All our Mini Adventures

Christmas Adventure Calendar: get outdoors for some festive fun!

Make 2020 a Christmas of Adventure! Throw on your wellies, grab your waterproofs and have some festive family fun in the great outdoors.

We’ve created a Christmas Activity Calendar filled with awesome mini-adventure ideas for all the family.

Search for elves, listen to bird carols, and roast chestnuts on an outdoor fire. Let’s head outdoors for some fun this December and make this the best Christmas ever!

Click on each adventure to find out more!

christmas elf housesSearch for
Elf Lookouts
2Recreate the 12
days of
home aloneMake a Home Alone Assault Course  Outdoor Christmas Story
Decorate an
outdoor tree
8Track a
10Build an Elf housefinding elf homesWild Christmas Cards
CHRISTMAS BIRDWhittle a wand16A wild Christmas
natural christmas decorationCreate a festive trailoutdoor christmas ideas
Celebrate the winter solstice22Make a Christmas table decoration24CHRISTMAS DAY!Attend a bird
carol concert
Mulled wine and roasted chestnuts
glitterDIY Fairy Lightsoutdoor christmas ideasWatch the last sunset
of the year
starschristmas stars
Scroll for full calendar and click on each activity!

1st December
Search for Elf lookouts

We all know that Father Christmas brings gifts for good girls and boys. But did you know that he has a secret network of Elves always on the look-out for good behaviour? These Elves have hidey-holes in trees which you can spot if you look closely. They may look like woodpecker, squirrel or mouse homes but in fact they’re the Elves look out points! Leave some raisins in the elf holes because it’s their favourite food – bribery is best after all!
*leave them high where dogs can’t reach them!

If you’re out at dusk, take a torch or head torch and see if you can catch an elf in action!

looking for elves
Looking for elves

Time needed: 1 hour
Preparation: nothing needed
Kit list: raisins to leave for the elves, torch if out at dusk

3rd December
Recreate the 12 days of Christmas

This was a particularly geeky walk but we so enjoyed it that I had to add it to the Christmas calendar. Recreate the 12 days of Christmas on a family walk using what you see for inspiration. We managed, ‘On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me a blackbird in an Oak tree… they then got increasingly ridiculous including a squirrel with a bad knee, and a yellow poker dot banshee.

Time needed: 30 minutes
Preparation: none, except preparing for this song will be stuck in your
head until January
Kit list: Vocal chords at the ready…..


5th December
Make a Home Alone Assault Course

Home Alone is a classic Christmas movie. The children love the finale when the baddies are made to endure a catalogue of obstacles through Kevin’s house. Can you create a secret Home Alone-inspired assault course in your garden or out on a walk, and challenge an unwitting participant to complete it? Maybe not quite as painful as the original movie one though…. Use sticks to climb under, tree stumps to jump, stones to tip-toe over and streams to run through (the wetter the better!)

You never know what to expect on the Assault Course!

Time needed: 1.5 hours
Preparation: a good selection of outdoor obstacles
Kit list: String could help with the assault course


6th December
Tell a Christmas story by an outdoor fire

Choose your favourite Christmas story and snuggle down by the firepit to read with the family. Take out blankets, hot chocolate and marshmallows to make an evening of it!
No fire pit? Make a cosy den in the woods or the garden to hunker down and read your favourite stories. Can you make up your own Christmas tales to tell?

Time needed: 1 hour
Preparation: Check the weather forecast and get the fire pit ready or build a cosy den during day light
Kit list: fire pit, story, warm layers


7th December
Decorate an outdoor (Christmas) tree

We all need some extra cheer this Christmas so why not decorate a tree in your garden or on your street? Use some outdoor lights and weatherproof decorations. Even better if you can make the decorations yourselves!

Time needed: 1 hour
Preparation: Gather outdoor lights and waterproof decorations. Make your own if you can
Kit list: Outdoor lights, decorations, a nice looking tree!


9th December
Track a (Rein)deer

Head out to a muddy spot, near a stream or in a field and check in the mud for deer prints. These may be your local deer neighbours OR they may be the prints of Rudolph and his gang

Time needed: 20 minutes
Preparation: identify deer prints online before heading out
Kit list: none needed but the FSC mammal tracks & signs guide might help


11th December
Build an Elf house

Want to really get in favour with the elves? Build them an elf house in your garden or in the woods. They like bark for protection and moss to sleep on.  Over December, keep checking whether an elf, or anything else, moves in, you could leave them some oats or fruit to eat.

elves in the woods
Build an Elf House in the woods

Time needed: 30 minutes
Preparation: none
Kit list: walking boots and warm clothes


13th December
Wild Christmas Cards   

There’s nothing relatives like more than receiving the delightful creations of our children right!? Try making your own Christmas Cards using things you collect on your walk, can you collect holly (mind the prickles) and draw around it, or make a collage from leaves you’ve collected? Great for the little ones and cheaper than buying stacks of cards!

