This is probably the easiest and the most versatile adventure idea possible. A few of my friends have collected bits and bobs for treasure baskets since their kids were as young as five months and sworn by them. Back then, it was mainly about providing a sensory experience – for older kids, they’re also a good teaching tool. So this morning we finally set out with a cake tin and a very excited collie to make our own.
The basic idea is to take a box or basket (they say ideally not plastic, but I’m not sure it really matters) and fill it with as many interesting or stimulating objects from nature that you can find. It doesn’t require any experience or expert knowledge – as long as you steer clear of fungi, berries and stinging nettles, you ought to be fine! I wasn’t expecting to find much on our usual one-mile loop, because I’m not usually looking. But we found pine needles, pine cones, spruce cones, dried straw, sawdust, knobbly new shoots from a sycamore, a daffodil, a dandelion, a ranunculus and some holly. Not bad!
Our verdict? The ticklish pine needles and the sawdust were favourites – the latter now scattered across our living room. And definitely the easiest ever way to jazz up a dog walk.