As a parent I have found that, not only is free entertainment helpful financially but it also benefits the kids. I have friends whose kids are not satisfied unless they are being entertained usually at one of those hideously expensive theme parks where you have to pay to get in and then spend a fortune on treats and eats. However, free entertainment stimulates their minds more and tires them out if they enjoy it. If they are simply distracted by rides and toys they switch off and then lack enough imagination to entertain themselves if you need them to for a time.
The Woodland Walk Activity is best done either in the Autumn or in the Spring but can be done at any time. You will need a couple of plastic bags and a picnic. This activity is great for getting your child to take an active interest in nature.
Find a good woodland walk near you that you can either drive to or catch the bus. It doesnt necessarily need to be woodland, a park will do if there are enough different trees and flowers. Start your walk and see how many different things you can find. If youre doing this in the spring time you might want to take some kitchen roll with you to keep flowers in but make sure you dont pick too many. One of each will be fine and if theres not enough then leave them alone.
When weve done this in the past we have brought home bags full of moss from the trees, different twigs, berries and nuts, various leaves and flowers, small stones and feathers. Whatever you can find you can collect. Let your child get interested in their surroundings and really look to see something new.
A picnic is great if its warm enough and it breaks the walk up a bit, although my daughter hardly even noticed she was walking so far. It also gives you a chance to see what you can hear around you.
When you get home get a large piece of paper (we use the back of a roll of wallpaper) and some glue and see what scenes you can make from what you have collected. Younger children will enjoy sticking things on randomly and maybe doing a bit of colouring around it as well. Older children could try and make a picture out of the things they have in the bag. Use your imagination. Its great fun and can use an entire day if you want it to.
If your child is older/more enthusiastic about their surroundings then why not see if you can name the plants/birds, either while youre out or when you get back. It can be as much of a learning experience as you want it to be but you can be sure that theyll enjoy doing it. My children love it.