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Wild Play Ideas for the Summer Holidays

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Posted: Wednesday 19th July 2017 by WildBlog

By Sara Turrill, Learning Development Officer

Although our My Wild Child family sessions around Bristol are finishing on 20th July for the summer holidays, there is still plenty for families to do in the parks and green spaces of Bristol. And there are lots of things you can do for free which will keep children interested and entertained all summer.

One way is to get your wellies on and paddle in a stream. The Northern Slopes in Knowle has a great stream, which is so cool and inviting on summer days. Take a bucket, watering can and spade to get creative with water play. You might even find some fresh water shrimp in your bucket!

July and August is a great time to explore our parks for Bristol’s abundant summer wildlife. If you take a magnifying glass and pot along with snacks and drinks, you can help children get a closer look at any minibeasts you might find as you explore. The wild area of St George park is a great spot for butterflies and ladybirds, and the Wildlife Trust’s Wildlife Watch website has plenty of free identification sheets that you can download to help you.

Find a pond and take a good look at the animal and plant life within it. At this time of year, you will spot all sorts of creatures including dragonflies, damselflies, frogs, toads, pond skaters, pond snails and even newts.

 Just remember to make sure that children are accompanied and wash their hands thoroughly if they touch the water to prevent infection. Brandon Hill has a beautiful pond, teaming with wildlife and my recent favourite, at Horfield Common even has its very own dipping platform.

Parks and green spaces are the perfect blank canvas for doing some wild art with children, and if you’re feeling creative you can find natural objects like pine cones, twigs, stones and leaves to make some art on the grass or the paths. It’s fun to see what creative shapes, faces or invented animals you can make that way. Mud painting is also lots of fun for younger children and just needs a paintbrush or two, a pot and some water on a trip to the park. Children can then make their own mud paint by mixing a bit of earth in the water and painting on paths, leaves and tree trunks. A summer shower of rain will wash it all away so there’s no need to worry about leaving a mess.

Finally, you could make your very own binoculars using our Wildlife Watch worksheet and head out to see the range of summer birds in the parks. Brandon Hill is a good spot for that too. You don’t have to be a wildlife expert to enjoy the lush green spaces around Bristol with your family. Put on your wellies, take a blanket, and make the most of the warm, long summer days in our fantastic parks and green spaces.

Our My Wild Child sessions for 2-4 year olds start again in September. To find out more go to You can find wildlife spotting identification sheets and activity sheets at

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