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.
Set up a snail race with your friends National Trust Images/Megan Taylor

1. Set up a snail race 

The snails are back. From March onwards they will be appearing in a green space near you and they’re raring to go. This is a classic way to entertain the kids on soggy spring days as snails often come out in the rain. Search for them among rocks and plants. You can even make your own race track out of pebbles or sticks and lettuce can help to encourage competitors across the finish line. Afterwards don’t forget to tick off number 17 on your list of 50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾.

Sheep and lambs at a National Trust site.
Spot lambs in the springtime National Trust Images/Robert Morris

2. Spot the lambs  

Nothing says spring like a new-born lamb. No mint sauce jokes please. Go for a family walk in any of these lamb hotspots and see how many you can count. If you know a good spot for seeing these cute creatures share it with us on Facebook.

Clouds over the sea off Pennard, Gower, Wales.
Learn how to read the clouds National Trust Images/John Millar

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
Look into ponds for frogspawn National Trust Images / Dougie Holden

4. Find some frog spawn

This thick jelly normally appears in ponds and slow-moving streams in March. It usually takes a further month for little tadpoles to appear. Take a look at our video for more top tips on finding frogspawn and make sure you tick off number 32 from our list of 50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾ once you’ve spotted some.

Visitors walking in the woodland at a National Trust site
See if you can spot a caterpillar National Trust Images / John Millar

5. 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.

Girl walking through spring flowers in the garden at a National Trust property
Walk amongst the spring flowers National Trust Images/Rob Stothard

6. Capture the flowers

Our spring gardens aren’t just for adults. Arm your children with paints or crayons and challenge them to capture the scene on paper. We’d love to see their creations on our Facebook page. Or if you’ve got a few daffodils going spare in your own garden why not show your kids how to press them?

Path through the woodland garden at Newark Park, Gloucestershire
Wild garlic grows in abundance during the springtime National Trust Images/Andrew Butler

7. Smell wild garlic

This is a great way to get kids to engage all of their senses when out on a walk. The garlicky smell is hard to miss and the pretty white flowers complete any woodland wandering. Please note that you have to 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.