Tales from the forest

Inspiration, stories and an insider's glimpse into the world of Scotland's forests

10 summer activities for kids that won't break the bank

Summer is here, and that means sun (maybe), vast quantities of ice cream, and a lot of time to keep the kids entertained. We’ve put together some of our favourite things to do with your little ones that’ll get them out the house and exploring Scotland’s forests.

1. Live the wild life

otter in amongst sea weed

Ever wanted to get up close to Scotland’s largest mammal? The Red Deer Range in Galloway Forest Park runs regular events throughout summer to let you see these magnificent animals in real life. If marine life is more up your street, you can see leaping salmon at Rogie Falls, and maybe even porpoise and otters out west at Fishnish!

 

2. Climb every mountain

There are so many awesome views out there it’s hard to pick just one. So don’t! There are hills aplenty to climb for all ages in Scotland, with spectacular views at the top as a reward. Some of our favourites are Ben A’an, with its spectacular views over the Trossachs, Cow Hill’s panoramas over Loch Linnhe and Ben Nevis, and the lovely Drummond Hill which lets you take in the Loch Tay from up above. Plus, all the exercise is definitely a good excuse to get the whole family an ice cream treat afterwards!

 

3. Embrace their inner Danny MacAskill

biking resize

With world class mountain biking trails on your front step why would you take the family anywhere else? The 7stanes offer award-winning trails for all ages and abilities, and are easily accessible from Glasgow and Edinburgh. There’s also plenty of places to cycle without raising your heartrate through the roof.

 

4. Try out more sports than you’ll see at the Olympics

Make new friends, go exploring and make memories for years to come. Summer camps around the UK offer a range of experiences and activities to try out. From quad biking to bushcraft skills, your little ones can try pretty much try out every activity under the sun. Drop into the our Summer nature club at the Lodge Visitor Centre on Thursdays to learns about trees, go pond dipping and lots more fun!

 

5. Toast the perfect marshmallow

group toasting marshmallows on bonfire at night

Dust off your tent and sleeping bags: it’s time to get out and wake up in the woods. Whether your clan fancies wild camping or glamping with style, there are plenty of options around the country to find the perfect family location to toast marshmallows over an open fire.

 

6. Live like Tarzan (but with more clothes)

Treetop adventure courses give you the chance to swing from trees, balance on rope bridges and fly down zip wires. Visit Glentress or the Lodge Visitor Centre to Go Ape, or Leanachan to have a High Wire Adventure. All sites have options for younger children to ensure your mini Tarzans-in-training don’t miss out.

 

7. Play bug bingo

insect blog bingo bee

There’s a whopping 24,000 species of insect in the UK – and the forest is a great place to spot some of them! Download our bug bingo sheet and see how many you can count. Warning: you might have to get up close so be prepared to see some weird and wonderful beasties.

 

8. Build a den

Let the kids pick up some skills at our Treemendous Thursday events and test them out later in your back yard. Or, if the weather isn’t so great, swap out sticks for pillows and blankets!

 

9. Hang by your fingertips

man helping a boy up an outdoor boulder

Cuningar Loop is Glasgow’s newest woodland park and has lots to keep kids of all ages entertained. The bouldering area is Scotland’s first outdoor bouldering park and has routes for all climbing abilities.

 

10. Turn out the lights

Stargazing - Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park from Forestry Commission Scotland on Vimeo.

Galloway Forest Park is the UK’s first Dark Sky Park, so grab the binoculars and a constellation guide, and lose yourself in the night sky. The whole family can also experience dark skies from some of our other destinations, including Broadford and Kinloch on the Isle of Skye.


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