The kids are all on a high that today they’re let loose from school routines for a fortnight. Like parents countrywide, I’m delighted that the lunch-making, homework doing, school bus battles will be suspended for a little while and maybe, just maybe, some of the daily stresses will be eased. These 8 micro adventure ideas are just perfect for squeezing in a bit of fun and fresh air even if you aren't off work with them.
School's out for ... Easter!
The kids are all on a high! They've just been let loose from school routines for a fortnight... And, like parents countrywide, I’m delighted that the lunch-making, homework doing, school bus battles will be suspended for a little while and maybe, just maybe, some of the daily stresses will be eased.
Although many of us need to juggle working from home or use precious holidays to manage the kids’ school holidays, it’s safe to say we’ll all spend more time with our offspring over the coming two weeks!
So, regardless of where you find yourselves – at home, on staycation, with the in-laws, wherever – let’s all make the most of the extra time together and get outside!
Micro Adventures are mini adventures that you can squeeze into an afternoon or evening. These 8 ideas are just perfect for squeezing in a bit of fun and fresh air even if you aren't off work with them.
1. Go for a (Night) Hike:
There are so many lovely walks and hikes around Ireland. Walks for every level, whether you have a 3 year old or a 13 year old with you. Increasing numbers of hikes, particularly in National Park and Coillte areas, are way-marked, many also giving a difficulty level and accessibility information – for wheelchairs and buggies.
Being waymarked means that you don’t need to have the most amazing navigation skills in the world to feel as though you’re off the beaten track, just good observation skills!
As the kids get older and hikes are suddenly not cool anymore, doing a familiar walk at night can make the prospect a whole lot more exciting! It’s also something you can do after work with them instead of the usual homework wars.
Read Preparing for a Hike to find out what you should have in your backpack. Want to go really off the beaten track but can’t navigate? Contact us to hire a guide.
2. Go Biking:
For little ones, your local park or forest park is an ideal way to get you and them out on the bikes. If you don’t have a bike, but you’re near a Greenway, many places have bikes for hire now, including trailers and tag-alongs for kids. You can even get a shuttle bus in some locations!
I’m more tracks and trails than MTB, but if you’re feeling even more adventurous, there are lots of great bike parks popping up all over the country too.
April is a great month for foraging! Lots of food grows in our forests, hedgerows and even our housing estates – believe it or not. Just remember to use the rule of thirds when picking anything. A third for you, a third for the plant to re-seed, a third for other foragers (human or animal). Foraging is also not permitted in National Park areas.
Dandelion leaves, navelsworth and wood sorrel might look a bit like a doll’s tea party, but can all add flavour and texture to your salad lunch. Just remember to wash it well and don’t pick where you know dogs walk.
Wild garlic grows abundantly here in a few varieties. If you and your kids love pasta pesto, this is a great way to involve them in understanding what goes into a jar of food. Check out this blog post for information and a recipe!
Nettle soup is another. My kids love this, but picking the baby nettles requires multiple pairs of gloves and much care not to be stung, so it’s not the best plant for making happy memories!!
It’s also the time to take note of where you can find your nearest Blackthorn if you’d like to make yourself a Sloe Gin later in the year! The Blackthorn is unusual in that it flowers before it has leaves. It’s a prolific hedgerow often seen in field boundaries and along roadsides, trying to find a decent tree that won’t get you killed when you’re picking the sloes in autumn is the tricky part!
4. Survival & Bushcraft Skills:
And I don’t mean watching the new Bear Grylls thing on Netflix… I’m talking about shelter building and learning how to cook a simple meal outside using a camp stove. You could even use the pesto you made from your foraging day to stir into a pot of cooked pasta! Food always tastes better outdoors!
If you’re in an area where it’s permitted, perhaps you could even pitch a tent and do a spot of wild camping (assuming you don’t want to sleep in the shelter!!) You could also look at how to start a campfire (responsibly of course!) You’ll find some ideas here, but if you’re reluctant to try it alone, why not come along to our free workshops at our Tent & Camping Event on the Bank Holiday in May (not Easter), and we’ll show you the ropes. Be mindful to follow the country code and to also leave no trace. Dismantle your shelter before you leave and bring home all your litter.
5. Egg Hunt with a Difference:
Easter and Egg Hunts go hand in hand. But that doesn’t mean that they have to be the same old hunt year in, year out. You don’t need a 13 year old to tell you that’s ‘Boooooorrrring!’ Design a treasure hunt or orienteering style egg hunt – or better yet, get older siblings or cousins to design one for the younger kids! Win win! And the beauty is, you can literally do it anywhere, and even with groups of children. Maybe even pay back a whole heap of play-dates in one go.
6. Visit the Gardens:
One to do with little ones or with the Grandparents. Visit your nearest botantical gardens, former estate homes, hotel grounds – with Easter so late this year, blossoms are exploding into bloom and gardens will be a sight to behold! The added bonus of tea-rooms with nice scones is always good too. Many gardens also incorporate playgrounds or other points of interest for little ones if the flowers aren’t cutting the mustard!
7. The Beach:
Play with them in the sand, roll down a dune, build stuff, don’t worry about the mess – enjoy them while you can.
You don’t need to get into the water – but imagine their shocked laughter if you sneaked along swim kit, stripped off and suddenly legged it into the sea!! You’re smiling aren’t you? Okay, so you might get as far as your knees, but so what? The laughter will do you all the power of good!
8. Fishing or ‘Fake’ Fishing:
Not for the vegetarians or vegans, but one of my fondest childhood memories is of my Dad bringing me fishing along the Dargle river. It wasn’t far from my grand-parents’ house and himself and my uncle had brought a few of us kids down to the river to fish.
We made our own fishing rods and had hooks at the end that the grown-ups had attached for us with bait. We learned patience and silence as we waited for our fish. At some point when I wasn’t looking, one of the grown-ups had attached a tiny fish to my hook. I felt as though I’d won the lottery!!
I only found out as an adult that I didn’t really catch that fish. My uncle had found it dead at the side of the river!!
It is possible to get hooks which can be used to safely release fish back to the wild. If you don’t have easy access to rods, you can do as my Dad did back then. Help your child make a rod with a stick and some string. Add a weight to the end and let the little ones ‘fake’ fish. Alternatively you could try visiting one of the fish farms.
Tag us in your micro-adventure pics to be featured on our Instagram page @adventure.ie!