Cheap family days out: An autumn treasure hunt at Pembrey Country Park

Yesterday, we made the most of a sunny October day to try a new family activity – we had a go at a DIY autumn treasure hunt. It was free (well, almost), got us all out of the house for something we could do together, and was a lot of fun.

I love this time of year – we get some lovely dry and sunny days, you don’t have the faff of suncream and having to find shade when you’re out and about like over the summer, and everything just looks that bit prettier with changing colours and low sunlight. It’s the perfect time to make the most of being outside before the winter hits with its dark nights and dreariness (apart from Christmas, of course).

So anyway, back to yesterday. The boys were happy lazing about watching TV and not really showing much interest in going anywhere. There was no way we were staying in when it was so sunny out, especially as Stew was working last weekend and is away next weekend so we’re a bit short on family days. I didn’t think they’d go for my suggestion of a plain old walk, so I suggested an autumn treasure hunt to make it sound more exciting. Ok, so there was a bit of confusion over where the Easter eggs would be hidden (don’t ask), but I managed to explain the concept of looking for a list of autumn treasure in the woods and they bought it.

Armed with a list of autumnal things to look for, we headed for Pembrey Country Park. Entry was £2 because we’re out of season, so it was “nearly free”, and we packed a mini picnic to keep us going.

This is what we were looking for…

Autumn treasure hunt

We read the list out to the boys (aged two and four) a few times on the way there so they’d have an idea what we needed to find, and after having to go back to the car twice after parking for cuddly toys and blanket, we were off!

There were pine needles all over the grass, so within a few minutes we’d ticked those off the list, as well as a pine cone and a brown leaf. I think it helped that we had a quick start, as the boys really got into it then. They were running ahead of us looking for things, and shouting back to us when they’d found them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They could run wild, make as much noise as they wanted and there was nobody else there to mind. It was fab.  We trekked through long grass, dodged brambles, and clambered over a fallen tree, which caused huge excitement! I thought we might struggle with our list, but we were flying though it. We found two lots of berries, one of which we had to swiftly stop our littlest from eating, bird tracks, and insects, and the boys were fascinated by it all. I sometimes forget that they’re interested in little things, and that a day out doesn’t have to involve going far or spending a lot of money.

 

 

 

 

About half way through, we decided to stop for our picnic, and we spotted a orld War Two pillbox to sit next to. I’m not sure if h’s a bit young yet, but we’ve told our eldest son a bit about the war and what happened, so he was really interested in the old building. There were some questions about “Hickuhler”, which we answered as best we could without saying too much, and lots of questions about who would have hidden inside the pillbox and what they were doing.

We were sitting in a lovely sunspot, there was nobody else in sight, and we felt miles from normal life. It was lovely to escape for a bit, even if we were only six miles down the road.

After some sandwiches and an angel slice each, we headed back off in search of the rest of our autumn items, and a stop-off in the park to play.

By the time we got back to the car we’d managed to find most of the things on our list – ticking off a bird’s nest on the way – and all we’d failed to find was a squirrel. Although to be fair, we’re a pretty noisy bunch and the squirrels were probably staying well clear!

Our autumn treasure hunt was a hit! We were out for a few hours, had plenty of fresh air, and the boys were ready to come home for a nap and snacks by the time we were done. We’ll definitely try something like this again as it took minimal effort and cost next to nothing. Give it a try!

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