One of our favourite things to do at RSPB Sandwell Valley is help families connect to nature and spend time together in the great outdoors. Our volunteers love showing our visitors how to pond dip or identify birds on the feeders and out on the lake, and it's wonderful to see parents teaching their children about the natural world - and sometimes vice versa!

Spending time as a family in nature is something special. It might be listening to birds singing, exploring a woodland path, seeing how many bees you can count and even jumping in puddles on a rainy day. Whether you're a new family just starting out, a family with young children eager for adventure, or a family with grown-up kids, we've got something for every family, whatever shape or size. 

See our list below for some of our upcoming family-friendly events. If you don't spot something that takes your fancy be sure to check our Facebook page for regular updates!

1. Guided Pond Dipping Sessions

We've got several ponds here at RSPB Sandwell and each one has a whole world of underwater creatures just waiting to be discovered inside. Pop along on Saturday mornings between 11am and 1pm and our volunteers will help you identify your findings and show you the best way to dip! We'll give you a net, a magnifying glass, identification chart, spoon, white tray and container to get you started. We also have mats available for kneeling by the pond, and benches to use.

Pond Dipping is just £3 per child with 20% off for members. There's no need to book online. Simply come along on the day and pay at the visitor desk.

This event will be running until October.

Pond Dipping is suitable for children aged 3 and above. Please ensure that younger children are supervised and clean their hands afterwards.

Event link: Guided Pond Dipping Sessions at RSPB Sandwell

2. Wednesday Evening Drop-In Sessions

This is a fantastic way to wind down after a long day at school, or if you're looking for something different to do after work with the family in the earlier hours of the evenings. We'll be doing different activities each week including flower printing, campfire cooking, bug hunting, pond dipping and a variety of nature crafts. Although most of our activities will take place outside, some of them may be liable to change depending on the weather.

Our Wednesday Evening Drop-In Sessions are just £1 per person and run from 4pm - 7pm. No need to book online. Simply pop in on the day. This event will run every Wednesday evening until September (unless stated otherwise on our Facebook Events page).

Activities will be suitable for all ages but younger children must be supervised by parents. The flower printing activity may include the use of a mallet so smaller fingers will need assistance.

Event link: Wednesday Evening Drop-In Sessions at RSPB Sandwell

3. Wellbeing in Nature

If you're a family with older children looking for a peaceful and calm activity for the day, why not come along to our Wellbeing in Nature sessions? These sessions are suitable for ages 16+ and will involve mindfulness and relaxation exercises and a short walk around the reserve. This is a great activity for beating stress levels and would be perfect for older students facing their GCSE's and A Level exams! Mindfulness is an activity that can be done as an individual or as a group so this could be a lovely new skill to learn together as a family.

Our Wellbeing in Nature Sessions are £10 per person with 20% off for RSPB members. Please book online.

There will be several sessions throughout the year so be sure to check our Facebook page for updates. The next session is on 18 May from 11am - 12:30pm.

Event link: Wellbeing in Nature Sessions at RSPB Sandwell Valley

4. Flutterby with Butterfly Trails

Everyone loves butterflies, right? Have you ever tried following one down a sunny path or tried to photograph one daintily poised on the edge of a leaf? Our Butterfly Trails are great for families with young children up to the age of 12 (although any age can take part) keen to explore the reserve and find out more about our fluttering friends. We'll have lots of awesome wildlife facts for you to discover and nature craft activities to enjoy too.

Flutterby with Butterfly Trails will be on from 25 May - 2 June every day we are open. No need to book tickets. Simply drop in to the visitor centre any time between 11am and 4pm on the day.

Event link: Butterfly Trails at RSPB Sandwell

5. Bank Holiday Scavenger Hunts

This activity is brilliant for families with children who love to explore! Our scavenger hunts will get you looking up high in the sky and searching the woodland floor for all sorts of wonderful nature items. If you love a mission and have a keen eye for investigating, this event is perfect for practising teamwork skills and working together as a family. Or, if you have a more competitive nature, you could split into pairs and see who can finish the challenge first! We'll give you a list of all the things you need to discover and a bag to collect your finds in. There's a prize for everyone who completes the challenge so don't forget to come back to the visitor centre once you're done!

Our Scavenger Hunts take place on most bank holiday Mondays and are £3 per child with 20% off for RSPB Members. Suitable for all ages, but younger children must be accompanied by an adult. No need to book online. Simply pay at the visitor desk on the day and pop in any time between 11am and 3pm.

Event link: Bank Holiday Scavenger Hunts at RSPB Sandwell

6. Wild Craft Tuesdays

Our Wild Craft Tuesdays are full of fun and adventure! This is a great day out for families who want to learn lots of outdoor skills including cooking some tasty treats on a campfire like shmores (rather scrummy roasted marshmallows sandwiched between two digestive biscuits - if you haven't tried these you definitely need to!), shelter building and fire-lighting. Our volunteers will show you how to stay safe in the outdoors and teach you some of the skills you can use on family camping trips.

These sessions will run every Tuesday in the school holidays from 11am - 2pm. Suitable for children up to 14, but any age can join in. Parents must remain with their children. Wild Craft Tuesdays are £5 per child (non-member) or £4 per child (RSPB member). Please book online in advance to avoid disappointment.

We also have Bushcraft Days for families wanting to build upon their outdoor skills at later times in the year. Be sure to keep an eye out on our Facebook page for these!

Event link: Wild Craft Tuesdays at RSPB Sandwell

7. Explorer Thursdays

Our Explorer Thursdays are just that - a day out full of exploration! These sessions are designed to help families get that bit closer to nature through a variety of activities including pond dipping, bug hunting and crafts such as pebble painting and making paper ladybirds or flowers. If the weather's nice you could also pack a picnic and enjoy the sunshine on one of our benches, or bring a blanket and sit on the green. 

These sessions will run every Thursday in the school holidays from 11am - 2pm. All activities are suitable for children up to 14, but any age can join in. Parents must remain with their children. Explorer Thursdays are £5 per child (non-member) or £4 per child (RSPB member). Please book online in advance to avoid disappointment.

Event link: Explorer Thursdays at RSPB Sandwell

Just in case you'd like a few more ideas for activities you can do as a family here at RSPB Sandwell, here's a short list to get you started:

  • Watch the birds from the visitor centre or lakeside Hide
  • Feed the robins at our feeding stations
  • Take a walk around the lake
  • Woodland Obstacle Course
  • Make some noise in the Musical Glade
  • Read a book in Storytelling Corner

For any updates and event details please see our main Facebook page. If you have any questions feel free to post a comment, or you can ring us on 0121 357 7395.

For more information on you can have fun as a family in the great outdoors and as part of the RSPB, see here: RSPB Families: Things to Do

- The RSPB Sandwell Valley Team