10 Things to Do before you hit 10 Years Old!
1 Hunt for Fossils
You don't need to head to the coast to hunt for trilobites; there are some hiddengems on our doorstep. The Wren's Nest National Nature Reserve is to the northeast of Dudley. Children will find fossils easily beside the paths and reef mounds, and in the so-called Fossil Trench. They will share their knowledge as children dig in to an exposed area of coal spoil to see what they can discover.
2 Try Geocaching
Geocaching is a treasure hunt for the digital generation. Follow the co-ordinates on a smartphone App to find hidden boxes, known as ˜caches'. Inside most caches you'll find a log book, pencil and a strange array of trinkets that people have left to swap with you, so go prepared with some little toys. It's a fantastic way to hold children's interest on a walk!
3 Go Pond Dipping
Skim your nets for sticklebacks at Baggeridge Country Park in Staffordshire (the on-site shop sells nets if you don't have one). For a ranger-led session, Severn Valley Country Park will be offering pond dipping on Wednesday 3rd August, in conjunction with Severn River Trust. Worcestershire Wildlife Trust will also be holding Pond Dipping sessions at Croome Park (National Trust) on 29 July, 11am-3pm. You can also have a go at Pond Dipping at National Trust, Carding Mill Valley and the Long Mynd on Wed 27 Jul - Wed 31 Aug (Wed only), 11am-12.30pm & 2pm-3.30pm
4. Make a Mud Pie
We all have great memories of making mud pies. All you need is mud and water - and any other 'ingredients' you can find. The great thing is, there's no right or wrong recipe! Mosely Old Hall (Wolverhampton), has a terrific mud kitchen for children to play in, complete with pots and pans. Just remember to pack the wet wipes when you visit!
5. Bury a Time Capsule
A Time Capsule is a way of preserving a ˜picture the present' in a container - to be opened at some point in the future. We had great fun compiling the contents of our time capsule, a few years ago. A discarded Quality Street tin was filled with Lego, GoGo figures, stickers, coins, postcards and photos. Your children could write a little note about what they enjoy doing, favourite TV programmes etc just to give a picture of the period. Take some photos when you hide it or record co-ordinates of where you buried your capsule. We have already forgotten exactly which tree in the woods marks the spot where our tin is hidden!
6 Camp Out
If you've never been camping as a family before, you could always try it out by first camping in the back garden. Leave the electronic gadgets behind! Tell ghost stories till late, or perhaps toast marshmallows on a fire and squish it between two biscuits. We are lucky to have Hopley's Camp Site nearby in Bewdley. It's nice and easy to pop home for that extra quilt, if it gets a bit nippy at night!
7. Climb High
Climb a tree, or even climb a mountain! See how beautiful Worcestershire is from the top of Malvern Hills - then have the pleasure of rolling down the hill on your side! Face your fears by taking on the high wires challenge at Go Ape Junior Tree Tops Adventure at the Wyre Forest - it's worth it for the awesome zip wire at the end. Challenge Academy is an adventure aerial course at Baggeridge Country park, near Sedgely. You'll also find an aerial ropes course at Sandwell Valley Country Park.
8. Ride a Bike
The Wyre Forest is blessed with lots of great, way-marked trails for differing abilities. You can even hire a bike there from Bewdley Outdoors. Sandwell Valley Country Park is a lovely place for a family bike ride, with way marked trails taking you near the reservoir and through woodland, as well as a ˜pump' track, where you can ride of bumps and berms. Canal tow paths are nice and flat for young riders, as is the South Staffordshire Railway Walk (free parking is available at the Old Wombourne Station.) It's worth a look at the Sustrans website (sustrans.org.uk). There's a lovely 6 mile route recently added to the website, which takes you along disused railway lines and canal tow paths, from Telford town centre to the World Heritage site of Ironbridge Gorge.
9. Join Forest School
We have some fantastic Forest School providers in our area: World Outside at Bodenham Arboretum, Fruits of the Forest in Pedmore and Simply Limitless Wellbeing centre in Kidderminster, all offer summer Forest School activities which incorporate many of the activities above. Your child may also like to join a Wildlife Watch Club: There are two in Worcestershire (one at Wyre Forest and one at Lower Smite Farm). They both meet monthly and are a great opportunity to get children outside, exploring nature.
10. Face Your Fears
If you've always been a bit wary of spiders, or scared of snakes, fearful of bats or spooked by crocodiles, maybe you just need to learn a little bit more about them. These creatures may not be as scary as you think once you understand what makes them tick and you get up close to these beautiful beings. Staff at our local wildlife parks can teach you all about these creepy crawlies and often you get the opportunity to touch or hold them! If you don't fancy an audience watching you squirm you could book a private animal handling session at Dudley Zoo, Wild Zoological Park or West Midland Safari Park. Petting Zoos can be found at Little Owl Farm Park, Rays Farm and Hatton Adventure World. See our round up of animal parks here.
This information was correct at the time of going to print but please do check with the venue for the latest information.
Author, Sally Walters, Editor.
Editor of Raring2go! Kidderminster & Stourbridge since 2008. Local font of knowledge. Mother of two and wife of one.