Time needed: 1.5 hours
Preparation: head out on a walk to gather materials
Kit list: glue, pens, paper, biodegradable glitter, all the messy stuff


15th December
Whittle or decorate a wand

Some say Father Christmas has a wand… most say he doesn’t. Either way – wands are lovely and magical, just like Christmas! Take a pocket-knife and learn to whittle. Can you make an elaborate wand? If you’re not keen on unleashing knife-wielding children, try decorating a stick (wand) and seeing how magical you can make it. Ivy is great for decoration.

Time needed: 1 hour
Preparation: find materials for decoration
Kit list: a good stick, a pocket knife, some string (if decorating), a grown-up!


17th December
A Wild Christmas Dinner

Who says it’s only humans that can enjoy a tasty Christmas dinner? Leave a feast out over night for your wild friends and see if anyone came for a nibble – try a carrot, some raisins or an apple maybe?

Time needed: 15 minutes
Preparation: check you’ve got a few ingredients in!
Kit List: A plate, a carrot, raisins, dried apricots, oats…. Anything tempting to wildlife


19th December
Create a festive trail for your friends

We’re not allowed to see our friends and family as much as we’d like to this Christmas but we can leave a Christmas trail for them! Can you decorate a local walk with baubles and decorations and leave clues for your friends to follow the trail? You could draw a map, or leave stick arrows for your friends to follow. Make sure you highlight where the elf houses are for everyone to see!

Time needed: 2 hours
Preparation: choose a good route that’s quite short and easy to access
Kit list: baubles and other decorations to mark the route (make sure you take these home after your friends have been!)


21st December
Celebrate the Winter Solstice

The 21st December is winter solstice and officially the shortest day of the year. Set your alarm a little early to watch the sunrise. Fortunately, the sun rises late so you don’t need to get up all that early to watch the it!

sunset image
watching the sun rise and hearing the dawn chorus

Time needed: 1 hour
Preparation: Choose a local, East-facing spot if possible, or watch the sunrise from your garden. Check sunrise time and arrive at our spot 15 minutes before
Kit list: thermos of hot chocolate, warm layers


23rd December
Make a Christmas table decoration

An au-naturel approach to Christmas decs.  These table decorations are the perfect finishing touch to the Christmas table.

Arm yourself with secateurs, gardening gloves and a couple of empty bags and set off on a foraging mission to gather foliage.  Ideal things to look out for would be:

  • Ivy
  • Holly
  • Pine
  • Sticks
  • Cones
  • berries
  • anything else that could form part of a unique table-decoration-creation. 

    Once you get home, it’s time to get creative!

Time needed: 2 hours
Preparation: Don’t forget the gloves, secateurs & bags when you go foraging
Kit list: Oasis wrapped in tinfoil, a plate or other container for the decoration to sit on, ribbon and candle (last two optional)


26th December
Attend a bird carol concert

With no traditional carol services this year, why not attend your own, private concert? Who’s in the choir? The birds! At this time of year our native birds are belting out their territory songs. Take a picnic on a sunny winter day and listen to the harmonies of the Robins, Blackbirds, Song thrushes and Crows. Can you give a concert back to them? Warm up your vocals and give your best rendition of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer!

Time needed: 30 minutes
Preparation: none needed
Kit list: picnic; a repertoire of Christmas songs to sing!


27th December
Mulled wine and roasted chestnuts

Nothing could be better on a crisp winters evening than huddling around the firepit and roasting some chestnuts and cooking some mulled wine. Even better if you can forage the chestnuts yourselves!

roasting chestnuts on a fire
roasting chestnuts

Time needed: 1 hour but the longer the better!
Preparation: forage chestnuts or buy from local shop. Pre-make a batch of mulled wine
Kit list: mulled wine and cups, chestnuts and salt to dip them in; fire pit

29th December
DIY Fairy Lights

This is the perfect up cycling project – home made fairy lights.  They look so pretty – the  ideal decoration for the outdoor (Christmas) tree project.

Here’s what you do:

  • Get some tin cans and scrub off the labels and glue
  • Fill the tins with water and put in the freezer
  • Once frozen, get a clamp, nail and hammer and tap out decorative patterns all around the tin
  • Leave outside so the ice melts
  • Paint in pretty colours, (if you have time or just leave silver if not)
  • string some wire to create a hook across the top
  • Pop in a tea light
  • Light the fire pit, pour some mulled wine and enjoy.

Time needed: 2 hours
Preparation: Put the cans filled with water in the freezer at least a day in advance
Kit list: tin can, clamp, hammer, nail, wire, tea light

31st December
Watch the last sunset of the year

With no wild parties this New Year’s Eve, why not head out to watch the final sunset of 2020? It’s a year that many will wave off gladly! Think about all the awesome things that 2021 will bring as you watch the colours of the sun going down.

Time needed: 45 minutes
Preparation: Check what time the sun goes down and choose a West-facing location
Kit List: Hot chocolate is always a good idea