Girl and boy painting in the forest

10 ways to keep the kids entertained as lockdown eases

Whether you're still staying at home, or confidently exploring the outdoors once again, we’ve got you covered. We've recently updated this guide with more fantastic ideas, so check them out and share with your friends.

For at home, read our guide below to discover an amazing collection of printable activities and games for you to keep the family busy whilst staying at home, including printable Julia Donaldson activity sheets and online resources to help keep learning alive. 

For outdoor play, discover our collection of enjoyable outdoor family activities for you and the kids.

Outdoor activities to do with the kids

Did you know making time for nature has been proven to benefit your mental and physical health?  With plenty of room for social distancing, we’ve got a brilliant collection of safe outdoor activities for you to try with the kids in our forests, the garden or on a walk. 

Children on Gruffalo Spotters trail

1. Go Gruffalo Spotting in the forest

Follow the Gruffalo Spotters trail and see what creatures you can find!

With the amazing new Gruffalo Spotter 2 app, fun activity pack and trail, you’ll get to interact with all your favourite characters as you go in search of the Gruffalo in the deep dark wood. With trails opening all across England, enjoy the perfect family day out near you.

2. Measure a tree using a stick and simple maths

Ever wondered how tall a tree is?

With just a stick from the ground and some really simple maths, you can amaze your family by estimating the height of a tree.

Don’t believe us? Watch our quick video to find out how.

Children learning in the forest
Big Forest Find child holding beetle

3. Document wildlife wonders appearing this season

Many of you took part in the Big Forest Find by documenting all the flora and fauna you could find in your local woodland. The results were impressive! 

Why not get the kids to observe and record all the birds, bugs and other wildlife they can find in the garden or on a walk? Download the iNaturalist app and start observing.

4. Go for a picnic as a family

Butter the bread and ready the sausage rolls, British summertime is here and we're itching to get out for a picnic.

Find your nearest location with our handy regional picnic spot guide. Plan your visit to enjoy the summer season surrounded by the very best nature has to offer.

Make a day of it with our free Gruffalo Party Pack, including invites, picnic food ideas, party games, bunting, masks and more.

Mother and baby having lunch at picnic table

Indoor activities to do with the kids

Looking for indoor entertainment away from the television? No problem! Check out our list of family-friendly indoor activities to keep the family happy.

Gruffalo Spotters activity sheets

5. Gruffalo activity sheets

Our long awaited Gruffalo Spotters trails are opening up around the country, but you can also get your hands on these free Gruffalo activity sheets which you can complete from the comfort of your home. What's inside?

  • A template to make and decorate your own paper owl
  • A template to make and decorate your own spiraling snake
  • A spring spotter challenge sheet to complete whilst you wander through the woods!

6. Watch footage of Goshawks in the New Forest

The New Forest is famous for its animals, from the forest ponies and cattle that graze on it to the deer first established here for Royal parties to hunt. But there are many other less well-seen creatures that call the forest home including one of the UK’s most elusive birds of prey – the goshawk or so-called ‘Phantom of the Forest’.

Watch recorded footage from our incredible webcam in their nest last year. If you look closely, you’ll see the parents feeding their chicks!

Goshawk and two chicks waiting to be fed in nest of twigs
Natural World UK
Highway rat activity sheet examples

7. Highway Rat activity sheets

Get your hands on our Highway Rat downloadable activity sheets for children. Filled with exciting activities and craft ideas for the family to enjoy. Inside you'll find the following craft ideas and tips:

  • Make a hobby horse and ride through the forest like The Highway Rat
  • Make The Highway Rat's hat
  • The Highway Rat colouring sheet

8. Learn a thing or two

With all the disruptions this year, it is important that the kids can keep learning, even when they're out of school.

We've created a bank of lesson plans which focus on the activities that your children can enjoy indoors or in the garden.  

The lesson plans have been developed by outdoor learning professionals in line with key Ofsted objectives for Early Years, and KS1 to KS5.

Father and kids using tablet
Black and white photo of girl leap-frog jumping over someone's back
Photo by Thiago Thadeu on Unsplash

9. Get active

Your kids can still get active, even when you're stuck inside!

Change 4 Life have loads of great indoor children's activities and games for them to play so they can still get the activity they need even when they cannot get outside.

10. Try forest yoga for kids

Something you can enjoy at home, as well as in the forest, try a short yoga class for key stage 2 and 3 age groups – set outdoors in the beauty of the forest.

This 12 minute guided session will help the kids feel healthy and connect with their surroundings.

That's not all

We'll keep coming up with new ideas to keep you and the family busy and to help you remain connected to nature.

Make sure to sign up to our family newsletter and follow us on Facebook for inspiration and activities inspired by the forests.

More helpful resources

Gruffalo Spotters App for use on the Grufflo themed forest trail
Article
05 December 2019
Follow clues and search for signs of the Gruffalo in the forest with Forestry England's Gruffalo Spotters app. Using augmented reality, bring the characters to life in the forest around you. Take photos and videos and share them with #GruffaloSpotters.
Flowers at Castle Neroche
Blog
26 March 2020
Get lost in the magic of nature without even leaving the living room! Check out our favourite nature-focused podcasts, perfect for helping you connect with the outdoors whilst staying indoors.
Boy counting tree rings on a very old tree that's been felled.

Select from a range of materials to help enhance your visit to the forest. Activity ideas, lesson plans linked to the curriculum and more are all free to download so you can create a fun and informative learning experience to suit your needs.

Contact your local learning team if you require further information and support.

Women in pink coat walking through spring woodland
Article
15 April 2019
Forests are places you can seek adventure, make memories or find escape. For 100 years we've been looking after the nation's forests, so that they can take care of you.