SUMMER days out. These are the things I’m going to enjoy once I finish the house renovations. While stuck in purgatory, I can only imagine the fun people are having out there at the vintage car rally, strawberry fayre or agricultural show.
But what about those of you for whom ‘school’s out for summer’ means a desperate search for activities that will keep your little munchkins entertained? How do you keep the day out green as well as filled with fun and laughter? My memories of childhood days out largely consist of my dad making us walk for miles in the wrong direction in search of a ‘short cut’, or of me getting endlessly car sick. Still, the day trips to Millport were undeniably great.
Children may love to spend the summer holidays consuming processed food, TV and sugary drinks but as adults it is our job to convince them they should forget all about technology and the happy world of Haribo and instead start living like the Famous Five. This summer, they will be going outside, breathing fresh air, discovering nature and loving every minute of it.
At this point you may be struggling to remember the things you did during the summer holidays when your mum switched off Champion the Wonder Horse and kicked you outside. If your mind has gone completely blank, purchase a copy of Go Wild: 101 Things to Do Outdoors Before You Grow Up, by Fiona Danks and Jo Schofield (£16.99, Frances Lincoln), or something like it. The rudimentaries of den-building and making rope-swings will soon come flooding back.
Walking, cycling and tricking children into doing the weeding in the back garden by pretending it’s a game are all good green options, but what lies further afield? Seven organic farms in Scotland are open to the public – you can find full details at www.soilassociation.org/visitanorganicfarm. The one that really catches the eye is Cream o’Galloway in Dumfries and Galloway, where there are 30 different flavours of organic ice-cream to try, but the others look interesting too, with farm shops and cafés as well as the chance to explore and get the kids to go ‘moo’, ‘baa’ and so on.
Gorgie City Farm in Edinburgh is another good bet, or you can log on to www.farmgarden.org.uk for an interactive map that’ll help you find your nearest city farm or community garden.
If you really want to raise eco-warriors, try a day trip (by public transport, of course) to the Earthship Fife visitor centre (www.sci-scotland.org.uk), where you can find out about the eco-friendliest of buildings, made from materials such as earth-filled tyres and aluminium cans. Further north, Findhorn eco-village (www.findhorn.org) is open to visitors who wish to delve deep into the reality of sustainable living.
Coming up with green days out can be exhausting, so let someone else do the hard work. Events in Edinburgh, Lothians and the Borders are showcased at Outdoor Diary (www.outdoordiary.info), while the National Trust, Historic Scotland and local council ranger services are also good sources. With a bit of luck, the kids will be so tired after a relentless few days of bug hunts, pond-dipping and bushcraft for beginners they might even forget to complain about having to go to bed while it’s still light outside.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 9 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 14 mph
Wind direction: South west