Fun on the Riverbank
To celebrate the launch of Tales of the Riverbank, supernanny sends you splashing to the UK waterways for your perfect, autumnal family day out...
Remember: Stay Safe. Stay away from the Edge
Autumn is the perfect time for exploring rivers, streams or canals near you, as the busy waterways are full of activity with creatures making plans for the winter ahead. Supernanny’s tips for fun on the riverbank or canalside include great online resources and essential safety rules.
Look at that! What’s that mum?
Sometimes it’s great just to do a bit of nature spotting. Wear neutral-colour clothes, find an enclosed space and watch the bank. Here’s just a taste of what you might be able to spot:
- The water vole (probably what Roderick, the water rat is based on) will be having her babies around now. Water voles are very common in the UK, listen out for a ‘plop’ as they enter the water.
- Weasels and stoats are found a plenty and they don’t hibernate so you can look for these fast, skinny animals by water all year.
- Ferrets (always the bad guys, right?!) were introduced into the UK to control the rabbit population, and you’ll have to stick around till dusk if you want to see them in action... but they’re worth it!
Bird spotting has a bad name amongst adults but kids love it, and there are tons of birds that live and feed near waterways. You don’t have to have loads of kit but do get a good identification guide from your local library or bookshop. You could also take along some bird seed, to attract them near to you. Wear neutral colours and take some time when you arrive to make a good bird hide from some sticks and leaves. Practise being very quiet (!) and listen out for their calls. Remember to look in the air as well as on ground level if you want to really wow them with some birds of prey!
Get kids involved with bird watching on this great site from the RSPB
Like every new, potentially hazardous situation with kids, the best way to get them to think about how they should react to danger is to role play it. Find a quiet moment and start with something easy, like what they would do if their ball fell in the water now. Then see if they can think about using the things around them like a lifering – or even the ball – to help someone who fell into the water and couldn’t swim to safety.
The main rule to drum into them is to stay safe, don’t run, play or even walk close to the edge.
There’s a great role-playing resource on water safety, on the Wild On Waterways site.
Tales of the Riverbank: there’s loads more fun stuff on the Tales of the Riverbank site the new movie voiced by Stephen Fry, Ardal O’Hanlon and Steve Coogan here, go buy a copy there or see if you can WIN A COPY in our Supernanny.co.uk competition.
Wild on Waterways has some great resources from origami swans and frogs to how to make your own (very realistic, I must say!) bat puppet.
Indoor fun: beat the boredom.
Tidy fun: make paper lanterns.
Best movies for kids adapted from books, by our Supernanny film critic, Jo Berry.