Walk to School Week: 21-25 May
For whatever reason, we have got into the habit of driving our kids to school, even if it is only half a mile away. Glyn Dodwell gives us 10 great reasons why we should try to walk them to school instead.
Children have the opportunity to learn so much on school trips.
They allow them to discover more about themselves and their surroundings as well as apply the knowledge and skills they have learnt in the classroom, so why let it stop during the holidays?
The break away from a school setting can really inspire children to pay attention to their surroundings and absorb more information. This is why educators enjoy taking their students out of the classroom on academic excursions, further enhancing their learning.
But what about when school is out?
Your child’s learning doesn’t have to stop during the holidays.
Instead, take advantage of this time to aid your children’s learning, as well as entertain them with fun activities, beating boredom with exciting educational trips which suit the whole family.
Here are some of the best places to visit in the UK, to allow your children to absorb, interact and immerse themselves in new experiences, culture and history...
If you are planning a family trip to Bath, then an absolute ‘must-see’ is the Roman Baths and Museum. A fascinating experience for any curious child or indeed, adult - you will feel like you have stepped back in time while visiting this magnificent temple.
At the heart of the building, you will find the Sacred Springs where offerings were made by Romans to the goddess Sulis Minerva, who was believed to have had special healing powers.
Here you’ll get to feel the warmth of the natural hot water springs that have run through the ancient monument for centuries. Unfortunately, you can’t take a dip in the spring, as it is lined with lead and open to the elements; however, there is a fountain where you can safely taste the spa water which supposedly has healing qualities - be warned, it is said to be an acquired taste.
Children will enjoy engaging with costumed characters and learning about life during the Roman era. Allow up to two hours for your visit, as there is a surprising amount to see.
Children who are fascinated by animals will be excited by a trip to ZSL London Zoo, where they boast 750 species, including Gorillas, Lions and Pygmy Hippos.
Get the most out of your visit by checking out the daily zoo activities, such as Tigers Live!, Giraffe High Tea and Land of the Giants, giving the children an opportunity to learn more about what they are seeing at the Zoo.
You should try and explore the entire zoo, but some of the exhibits that should be at the top of your list include...
Here you are able to get face-to-face with Asiatic lions. These lions vary in colour from black and dark brown to sandy and grey, and are one of the largest members of the cat family.
Adult males can weigh up to 190kg, while females weigh up to 120kg.
This exhibit features a large pool with stunning underwater viewing areas and a special penguin nursery where penguin chicks can learn to swim.
Good for children of all ages.
The UK’s first ever walk-through spider exhibit. See amazing arachnids from across the world up close, including exotic species like the black widow, huntsman and giant bird-eating spiders.
Not one for those with Arachnophobia.
Cornwall is a true UK beauty, offering blue waters and golden sandy beaches without needing to get on a plane, but there is no reason why a trip to Cornwall can’t be educational as well as fun.
Cornwall offers one of the UK’s most spectacular attractions, the Eden Project. It houses the world’s largest indoor rainforest in one of its two biomes.
The Eden Project will make botany fans of even the most technologically obsessed youngster.
Take a walk on the canopy walkway and look down on this exotic collection of plants from different climates. A small warning, just like the rainforest it is humid in this biome, temperatures can reach 35 degrees centigrade, so make sure you take a bottle of water with you.
The second biome is described as paradise, partnered with an aroma of herbs. The biome allows visitors to explore the landscapes of South Africa, California and Western Australia, and the plants that grow there. There is so much for children to learn and explore here and a great day out for the whole family.
In the UK we are lucky enough to have a number of fantastic historical sites up and down the country. A magnificent example is Leeds Castle. This Norman stronghold housed six of England’s medieval queens and was also used by Henry VIII and his first of six wives.
Children can walk the royal hallways and experience a true piece of British history.
From time to time, there are events which are included in the price of admission. These events are seasonal and vary, so make sure you check what is on when you plan your visit.
If the kids have soaked up enough history they can try and get to the centre of the fantastic maze. It consists of 2,400 yew trees set in a square. Once the children (and adults!) have conquered the maze and made it to the centre, there is an underworld grotto which leads to the exit. The grotto is full of macabre forms and mythical beasts created from shells, minerals and wood, fascinating for all ages.
So, next time you are planning a day out with the children, why not opt for somewhere that is intellectually stimulating and fun at the same time.
Plunge into the history of the Royal Navy by visiting the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. Children will be blown away by vessels such as the HMS Victory and the HMS Warrior 1860, so magnificent that they will believe they have walked into the world of Pirates of the Caribbean, minus the blood thirsty pirates.
The dockyard has a rich history dating back to just after the Norman Conquest in 1066. The family can explore the Dockyard’s past on a 45 minute harbour tour, cruising by many of the fortifications built to protect Portsmouth over hundreds of years.
The whole family is sure to have fun visiting any of these locations and learn something invaluable whilst doing so.
So, hide those console controllers and get the kids outside, it will enrich their minds and you may learn a few things too!