50 things springtime adventures

It’s that time of the year again. Green shoots are just starting to pop out of the soil and animals are waking, peeking out of their burrows and shells. Things are starting to come to life and for children across the UK that means playtime is now even more exciting.

Visitors walking in the woodland at a National Trust site

Bring up a butterfly (or moth) 

Butterflies and moths don’t lay eggs over winter so spring is your earliest opportunity to find a caterpillar. In the wild caterpillars have a very low survival rate so you’ll be giving it a much better chance of living to cocoon stage and then becoming a beautiful butterfly or moth.

A little girl climbs a tree on Bath Skyline

Climb a tree 

See the great outdoors from a height by taking to the branches in some of our best climbing trees, or trying out rock climbing and abseiling. If you'd rather keep your feet on the ground you can still enjoy the sights by climbing a huge hill (and rolling back down afterwards).

Lady and little girl looking at purple flowers at Colby

Enjoy the flowers 

Our spring gardens aren’t just for adults. Why not grab your paints or crayons and challenge yourself to create a piece of art inspired by the spring time blooms? If you’ve got a few daffodils going spare in your own garden then you could even try pressing them to include in your masterpiece.

A close up of frog spawn in a pond

Find some frog spawn 

Have a go at No. 32 on our list of 50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾, and go hunting for frogspawn. This thick jelly appears in ponds and slow-moving streams in March, though it usually takes a further month for little tadpoles to appear.

Star photography at Brimham Rocks

Go stargazing 

The night sky is constantly changing, depending on the time of year and the time of night. Spring brings warmer weather and you don’t need to stay out too late to see the stars, so it can be a great time for beginners and families to start stargazing – one of our 50 things to do before you’re 11¾ activities.

Family cycle in a woodland

Saddle up

You’ll find miles of cycling paths at places we look after and some places also offer cycle hire. It’s easy to arrive by bike too with over 150 places within a mile of a Sustrans National Cycle Network route. You can also see our places from a different kind of saddle by booking a horseback ride with Studland Stables in Dorset or the Cantref Riding Centre in the Brecon Beacons.

Children having a snail race on the pavement at a National Trust site.
Days out

Set up a snail race 

The snails are back, and from March onwards they will be appearing in a green space near you. They’re raring to go, so this is a great time to have a go at No. 17 on your list of 50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾. Search for snails among rocks and plants, then make your own race track out of pebbles or sticks. Lettuce can help to encourage competitors across the finish line.

Path through the woodland garden at Newark Park, Gloucestershire

Smell wild garlic 

This is a great way to engage all your senses when you're out on a walk. The garlicky smell is hard to miss and the pretty white flowers complete any woodland wandering. Be very careful if you’re planning on eating this plant because it looks similar to lily of the valley, which is poisonous. The key difference between the two plants is that wild garlic always smells – yes, you guessed it – of garlic.

Two jacob sheep lambs at Charlecote in spring

Spot the lambs  

Nothing says spring like a new-born lamb. Go for a family walk in one of these lamb hotspots and see how many you can count.

Family on a walk in the woods

Stretch your legs 

Sometimes the most fun can be had by simply putting one foot in front of the other and seeing where the trail takes you. There are always adventures to be had along the way, like finding the best blade of grass to make a grass trumpet or a champion twig for playing pooh sticks. Add a map and compass for added adventure or why not try out geocaching.

Boy kicking and splashing while laying in the sea

Swim in the sea 

Is there anything more inviting than the big blue sea on sunny spring day? We look after lots of brilliant beaches all around the UK coastline, so you're sure to find somewhere perfect for a dip.