water or woodland or use a map of your local area to find footpaths you’ve not explored before. Pack a picnic and add challenges such as a scavenger hunt or geocaching to entertain older kids.
The overnight adventure, go camping…
The ultimate in summer adventures – building a campfire (responsibly), toasting marshmallows, falling asleep under the stars and waking up immersed in nature and birdsong the following day. Camping doesn’t need to mean heading off somewhere miles away. You can dip your toe in by spending a night under canvas in your back garden or try to find a local campsite where you could walk or cycle to.
If the weather isn’t on your side or you don’t have the equipment for outdoor camping, you could build your own indoor den from a clothes horse, bedding, blankets and pillows for a cosy alternative.
We hope this has inspired you to head off on an adventure with your family this summer.