Forest school leader Aliex gives us a few handy - and FUN - things to do to get the kids outside this Christmas holiday.

Tinsel, glitter, plastic wrap, batteries, boxes, cracker tat, if after a few days you are longing to escape the toy unwrapping, clearing and rubbish frenzy here are 5 top tips to get you away from the inevitable Christmas mayhem and out in the fresh air feeing good!

1. Hide & seek Santa

Head to the woods and dress up the person hiding as Santa, even just the hat will do! All that red makes it harder to hide so they need to think on their feet to find the perfect spot! Count down and the chase is on.

2. Winter torch walk

Even if you are used to family walks through the woods, across the Downs or in the park there is something super special about doing it after the sun has set. It can’t help but be magical even if you don’t see any Christmas lights! Wrap up super warm, lots of layers is key, jeans are the coldest thing you can wear so layered leggings and tights are perfect, even for the boys! Get a variety of torches together, think of somewhere that will be really dark, and off you go. Adventuring at night is awesome, the children love that they are outside exploring, nature looks different and there are all sorts of shadow games you can play too. Oh and they certainly sleep well afterwards!

3. Make an ice mobile

My kids love this and it is beyond easy. Get an old Tupperware or take away box, fill with leaves, winter berries and evergreen garden herbs like sage or rosemary arranging them in a pattern. Curl in a piece of string for hanging and pour in some water. Leave it out over night to freeze or if it’s not cold enough pop it in the freezer. It may take a few days to set depending on how thick the water is. When completely frozen gently remove it from the box and hang outside to decorate your garden. They look gorgeous as they catch the winter sunlight. Count how many hours or days it takes to melt completely.

4. Smash an ice ball

The best winter fun the kids can have and trust me they can do this for hours… just make sure you have got enough layers on so your toes don’t get cold watching them, or better still join in too! Fill some water balloons with water as much as they can hold, you can pop in a small wooden bead or plastic toy if you like. Pop in freezer to set, it may take at least 24 hours to ensure they are super solid. Then when they are ready give the children small hammers (Wilko do small easy to handle ones) or a rock and let them smash and bash the balls to pieces. They just won’t want to stop smashing, especially if they are desperate to get to the toy inside too. Although they really will just enjoying smashing up the ice for as long as they can.

5. Tracking

A version of hide and seek but with clues. Get an adult to leave the house with a fat piece of chalk and ideally walk to a cafe or somewhere that serves good hot drinks. As they walk they use the chalk to mark arrows on the road, trees or walls for the children and other adults to follow. Once they arrive they wait to be found. The others will have set off about 15 minutes after the first person left. Following the arrows takes detective work and good observational skills. When they reach the cafe it’s hot drinks all round to celebrate! You could also do this but make the trail a circle so that you arrive back at the home where hot drinks are waiting. Cheeky but at least it gets you all out of the house for a bit!

We hope you have a Merry Christmas and manage to find time for lots of outside play as well as inside. x