Where’s Wildlife: Nature’s Version of Where’s Wally! (Post includes Linky) 

We have a wild patch in our garden. I love it because from a distance it doesn’t look like there is much there but the closer you get, the more you spot that there is actually an abundance of wildlife. So I decided to turn it into a 30 Days Wild activity; nature’s version of Where’s Wally? 

How many minibeasts can you spot in each of these photos? 

What about this one?

I was going to share some closer up pictures as part of this post, but I have just decided that on second thoughts, rather than give away the answers too quickly, I will post my close up photography in a separate post later! So look out for that coming soon!!! In the meantime, how many things have you spotted? Tell me in comments! 

Here is week three 30 Days Wild/ #LivingLifeWild linky,remember you can link up as many posts as you want! I will read and comment on them all 💚


Wildlife in Our Garden: Hedgehog Sighting

Early this morning, just after dawn, this little fella made his way across our garden and into our bushes. We have never seen a hedgehog in our garden before – infact I don’t think any of us have seen one in the wild ever full stop! SO excited!!!!

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This is Squiggle’s photo, she was thrilled to see him, she was the one who spotted him first!

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It would seem to be the day for spotting these adorable little creatures for the first time! Over on instagram, The World Is Their Classroom posted this…

It is so wonderful to see British wildlife making an appearance up and down the country! The Wildlife Trusts website has some useful information and fun activities about hedgehogs, including a handy PDF download too. Squiggle made a hedgehog hideaway today to encourage and protect our new friend!

DIY Seed Bombs – #30DaysWild

Squiggle and I made seed bombs, as a more unique way of planting the wild flower seeds we were sent from The Wildlife Trusts in our 30 Days Wild pack. It is a really simple, fun activity… and all you need is clay, soil and seeds! 

Firstly, get a small lump of clay and flatten it out.

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Next, put some soil on top…

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Then add some seeds on top…

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Mix it all together…

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Roll it into a ball…

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Now you have your own DIY seed bomb!

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Throw the seed bomb into your designated area to plant it! 

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If you don’t have any clay, alternatively you can also use flour instead. I tried this method by myself just out of interest. Begin by mixing the seeds into the soil. Then mix 1/3 flour with 2/3 soil/ seeds, using a small amount of water to make it ‘stick’, and roll into balls. 

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Have you ever made a seed bomb? If not, why not give it a try! 

#30DaysWild #LivingLifeWild

World Environment Day 2017 – Connecting People To Nature 

Today, 5th June 2017, is World Environment Day. The aim of this campaign is to connect people to nature. Of course, for those of us who are taking part in 30 Days Wild, this is something that we are already doing throughout this month anyway!

However, I would like to set everyone a challenge to do today. As suggested on the World Environment Day website, share a photograph of your favourite nature spot using hastags #WorldEnvironmentDay and #WithNature to celebrate this event. Let’s create the world’s biggest nature photo gallery!  

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There is also an excellent app – inaturalist– that is using photos to carry out citizen science research. So do consider sharing your photos with the online community there too; you can learn something new whilst also taking part in this important research.

Do you have your own event planned for World Environment Day today? I would love to hear about it, please share in comments!

#WorldEnvironmentDay #WithNature #30DaysWild #LivingLifeWild 

Nature Walk – #30DaysWild 

Squiggle and I regularly go on nature walks. Being situated in an urban location doesn’t mean we have to deprive ourselves of nature. Despite living on the outskirts of a city, we are lucky enough to have parkland and green spaces on our doorstep. Natural environment is essential to our wellbeing. I feel it is therefore important to take the time to appreciate the natural world around us – perhaps even more so because sometimes we have to actively seek it out. 

So we slow down, we pause to observe, we talk about what is around us, and use all our senses to explore. We emerse ourselves. That sense of wonder and curiosity that young children have, that excitement of a new discovery – find that within yourself again!

I love looking at things close up or from different perspectives. I also really enjoy taking photos, and I feel it helps me to do this. Some people say taking pictures distracts them from being in the moment, but I feel the opposite; photography helps me to connect further – deeper – and keeps me focused, in the moment for longer.

On that note, I’ll leave you with some photos from our latest nature walk the other day…

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And one from Squiggle too…

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Remember, you can link up your 30 Days Wild posts here, I love reading them!

And if you are stuck for inspiration, as well as looking at 30 Days Wild website or app, check out Grow Eat Gift‘s post with 30 brilliant wild ideas!

#30DaysWild #LivingLifeWild

AniMalcolm: Book Review

AniMalcolm is the latest children’s novel by comedian and author David Baddiel, who already has two previously published bestsellers; The Parent Agency and The Person Controller. It is aimed at ages 8 – 11 years old and is the perfect book for any child, especially animal lovers!

