We woke up on Wednesday and the thought struck me that we had no plans whatsoever for the day. No nursery drops, no play-dates, no kids classes, no cards basket collections, no appointments, nada. It felt good. The whole world was our oyster so what would we do?
The sun was shining, so I knew I wanted to get outside. I told Boo that we’d go on ‘an adventure’. By calling it that, excitement levels notched up, and the pressure on me to think of somewhere to go increased! Last year, we’d been up to Cannock Chase with a friend and her son for a couple of hours, and it had stayed with me. It popped into my head, and I knew Boo and Little man would be quite content there. I called my mum, too, and invited her on our adventure, so Nanny was roped into the fun, too. I’d tweeted that we had no plans, and someone suggested going on a Bug Hunt, which fell into my Cannock Chase plans nicely, and added an extra element of fun to the trip that really made the day.
So, unbeknownst to Boo, I popped a Bug Hunt checklist, her bug kit (maginifying box, notepad & pencil), sunglasses (added to the detective nature of the trail to wear glasses!), and drinks and snacks into her backpack, and off we set.
It’s around 20 miles from our house, so a little jaunt, but a pleasant drive through some beautiful countryside, and only when we arrived and pulled into the tree lined car park did we reveal what the ‘adventure’ was. I’m sure she’d have been very happy to have arrived at a huge park, with a playground anyway, but adding the surprise element with the Bug Hunt definitely made it all the more interesting to her and gave us all a purpose as we set off from the car into the woods.
Our walk involved plenty of cutting through the woods, rambling through long grasses and jumping off rocks, so it was a good job that nanny was there as Little Man’s pushchair is good, but not fully off-road ready! Our first ‘tick’ was for a bee, of which we saw plenty. This was quickly followed by a butterfly and an ant. As we neared a woodland clearing,we could hear a pounding noise, so we ventured in to find a circle of upturned blue tubs with lots of sticks lying round on the ground next to them. It didn’t take Boo a moment to catch on so she was soon going round hitting them all discovering how each one made a different sound. I thought it was a great idea to have fun little activities like this scattered around the area, and this was the first of many that we found..
Next up, we ticked off a spider and during a tromp through the woods, found lots of older children and their families building various dens with branches leaves and twigs. There were several being created, and I can see that for older children this would be heaps of fun to do and wile away a fair bit of time!
Walking on, Boo found huge wooden creatures to clamber up on, a dragonfly, a tortoise and a rabbit, along with the Three Bears’ Chairs – she sat on all of them, of course! At the end of this little trail was also a small maze which was playing host to quite a few children, while their families had picnics set up on the grass nearby.
We strolled on to the final stop, the play area, having struggled to complete our hunt, I must confess. Where are all of the ladybirds this year? And we couldn’t find a caterpillar either, but Boo didn’t appear overly concerned, particularly when she saw the size of the play area, and the hunt was forgotten for a little while! This was also Little Man’s chance to get more involved in our outing, as he’d been very good seeing the sights from his pushchair, but it was time for him to get out and have a play. We were then back to the car, and Little Man promptly fell asleep as we started back, while Boo regaled us of tales of her Bug Hunt.
All in all, a fantastic day out was had by all. It was all so simple to do, and practically free, which always appeals The only cost was the car parking, which at £3 for all day, I thought was more than reasonable for the adventure we had. For older children, there’s also a Go Ape centre there, and there’s a visitor centre and cafe so everything you’d need for all day family fun.