Top Half-Term Activities for Families in the Sand Dunes
This October half term, we've chosen some of our favourite family activities for you and the kids to enjoy when spending the day at the coast. From downloading some of our sand dune wildlife spotter activity sheets to exploring the dunes in search of some of the fantastic autumn plants and fungi that are growing right now, there'll be something for every family.
1. Go on a fungi hunt
With rain in the cool October air keeping the sand dune grassland nice and damp, Autumn is the perfect time for mushrooms to pop up all over our sand dunes. Take a look and see how many you can spot. Be careful not to touch any of the fungi that you find! Why not take pictures or do a drawing of the different mushrooms, so that you can see how beautiful and different they can all look?
2. Race to the top of the highest dune
Once you've reached the top, you can slide alllll the way back down. So, on your marks, get set… GO!
If you're running through the dune vegetation, don't forget to keep to any paths you see to make sure you don't step on some of the beautiful and rare wildlife that lives there.
3. Look for footprints in the sand
Bare sand is really important for lots of creatures. Take a look at the surface of some of the sandy areas. Can you see footprints? You might spot human footprints or dog pawprints, but if you look closely you might also see some delicate bird footprints - or even the tracks left by a lizard, scuttling across the sand. Try and work out what you think could have made each set of prints.
4. Do a beach (and dune) clean
Any litter left in the sand dunes causes a threat to creatures that live in there. They can try to eat and choke on small plastic items, or get tangled in bigger things. With the winter winds and stormy weather on the way, lots of the litter left behind on dunes and beaches will get blown into the sea, where it can harm marine life. Help keep your local dunes healthy by bringing a bag and some gloves or a litter grabber, and spending a few minutes litter picking.
5. Make beach art
Be a dune scavenger and look out for treasures like feathers, shells, twigs and colourful fallen leaves as you explore the dunes. When you’ve collected lots of fun materials, use them to make some beach art on a sandy patch! You could make a face, a lizard, a flower…
6. Take a plastic-free picnic
The dips between the tall sandy dune ridges are the perfect place for a sheltered picnic. For a fun challenge that’s also good for the environment, why not try packing a plastic-free picnic, so that there’s no single-use plastic packaging in your lunchboxes!
7. Take a mindful minute
It's certainly been an unusual year and taking care of our mental health is important, at all ages. Spending time in nature is proven to improve moods and feelings of happiness and self confidence, and to reduce stress and anxiety. Pick a sheltered spot or find a place with a great view of the dunes, and take a minute to breathe. Take long, deep breaths, listen to the waves and perhaps count the different the bird calls that you can hear. Perhaps ask the kids to think about what they enjoy most when they're outside.
8. Make a natural bracelet
Marram grass is a sturdy plant. Its long leaves and roots are capable of growing through lots of sand as dunes grow taller and taller. This means it's also strong enough to be braided! Sit down on the sand, pick three strands and plait them to make a beautiful natural bracelet. Marram grass has also been used to make brooms and woven baskets for centuries.
9. Download our sand dune spotter and spy activity sheets.
Specially designed with both your kids and the dune wildlife in mind, these bright and colourful sheets are full of ideas for inquisitive days spent exploring and learning about how creatures are specialised to live in sand dunes. Simply click the links below to download them, print them off and take them to the coast!
10. If the weather is bad, try some sand dune-inspired craft activities at home
Some days it's raining a little too hard and sometimes it's a little too tricky to travel to the coast, so we've come up with a fun range of arts and crafts that you can do at home - inspired by sand dune creatures! Visit our Dune Art Challenge page to watch the craft tutorial videos and download the activity sheets. Don't forget to tag us in your photos of your creations and use #DuneArtChallenge on social media!