Outdoor Activity Ideas for Squirrels - Part 2
Blog written by Susan Smith, Scotland Commissioner (Squirrel Scouts). Find part 1 here.
If you're looking for outdoor fun, the following suggestions should give you some great inspiration:
Beach/Woodland/Local Area Clean up – Somewhere local that the Squirrels would use with their families perhaps, organise an event to clean up the area, making it litter free. Use litter pickers or make sure everyone is wearing gardening gloves. A great opportunity to talk about the importance of putting our rubbish in the bin and why. Perhaps you could include a recycling session or another local environmental group.
Local Superhero Activity Badge, Go Wild Activity Badge, Feel Good Activity Badge, Be Active Activity Badge, All Around Us Challenge Award.
Hill Rolling - Find a hill, or even better a few hills of different gradients, and make sure all objects that could cause injury are removed, once you had made sure it is safe, perhaps you could place obvious objects (empty bottles, large stones, wrappers, in the area and ask the Squirrels to make it safe? Could be linked in with a litter pick? A grassy or sandy hill are best for this activity. Have fun rolling! Try different rolling positions, arms stretched above your head, arms by your side, legs together, legs apart etc. Can you roll up the hill? What rolling position makes you roll faster and why do think this happens? Why it is different trying to roll upwards?
Exciting Experiments Activity Badge, Feel Good Activity Badge, Be Active Activity Badge, All Together Challenge Badge (Helping others to stay safe), All Around us Challenge Award, All About Adventure Challenge Badge.
Puddle Jumping – Nothing is as much fun as puddle jumping! This can be a great way to talk about the weather and the environment as well as finding out how deep a puddle is or how big a splash you can make! Add some washing up liquid puddles to puddles, how can you make lots of bubbles? Best to use biodegradable washing up liquid for outdoors. If we have been fortunate enough to have a spell of dry weather, you can create your own puddles! Do not forget waterproofs and wellies. Try doing this at the beach too?
Feel Good Activity Badge, Exciting Experiments Activity Badge, Be Active Activity Badge, All About Adventure Challenge Award.
Outdoor Artwork/Collage – Either individually, as a pair or as a Drey, collect as many natural resources as you can where you are. Create a piece of artwork, it doesn’t have to be of anything just a collaboration of the collections. Or maybe you can have a theme? Make a Squirrel or other animal or perhaps organise the things into colours and make a rainbow? Squirrels’ can make individual pictures too or portraits.
Get Creative Activity Badge, Brilliant Builder Activity Badge, All Together Challenge Award.
Mud/Sand Painting/Sculpting – While outdoors, perhaps after puddle jumping, provide the squirrels, with card, paper or recycled materials and see what they can create with the mud? A very messy activity but can provide great collaborative work between the Squirrels.
Get Creative Activity Badge, Feel Good Activity Badge, Exciting Experiments Activity Badge, Brilliant Builder Activity Badge, Be Active Activity Badge, All Together Challenge Award, All About Me Challenge Award.
Water Painting – This can be a great art project without too much mess! Using empty washing up liquid bottles, paint brushes, (You could even make nature paint brushes using sticks with leaves and grasses,) sticks or anything you else you think suitable, on a dry, warm day/evening allow the young people to paint on the ground, this can be concrete or earth, on walls or trees. It can be a great opportunity to discuss what is happening to the water as it dries.
Get Creative Activity Badge, Exciting Experiments Activity Badge.
Nature Rubbings – This is something that can be done indoors or out. You could gather various nature items during a walk and once back in your meeting place use paper and crayons or chalk to make rubbings of them. Alternatively, you can take the paper etc with you and try to do the rubbings when out and about. Looking at the different patterns and textures on the bark of trees, leaves or rocks. Using chalk or crayons is often better for rubbing activities and using them on their side rather than their tip can give more success. No harm in trying both though.
Get Creative Activity Badge, Exciting Experiments Activity Badge.
