Gatton parks runs a fantastic activity called ‘tales and trails’ every Friday and my soon-to-be-three year old and I took part in one a few weeks ago. Each week the activity is based on a children’s book, and the week we took part in it, the selected book was  “I love bugs” by  Emma Dodd.

It wasn’t a book we had, so we borrowed it from the Surrey Library to make the most of the event, but I don’t think having read the book before hand is essential.

If you want to attend one of the activities, you need to book online and  pay between £5.50 and £7.50 (depending on the event). Remember to book well in advance as it is very popular and the limited spaces get filled up every fast.

The activity is located in the Royal Alexandra and Albert School. You need to drive through the school following signs to the ‘cabin’.

They started with reading the book which was a great introduction to the event. Next we moved to tables set up with material to create a  ‘bug dial’ which was fun. Talking about the different bugs, finding the correct images to match the text and gluing them, and finally adding some colour to it was engaging.

Following this we went outdoors where big black platters, bags of dried lives and sticks (probes) awaited us. The kids had a great time looking through the dried leaves to find ‘bugs’. Judging by the excitement of the kids, I think poking with the stick was as much fun as finding creepy crawlies.

Then we walked along a trail with  stunning views of the park to an area where they had set up bins with magnifying glasses, brushes and containers to collect bugs.


The children were given instructions to look for bugs under logs and dried leaves with the help of the tools given to them. There was so much excitement looking for bugs, and discovering bugs of all shapes and sizes in such a beautiful natural setting. Looking at what each other had found and talking about them was fantastic.

Then we walked back to the cabin where everyone washed hands and had biscuits before making a ‘spider’ with paper and colored strings of wool all set up on the table.

I can’t recommend this activity highly enough because it is very well designed, and executed and the price tag is very affordable. The setting is stunning and the sights and sounds of a woodland could not be better for a child to learn about nature. I love being outdoors and I encourage my little one to explore as well, so this was great and I hope you try it out too!

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