We've changed how we provide Nature Detectives activities for children.

Read our blog to find out more.

If your child has a birthday coming up an outdoor party is a great option. It's perfect for kids who love wildlife and it’s a wonderful way to get youngsters active in the fresh air. A celebration in your garden or the woods also delivers great value for money as you don’t need to hire a venue or expensive entertainment.

Here are our favourite ideas and tips to help you plan a memorable outdoor party for your child and their friends.

Choose a venue

This could be your favourite wood, a local park, or even your garden. Wherever you choose, it needs to be somewhere your child’s friends can get to easily.

Visiting woods

Find a wood near you

Search thousands of woods across the UK and gather information on the local facilities, features, wildlife and history in the area.

Find a wood

Outdoor party games and activities

There are plenty of fun adventures you can plan for your young party guests. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Den building

Kids love competitions, so split your guests into teams and challenge them to a den-building contest. This activity works well in woodland where there are lots of fallen branches, and your dens will provide shelter if you get a shower of rain. See our den building tips for inspiration.

Scavenger hunts

The possibilities for outdoor scavenger hunts are endless. You could challenge kids to look for different colours in nature, to find ten different tree leaves, or to seek out natural textures like rough bark and silky petals. If your party has a theme such as pirates or fairies, create an imagination-based scavennger hunt and encourage children to look for a pirate's peg leg (a stick) or a fairy's delicate hat (a flower). Discover more ideas in our scavenger hunt blog.

Nature spotting

Getting up close to wildlife is really exciting for children. Hand out bug pots or magnifying glasses and encourage kids to look for minibeasts under logs and stones.

Our wildlife ID books are ideal for nature spotting too. These pocket-sized guides are perfect for small hands and the images are really helpful for identification. Choose from trees, flowers, minibeasts and birds, there's even one for animal poo and tracks!

Identify minibeasts 

Explore woodland creepy crawlies, from bugs and beetles to snails and spiders, with a pocket-sized swatch book.

Buy it now

Natural obstacle course

Use a wood's natural features as an assault course. Look for natural obstacles such as a fallen tree to balance along, a low branch to crawl under, some stepping stones to cross, or a puddle to leap over. Time each child as they complete the course and give a prize to the winner.

Rainy day ideas

If it's raining on the day of your party that's no problem – just ask guests to bring their wellies and waterproofs. You could make mud pies, jump in puddles, or sail leaf boats. Discover more rainy day activities in our blog.

Party bag fillers

Every child loves to take home a party bag, but try to avoid plastic toys that are easily forgotten. Instead, fill environmentally-friendly paper bags with wildlife goodies to inspire your guests after the party is finished. Keep to the nature theme with these ideas:

  • Bug boxes
  • Magnifying glasses
  • Twig pencils
  • Animal pencil toppers
  • Woodland creature stickers

Make an animal birthday cake

Wow your child and their friends with a woodland-themed birthday cake. To make a spiky hedgehog, cover a chocolate cake with icing then poke chocolate buttons in it for the spines. How about some brightly coloured animal cupcakes, such as ladybirds, butterflies and bumblebees? Or you could recreate your forest setting with a chocolate log cake decorated with mini meringue toadstools.

Winter birthday?

If your child has a winter birthday there's no reason for them to feel left out – you can wrap up warm and have an outdoor party at any time of year. Plan some activities that can be done during the colder months such as animal tracking or making sculptures out of twigs. We have some fantastic winter picnic ideas too.

Ideas for eco-friendly parties

When you have an outdoor party it’s important to look after the natural space. This is also an opportunity to get kids thinking about how to look after the environment too:

  • Can you walk to the woods or use public transport, rather than everyone coming by car?
  • Pack your picnic food in reusable containers and try to avoid single-use plastic.
  • Forget balloons, they can be harmful to the environment – go for reusable bunting instead and take it home for next time.
  • Don't put candles on the birthday cake – you don't want to risk setting trees or plants on fire.
  • Remember to take your rubbish home and recycle as much as you can.
  • Be kind to wildlife – take care not to trample any plants, an make sure children don't pick flowers or pull branches off trees. Please only use items that have fallen naturally to the ground for any activities.

Safety tips

As with any party, you'll need to make sure the children are safe.

  • Have plenty of fellow grown-ups to supervise, especially if you're going into the woods. Share mobile numbers so you can contact each other if you explore different areas, and arrange a meeting point where everyone can meet back up if they get separated.
  • Have a back-up plan in case of bad weather – wooded areas can be dangerous in thunder storms and strong winds, so plan an indoor alternative just in case.
  • Remember sun screen and hats if it's going to be sunny.
  • Recommend sturdy shoes on the invite. Long trousers are a good idea too as there may be brambles and stinging nettles around.
  • Take some hand sanitiser to clean everybody's hands when you're ready to tuck into the party food.
  • And pack a first aid kit for any cuts and scrapes.

Explore more activity ideas