All our Mini Adventures

Build a cairn

Of all my ideas for mini-adventures with the kids, I was surprised at just how successful this one was. Simple, quick, and highly rewarding for the kids. Build a cairn and you’ll spend months heading out on a family walk to revisit it and make it bigger (or rebuild it if it’s fallen down!)

What is a cairn?

If you’ve been up a mountain, you’ll likely have come across a cairn – one of those man-made piles of stones you see dotted around the place. Some are big and some are small, but they all have a sort of mystical beauty. Cairns have been used as landmarks for thousands of years and can be a welcome sight if up a mountain in low visibility.

For kids, finding a cairn is like Christmas come early. They love them! We always let them have a little play and then try to rebuild any damage they may have done. Suggesting that the children make their very own cairns was met with great enthusiasm! To be honest, it was great fun for the adults too… think puzzle pieces meets Jenga meets the Krypton Factor. It became somewhat competitive which adds to the fun! It goes without saying that mine were the best.

family walks


  • Location – you can build a cairn anywhere as long as you can find some stones. The best ones are in places where there are lots of flat stones around. Hilltops are usually the best spots. We like to build ours on Crook Peak, Somerset.
  • Prep as you would for a family walk with the kids
  • How about a picnic or flask of hot chocolate to celebrate your building success?

Kit list:

  • Just your normal walking equipment… and maybe gloves if it’s cold.
  • OS map to find your spot
building cairns

This was a really fun activity with the kids and easy to achieve after a work and school day.