Potion Making – A favourite activity that has been used for many years. Gather natural ingredients grass, petal, leaves, moss etc and enjoy mixing them with rainwater in a recyclable/recycled container to see what you can make. What does it look and smell like? What would your potion be used for?
Exciting Experiments Activity Badge, Get Creative activity Badge.
Den Building – If you have access to a local wooded area use this space to build a den using what you find there, sticks, branches, leaves, moss. How many Squirrels can you fit in it? How will you keep the rain out? Alternatively take some pioneering poles or broom handles, material, tarpaulin, and see what Squirrels can create. Again, some local authorities’ have a Rangers Service available or local nature groups would be more than happy to help. Or ask your local Explorer Unit for some help.
Outdoor Building – Not all outdoor building has to be den building. Using whatever you find in the area you are using practice building towers, houses, anything at all, let their imaginations run wild.
Local Superhero Activity Badge, Get Creative Activity Badge, Feel Good Activity Badge, Exciting Experiments Activity Badge, Brilliant Builder activity Badge, Be Active Activity Badge, All Together Challenge Award, All About Adventure Challenge Award.
Natural Obstacle Course - Wherever you are, gather things you find around you, twigs, logs, stones, leaves etc and decide what every object is telling you to do. Twigs are for stepping over, Stones for zigzagging through, leaves to be stacked, and such like. Make your own obstacle course and see how well your young people can complete it.
Get Creative Activity Badge, Feel Good Activity Badge, Brilliant Builder Activity Badge, All Together Challenge Award, All About Adventure Challenge Award.
Sports Day –In a local park or green space you could hold a sports day as a Drey or perhaps make it a family or group event? It could have a theme such as Scottish Sports or Sports from Around the World, or a traditional sports day with a 3-legged race, egg and spoon race etc.
Feel Good Activity Badge, Be Active Activity Badge.
Kite Flying – No need to buy expensive kites. Using a paper bag and some string or wool we can all fly a kite. Using tape to attach the string to the open end of the bag, making sure the bag is not taped closed, the kites can then be decorated and flown outside in a gentle wind.
Get Creative Activity Badge, Feel Good Activity Badge, Exciting Experiments Activity Badge, Be Active Activity Badge, All About Adventure Challenge Award.
Evening Walk – Many of our young people will enjoy walk or being outdoors during the day but how many will have the opportunity of an evening walk or outdoor time? While outdoors at this time, talk about the different things you can see, hear, smell, why do you think it is different? Obviously, the time of year will what you find. You could possibly try it on consecutive weeks when the clocks changes? Walk through the street or through a local nature area, what is the difference?
Yoga/Mindfulness – Find a calm quiet outdoor spot and enjoy the space learning Yoga poses and practicing doing nothing but being mindful and in the moment. Listen, smell, hear what is all around you. Essential oils can be used on scarves or material during these activities too to promote the senses. You could invite a local yoga or mindfulness practitioner along to carry out the session.
Feel Good Activity Badge, Local Superhero Activity Badge, All About Me Challenge Award, All About Adventure Challenge Award.
Star Gazing/ Cloud Watching – In an open quiet, dry space or with waterproofs on find a safe place to lie down and look at what is above our heads. Try to use a space without much street lighting if you are looking at the stars. Can you make or see pictures with the stars or clouds? What can you see?
Feel Good Activity Badge, All About Adventure Challenge Award.
Outdoor Story Time – Stories are an integral part of the Squirrel Programme, so why not change the venue and take your stories outside? Young people do not have to sit and listen to stories they can be part of the story adventure! Retelling a story in an outdoor space that mimics the stories setting can be a great learning opportunity. Alternatively, you can sit and listen to a story under the night sky, in a tent in the rain, or a rainy day on a beach, all these experiences will offer our youngest of people such great opportunities in nature.
Story Time Activity Badge, All About Adventure Challenge Award.
All these activities can be adapted to suit your local area and your young people. You may also be able to fit in other badge criteria too!
Finally, here are a few to web addresses that offer great ideas for outdoor activities too: