Stay Wild- Virtual Flashmob: A Rainbow of Colours

30 Days Wild by The Wildlife Trusts just announced a virtual ‘flashmob’ to help us all stay wild! Run outside right now, do something ‘wild’ and take a photo or video clip then share it online. So I grabbed my phone, went into the garden and looked for a rainbow of colours…

It didn’t take long at all; there are so many colours in our natural environment, even just in a small garden. The only struggle was blue; the british ‘summer’ let me down abit there, as there was practically all cloud and no blue sky, so I tried to get the tiny glimmer of blue there was and failed! But a fun challenge nonetheless! #StayWild

Stay Wild: Den Building (and Yellow Meadow Ants!)

Squiggle specifically asked me to write this post, as she is very proud of her first attempt at building her own den and wanted to share her excitement!


Here is a video clip of her building the den…

She also collected sticks to make her Sylvanian Families their own den in the garden…

Under the bricks she moved to support her den, she found some yellow meadow ants, which we observed…

And Squiggle (very carefully of course!) held some too…

Another great day spent outdoors!

Stay Wild: Exploring Local Woodland

Today we decided to explore a local woodland that we have not visited before…

Some paths were really wild, but Squiggle navigated her way through the nettle paths like an expert.

Squiggle used a stick to help her down the steep slopes.


She explored a den someone had already built.


It was a lovely ‘wild’ walk! 

Stay Wild: Whale Wednesday Art Activity

Creating A Whale Print:

I recently purchased nature print paper for this activity, ordered from amazon here. It was smaller than I imagined but I was impressed with the quality, I felt it was very effective and worked really well.

Final edited version of my whale art using nature print paper

 

 

Firstly, draw a simple whale or print off a (copyright free) picture to use. Cut out the outline and any details to include.
Place the picture on a sheet of print paper, out of sunlight or strong artificial lighting. Put a piece of cardboard under the paper to support it and use cling film or clear plastic to keep the picture in place (I used a reusable plastic wallet).

Place in direct sunlight for approx 2-3 minutes until the paper turns a very light blue. Move into a shaded area or indoors and carefully remove the items from the paper.

Put the paper in plain water for one minute to set the picture.

As the paper dries the picture becomes clearer.

 

Here is my finished product…

This was a fun activity- I had a whale of a time! Happy #WhaleWednesday and remember to #StayWild everybody!

Stay Wild: The ‘Wild’Life Continues…

Well, 30 Days Wild may be over, but our outdoor adventures and love of nature certainly is not! ‘Stay Wild’ with The Wildlife Trusts and continue to share nature/ wildlife themed posts on social media using the hashtag #StayWild ~ it is lovely to see what other people are up to!

And here are some of our latest ‘wild’ activities…

Aldenham SEN playground has a lovely natural environment and some resident wild rabbits roaming around too!

 

Squiggle took this photo herself. I love it! I feel that taking part in 30 Days Wild has meant we both notice and appreciate our natural environment even more than before and has also really helped to develop our photography skills.

 

I don’t know what this is but I love it, it looks so magical!


We also spent time in the garden, harvesting some of our homegrown vegetables…

Squiggle found lots of snails in the garden, of various sizes…

And we went to Stanborough park for a walk around the lake…

30 Days Wild – Day 30: 7 Reasons To Love Nature

Wow, we have come to the final day of 30 Days Wild! So to mark the end, today I thought I would write about why it is great to spend so much time outdoors in nature.

There are so many reasons to love nature! Here are my top 7…

💚
1. Good for the mind: Being outdoors in a natural environment helps our mental health. It reduces anxiety and depression, and generally decreases our stress levels (which brings me nicely onto reason two…)

2. Good for the body: Being outside has physical health benefits. The fresh air is great for our bodies, being outside helps us dose up on much needed vitamin D, walking boosts fitness levels, outdoor activities builds our immune system whilst also improving our sleep, and even our eyesight!

3. Good for the soul: Being in nature encourages organic mindfulness and meditation, which helps us to feel calm, relaxed and happy. Feeling connected to nature and the earth increases empathy for others and helps us to gain inner peace.

