Updated: Jun 23, 2021
As more of us head towards rural and coastal areas for our staycations, we explore 10 outdoor activities that you can do in nature. Whether you are going on a staycation alone, with friends, or with your family, there are plenty of creative activities that you can all enjoy outdoors!
1. Collect Natural Materials
Collect a variety of natural items from the places you visit. These can include fallen leaves, twigs, sticks, stones, shells and so on. Avoid picking wildflowers as this can damage the ecosystem. Creating a personal collection can serve as a souvenir of your trip. It’s also an enjoyable and communal activity for children to do, whilst allowing you to learn about the different types of flora and fauna in the places you visit.
You can also use your collected materials to create your own artwork back at home or in your accommodation. You can create pictures using the materials, or use them as painting implements, dipping leaves and sticks into paint to create interesting effects. You might also choose to create your own terrarium, inspired by your staycation.
2. Making Prints in the Sand
Handprints and footprints can be one of the most basic and yet fun activities to do, particularly if you have young children. Create a trail of footprints along the sand on the beach, alternating between adult and child-sized footprints. If you’re exploring the woods, create a footprint trail using some mud. You can also do the same thing with handprints instead, or make prints using natural found objects.
As well as making trails, you could create artworks, shapes, or even write letters or messages in the sand or soil using human or object prints. Take a photograph of your completed trail, artwork or message, as a token of your trip and a memory you can treasure in the future.
3. Make Sculptures
Sculpting can be a very relaxing and calming activity. Take a walk in nature. What particular objects capture your attention? It might be a tree, a fallen branch, a shell, a bird, a crab… Choose or two objects that inspire you. Using clay, plasticine, playdough or salt dough, create a sculpture of your chosen object. It doesn’t have to be a realistic sculpture.
Take your time as you touch the clay or material you are using to create the sculpture. Allow yourself to really engage with your sense of touch and try to create the different textures of the object. Once it has dried, you can then paint and decorate your finished sculpture, to create a treasured memento of your staycation.
4. Uninterrupted Writing
Take a walk in nature for 10-20 minutes. Explore the environment using all of your senses. Try to remain engaged in the present moment. After 10 – 20 minutes, stop and find somewhere comfortable to sit and write. Set yourself a 10-minute timer. Begin writing and don’t stop until the 10 minutes are up.
Don’t worry if you can’t think of anything to write. Simply write, ‘I don’t know what to write…’ Write down anything that comes into your mind. Think back to the smells, sounds and sights of the environment as you walked. Use these as inspiration for your writing. You can also use this as an opportunity to explore your own feelings. After 10 minutes, you can choose to stop or continue.
5. Create an Installation in Nature
Collect a range of natural materials from an outdoor environment, such as woodlands or the beach. When you have a few items, choose a location in the space to create your installation. Make sure that it isn’t an area that will disturb the local wildlife.
Spend some time arranging the natural materials into an installation you are satisfied with. When you are happy with it, leave it on site as a token of gratitude to the natural environment.
Go on a walk and challenge yourself and your family to take innovative and interesting photographs of ordinary objects and landscapes. Consider taking a photograph from an unusual angle. Perhaps you can take an extreme close-up of a flower, revealing previously unnoticed details.
You can also try taking photographs at different times of the day, or photographing objects from between the leaves of a tree. You might even consider taking photographs of each other from the perspective of different animals or objects in the environment. What would you look like from an ant’s perspective, or from the perspective of a half-buried shell?
7. Landscape Art
Landscapes have been a popular source of inspiration for artists for centuries. Why not explore your outdoor environment during your staycation by creating your own piece of landscape art? It can be as life-like or as abstract as you wish.
You can take a photograph of your chosen landscape and complete your artwork in your accommodation or, even better, sit outdoors and create it in the space itself! You can use any medium you like. You might even choose to use natural or found objects in the natural environment to create your landscape art.
8. Take Your Practice Outdoors
Whether you do somatic movement, dance, yoga, Pilates, martial arts or HIIT training, during your staycation, experiment with taking your practice outdoors. As you practice, allow yourself to notice how the outdoor environment impacts your practice.
How does it make you feel? What do you notice about yourself as you practice? For example, do you find that you’re able to sink deeper into certain poses, or perhaps you’re able to connect and focus on your breath more fully?
9. Engage in Responsive Practice
Engage in some mindful practice outdoors for 20 minutes. This could be yoga, somatic movement or meditation, for example. Allow yourself to be truly present to the practice, focusing on your breath and trying to open your awareness as fully as you can.
After 20 minutes, pause and spend 10-20 minutes creating a piece in response to your practice. This can take any form you wish. You could create a piece of art (using any medium of your choice), writing, or even creating a piece of music or soundscape. The responsive work could be a reflection on the mindful practice you have just completed, an extension of it, or a response to it.
10. Create A Soundscape
The natural world is full of wonderful sounds. From the tweeting or birds, the sounds of crashing waves, to the wind rustling through the leaves, there are always plenty of sounds to explore. Spend 10 minutes in an outdoor space, simply listening to the sounds of the environment around you.
Begin to create your own soundscape. If you have an instrument, you may choose to play this. Alternatively, explore making sounds using your body, such as stamping, clapping, clicking, whistling, as well as by using your voice in different ways. You can also use the natural objects around you, such as drumming on a tree bark.
Record your soundscape on your phone and you can use it for further inspiration to create another piece of music, a textual composition, or a piece of dance or movement.
The outdoors can provide a range of creative inspiration. From music, to artworks, poetry to photography, there are plenty of activities to keep you and your family engaged and connected with one another during your staycation.
This week, we invite you to try one of the activities suggested above. Whether you are traveling elsewhere in the country, or exploring a new local area as part of your staycation, we invite you to join us in enjoying the outdoors in new and creative ways.
As always, please feel free to connect with us in the comments below or via our Facebook page, and please share this blog post!