What’s in my backpack for a whole day in the forest with three children?

What would you pack if you were going to spend the day in a forest with three children? Do you want a peek inside my backpack?

Recently we’ve been getting out and about a lot more during the week while Carl’s at work. This makes me so happy because to me, one of the biggest benefits of home educating is being able to spend copious amounts of time outdoors and we just weren’t taking advantage of this possibility as much as I’d like. The truth is, I’ve been battling with it all year but I just hate driving. I can’t do it. The thought of it makes me sweat and feel sick. If I drove somewhere, I would spend the entire time thinking and worrying about the fact that I had to drive home again. And, living in a city means that if we want to go anywhere close to nature it means a trip down the motorway. I’ve tried and tried to sort myself out and get to grips with the driving for the sake of the children but, at the moment there’s a mental block there and I just can’t get past it. So instead of beat myself up about it any longer I’ve just come up with a way round it, which is that Carl drops us off somewhere on his way to work and then picks us up again at the end of the day. That’s right, a whole day, out in a forest with three children. Sometimes I’m on my own, and sometimes we have company, but either way we are outside until home time. And honestly I would much rather do that than have to drive a car.

The bag

I just have a cheap and cheerful Karimor backpack from sports direct. It is big enough for everything we need, it has lots of pockets for organisation and it’s comfortable to wear all day. I don’t know much about backpacks but it gets a thumbs up from me.

Art supplies

You never know when the mood might take you, so I always carry this brilliant travel watercolour set from Ikea along with some pencils and our sketch books. I like to encourage the children to paint something from nature that they’ve found and when we get home we can look it up and label their picture with some information about whatever it is they’ve found. It’s a nice activity to do when we need a rest from running around for a while.


I always carry an ’emergency book’ with me no matter where we are going, but when we go out for the day I like to take a good four or five. Recent favourites have been –

Why do leaves change colour?

A seed is sleepy

Children of the forest

It’s nice to still have our cuddly reading time, even when we’re outdoors for the day.


Obviously, we have the standard sandwiches in plastic bags. Satsumas are also a must have for our family and a packet of jammy dodgers has gotten me out of many stressful situations. It’s always good to have a secret packet of sweets stashed for those times when a little bit of bribery is needed to get those little feet moving in the right direction. Of course I also have a few bottles of water on me, for drinking and for painting.

First aid kit

Nothing too elaborate, just some plasters and bandages for emergencies. For myself I keep a box of migraine tablets in my backpack as well, because there would be nothing worse than being stuck with a migraine and no medication when you have three children to look after.


The children are usually in their all in one waterproof suits, but I pop a rolled up pair of waterproof trousers in my bag for myself too. That way I can pull them on and sit on the floor with them without getting a wet bottom.


Obviously I don’t go anywhere without nappies, wipes and hand sanitser. A bag to put rubbish in is another essential, otherwise things get messy fast! I also always have a charged power bank and cable for my iphone, just in case I drain my battery taking photos and can’t get in touch with Carl. Not that that’s ever happened to me of course….

Have I missed anything? What do you take with you on your family adventures?

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