4. Sensory activities: Our natural environment offers great sensory input that helps to intergrate our senses and align our central nervous system. This helps us feel more balanced.

5. Helps to develop essential skills needed to learn: Time spent outdoors helps with cognitive thinking, problem solving, attention span and focus.

6. Provides learning opportunities: Being in nature means exploration and real-life firsthand experiences! It leads to many discussions about nature, our environment, the world around us, sustainability, and being a responsible global citizen.

7. Last but not least, nature inspires us and sparks creativity!

💚💚💚
And here are some examples of such inspiration and creativity from Squiggle today…

Squiggle designed a nature game. Take it in turns to roll the dice and move around the board. First to get all the way round is the winner. If someone lands on a challenge square and completes it, that person gets another turn.

These are the player pieces to move around the board…

She also made up a song about nature (I put together the video quickly to match the lyrics, just so I could share the voice recording)…

Stay wild, everyone! 💚

30 Days Wild- Day 29: International Mud Day

Today is International Mud Day, which is a great one to link up with 30 Days Wild! 
Mud bath, anyone?


Mud has so many wonderful benefits.  It has properties that help us to feel relaxed and happy, even smarter! It connects us to the earth and is a fantastic sensory activity. It is also great for the skin! 

Happy bathing! 

30 Days Wild – Day 28: Quiet Reflection on the Beauty of Nature

“If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere.” ~ Vincent van Gogh

I haven’t had much time outside in nature today, but I do love how my phone is filled up with so many nature photos now. It is so lovely and relaxing to sit looking through them, like I have been doing this evening.

Also, I spotted a beetle earlier this morning in our cloakroom. When I tried to slide it onto a piece of paper, to take it outside, it suddenly jumped high in the air- it really surprised me! I gather it was a click beetle, I think? I read up on it- and what a funny, clever little thing it is!

I saw great beauty in the clever design of this defence reaction. It really got me thinking about how the beauty in nature (and all living beings) comes in so many different forms.

The Beauty in Nature Comes in Many Forms

The intricate detail on the wings of a fly,

The bright colours of the wildflowers,

The clever defense of a click beetle,

The raindrops on a spider web glimmering in the morning light.

The graceful flutter of a butterfly,

The songs sung by the birds up high, 

The softness of a furry lamb’s ear, 

The transformation of lavae to ladybird, tadpole to frog and caterpillar to butterfly.

The busy bee collecting pollen,

The damselfly by the water,

The rain on my skin,

The assortment of slugs and snails after the rain, making their trails as they slither along.

The bat in the night sky,

The long grasses where we run so free,

The edible fungus in a sea of bluebells,

The wonder of our ocean that connects us all- and the creatures that live there, great and small.

It holds such beauty, our wonderful world, in a million forms, everyday. It is up to us to keep it that way.

30 Days Wild – Day 27: Identification Challenge

As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, I found identifying wildflowers and other flora really challenging, much more difficult than I thought it would be! Thanks to members of the 30 Days Wild group and some other friends who helped me and shared their knowledge.

image

1. Bluebell seed heads- When the flowers die, green seed pods are formed. By July these will be dry and brown and full of small black seeds. The seeds may take 5 years to develop into a mature flowering bulb.

2. Sheep’s sorrel (rumex)- This is edible with a sharp lemon taste.

3. Statchys- Nicknamed lamb’s ears because it is soft and furry. My daughter loved the feel of these, and bees love them!

4. Red leaved cherry tree- I don’t know if these are edible or not!

5. These red ‘eggs’ are caused by parasites (mites?) inside the field maple leaf so the leaf reacts by producing a growth.

6. Blackberry brambles- I look forward to some foraging when they fruit, yummy!

7. Gorse bush- The seed heads explode when ripe so that the seeds spread widely. It also has yellow flowers that smell like coconuts!

8. Chicken of the wood- This edible fungus tastes like chicken, hence the name.

9. Cow parsley- Short lived but very common, it can be found spreading wildly along roadsides, meadows, woods and other places in early summer.

I am going to make a simple identification chart for Squiggle to use to find out the names herself and I will also use these pictures/ descriptions to make a matching game for her too.