Ickworth family activities from home

Two children building a den at Ickworth House, Park and Gardens Suffolk.

Every day can be an adventure for your family. Enjoy great experiences at home whatever the weather with our craft and activity ideas.

The adventure starts here…

Your home is the perfect place to get closer to nature and taking part in our '50 things to do before you are 11¾' activities. While we can’t explore the world outside in the way that we used to, your home can be an amazing place to discover wildlife and experience nature. There’s so much for you to do on your doorstep, from your window, in your garden or out on a walk for your daily exercise: look for shooting stars, make a wild crown, get to know colourful birds or watch furry caterpillars. You can even help the animals who come to visit by building them a new home. Here are our top '50 things to do before you're 11¾' ideas for embracing nature at home..

No. 44 watch a bird

Take a look at our skies and have a go at No. 44 watch a bird. Watch birds fly, sing, chat to each other and eat their food by finding somewhere quiet to sit, watch and wait. Just make sure you don't frighten them off, birds get spooked pretty easily. See how many you can spot – maybe you could create a birdspotting diary that you update with the time of day and where you spotted the bird in your garden. You could be surprised by how many types of birds come to visit.

How many birds can you spot?
Children bird watching
How many birds can you spot?

No. 30 go on a scavenger hunt

The great thing about a scavenger hunt is that you can do it anywhere. Nature is waiting to be discovered wherever you look outdoors - whether it’s from your window, garden or out on w walk/ bike ride - a scavenger hunt tests your seeking skills in the wild and is lots of fun too. 

Think about the place you’ll be going to for your scavenger hunt and what you might find there. Make a note of the different colours you see. What about your other senses? Think about the different textures, smells and sounds you could discover. Could you seek out a prickly pine needle, a sweet-smelling honeysuckle or a honking goose? Take a bucket or empty egg box and collect a stash of leaves, shells, fossils, feathers and sticks. Or maybe you could hunt for signs of animals instead from your window (it's no. 34 of our '50 things')? Can you find a slug trail, pollen scattered by bees across flowers, or a bird’s nest?

There’s no limit to your scavenger hunt in the great outdoors. Just make sure you're gentle and leave behind anything that nature might miss.

No. 18 create some wild art

When it comes to creating wild art, the only limit is your imagination. What will you use, and how? There's so much to choose from in the natural world - but make sure you're not making your art from another creature's home. It's a great way to make you think a little differently about nature. You could perhaps try and find things that vary in colour and texture, big and small, light and heavy? There's no rules. 

You could make a flat piece of art, or something like a sculpture, but you'll probably need somewhere dry to work out of the weather. If you are making a sculpture, then are you designing it to be seen from all sides, or do you just want people to look at the front/sides/back of it?

Obviously you're going to need lots more materials if you're going to make something really big, so try and think about the size of your finished artwork too. 

Take a seat...
An ornate carved wooden chair in Ickworth's stumpery, Suffolk
Take a seat...

No. 1 get to know a tree

Every tree has something special about it. You could look in your garden, your local park or a forest for a tree that you’d like to get to know. Some trees have hollows so big that you can climb inside, while others have tiny cracks where minibeasts hide. You’ll have to investigate every nook and gnarl of your tree to really get to know it.

Look up. Are your tree’s leaves dancing in the breeze? Are there any flowers or seeds growing there? Listen for birds or squirrels who may be hiding or making their home. You could even search your tree for scars, and try to imagine what may have caused them: a storm, an animal or something else?

No. 25 join nature's band

Head to any wild place, stop and listen for a minute. It won't take long to notice the music of nature and the longer you listen, the more you'll hear. Birds singing, woodpeckers tapping, trees rustling, waves crashing and streams bubbling are just some of the sounds that nature makes. You're a part of nature too, so head outside and create your own special music.

You can create all sorts of music just by using your feet. Shuffle in time on a footpath, tap dance in puddles, squash dead leaves underfoot or in your hands. Can you create a rhythm out of all these sounds?  A couple of sticks and a tree trunk or a hollow log can make a great drum to add a beat to your tune. 

For more ideas why not explore our 50 things to do page