Springtime activities for families

It’s that time of the year again. Green shoots are poised beneath the soil. Animals are waking, peeping out of their burrows and shells. Things are starting to come to life and for children across the UK that means one thing: playtime just got a lot more exciting.

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.

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.

Clouds over the sea off Pennard, Gower, Wales.

3. Become a weather-detector

Spring weather is notoriously unpredictable. You might think you’d need a crystal ball to see whether it will rain today, but that’s not the case. Mother Nature hides her clues in the clouds, animals and plants around us. All the signs are there – you just have to know what to look for.

A close up of frog spawn in a pond

Find some frog spawn 

Have a go at number 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.

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 and become a beautiful butterfly or moth. Find out how to look after your caterpillar on our 50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾ website.

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.

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.