Saturday 15 December 2012


Not sure how I can get this one past health and safety... but there's nothing more fun for kids than mucking about in a river.
For little ones you have to pick a place where the water is shallow and slow moving, and be ready to leap in after them if they take a tumble. It's a good idea to put them in jelly shoes or something similar which will protect their feet from anything sharp on the bottom without filling up with water and making it hard to paddle about. And you have to accept that they will get wet, quite possibly all over. (Don't look too closely at my pics, I break most of these recommendations, tho I am always ready to leap in and save them. So far, no disasters!)

Thrill seeking under the bridge.
"I caught something!"
Generally, just paddling about and looking for anything interesting on the bottom is fun enough. The boys like the excitement of going under the bridge, where it's a bit deep and dark, to look for trolls and make their voices echoey. We sometimes take little fishing nets although it's usually highly unlikely they'll catch anything as they're incapable of being quiet or moving gently through the water. Zac did catch a minnow once tho I have no idea how! I have told them how to catch a bullhead by turning stones over very gently so that the current carries any silt away and then grabbing the unsuspecting little fish lurking underneath, but they haven't managed it yet. We used to do it as children and once managed to con our parents out of quite a lot of money by initiating a "sponsored bullhead catch" and managing to catch about 30 in the space of half an hour. I could see the boys were skeptical when I told them about this, sitting on the river bank, so I paddled in, lifted a stone and miraculously managed to instantly catch one of the slippery creatures. Big cred for mummy!!

There's one stream we visit which is really shallow but quite fast-moving and is perfect for building dams. This can keep the little 'uns entertained for ages as it's a great challenge to find enough big stones to build a wall right across the stream so that a new pool forms behind. It's also a great place to have races with sticks or leaves.

Playing "Pooh sticks" when the river's full.
In winter I won't let them go in. The water's often too high/ fast moving, and even if it isn't, getting wet when you're going to have a cold walk home is no fun. But it's a good time to play "pooh sticks"- the sticks travel under the bridge a bit quicker, and it's always fun to throw stuff in to see if it floats or sinks, or to see who can make the biggest splash, or who can hit a floating target.
"Fishing" in the rain.
Raisins by the river.

But in summer, the banks of a river are the perfect place to have a relaxing family picnic.

So, as long as you've got safety in mind, I reckon a bit of river-time is an essential life experience for young boys.

What else could you get up to?


  1. We were by a river recently and my wee man saw the big kids splashing around in it and wanted to follow....started taking his clothes off! I have to admit I was not ready to brave that one with him just yet. Maybe if I was more prepared in my head for wading!? The boys look to be having lots and lots of fun!

    1. They do love it but I'm quite cautious about where I'll let them go in. We had Daddy on hand when Zac tried the rope swing over deep water- I was sure he'd let go and need rescuing!

  2. What a brilliant post. A great way to get them learning about risk and safety around water as well as having loads of fun. Brilliant!

  3. OMG i love your posts honey your children are always out and about and very often than not down to their pants getting their hands muddy .. i love it!!

    Thanks for linking up with #ActiveFamily :-)

    1. Thank you Jaime! Although he's prob old enough to know better, if it's warm the first thing my youngest does when he gets home from school is strip to his pants! Yesterday it was so he could fill proper balloons with water and squirt them all over my nearly-dry washing!!

  4. Here on at Coombe it's hard to keep our children away from the river - whatever the weather! Like your boys they quite easily while away a day having fun exploring and having fun fishing, pooh sticks and generally getting soaked! Thanks for linking up and sharing your fun with Country Kids.