The story of AniMalcolm centres around a young boy called – you guessed it! – Malcolm. He comes from a family of animal lovers and has a house full of pets… but the problem is, he doesn’t like them. However, when he attends his Year Six school trip to a farm, Malcolm changes. In many ways. As the blurb says:

He learns what it’s really like to be an animal. A whole series of animals, in fact…

It does make him think differently. And speak differently. And eat differently. And, um, smell differently. But will he end up the same as before?

Because sometimes the hardest thing to become is… yourself!

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Behind the light-hearted humour and imaginative storyline that had us giggling out loud at times, there are hidden depths. The story teaches empathy and demonstrates beautifully how putting ourselves in someone else’s shoes can really change our perspective towards them. The down to earth writing style is wonderfully descriptive with quirky footnotes that really draws the reader fully into the story and keeps them right there throughout.

The story touches upon some insightful points like how one ‘traumatic’ incident in childhood can actually deeply affect how we feel about something and can cause a disconnect. It also highlights how understanding and empathy is essential in creating an emotional connection, which then fosters positive feelings and actions towards them. These underlying messages may not be explicit or obvious to children whilst reading the book necessarily but nonetheless it will help build the right foundations for them.

In conclusion: I adore this book!

AniMalcolm is available to purchase now in paperbook for £6.99 RRP. You can buy it via Amazon here (affiliate link).

*Disclosure: This is a sponsored post and I was sent the book for purpose of review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

How Well Do You Know Your Flowers? Take This Fun Quiz To Find Out!

With only a few days left until The Wildlife Trusts 30 Days Wild challenge begins, this is a great time to brush up on your knowledge of all things nature! Rattan Direct have created a fun (and educational!) quiz to find out how well you know different types of flowers. You can find it here:  Can You Guess The Flowers?

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I took the quiz by myself and to be perfectly honest, I was quite embarassed by my lack of flower knowledge! I know full well that identification is not my strong point, even though I love nature and spend alot of time outdoors I definitely still have much more to learn, but even so I had thought I might do abit better than I did! Oops!!! I did get a few right, although I admit they were mostly only educated guesses too really 😉

The quiz is very simple to complete and it only takes a short amount of time. The aim is to try to identify the flower by matching the name given in the question to the correct flower photo from four multiple choice answers. At the end of the quiz you then receive your results so you can see how well you did!

If you wanted to turn the quiz into even more of an educational activity, you could find out the names of the other flowers using an ID app or google to learn more information about the flowers. You could then extend this even further by going out for a nature walk to see how many of the flowers you can spot! This quiz would be great to do as one of the challenges for 30 Days Wild, or generally fun any other time too!

*Disclosure: This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Rattan Direct.

#LivingLifeWild – The Missing Link(y)!

So, as you may have noticed, I missed this month’s linky. May 1st came and went, and it just didn’t happen. I then kept meaning to write the post but everytime I thought about doing it, other stuff just seemed to get in the way. I think on reflection maybe somewhere in my subconscious I kept putting it off, or at least not prioritising it, because I felt a little frustrated that we actually hadn’t been outside in nature as much as usual, or as much as I would have liked. We had been pretty busy doing other stuff and I guess life had just got in the way.

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Earlier this month at Cassiobury Park, Hertfordshire

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It probably sounds silly, but I have been feeling really bad about the missing linky! I hate saying I will do something and then not see it through; I usually carry out whatever I commit to and like to be reliable. So if anyone was wondering why the linky didn’t happen this month, I am sorry!

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Anyway, as there are now only a few days left of May, I feel it is time to move on from the lack of linky this month and look forward to next month instead! Throughout June, The Wildlife Trusts hold their 30 Days Wild campaign to encourage people to get outside and closer to nature. We loved taking part in this last year and I am really looking forward to doing so again this year!

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If you haven’t signed up yet, it’s not too late to take part! You can still sign up to join the challenge here:

Get started!

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I’ll be posting about our challenges as often as possible – ideally daily, but I also do need to be realistic about it! I am also going to run a weekly #LivingLifeWild linky every Thursday throughout June – starting on 1st June – so that we can all help to inspire and motivate each other by sharing our posts.

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Even if you are not actually taking part in 30 days wild, I would still love to read your posts about outdoors, nature, wildlife and green living so please do stop by and add any related posts. You can also link up any posts from the last couple of months in the first linky too! I hope as many people as possible will take part in this, so please remember to tell everyone else about it as well! Thank you!

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#LivingLifeWild

Clever Tykes Storybooks: Inspiring Stories For Children 

Clever Tykes are wonderfully inspirational storybooks for children ages 6-9. They are the creation of husband and wife team Ben and Jodie Cook, who were recently listed in Forbes 30 under 30, for social entrepreneurs across Europe. The initiative is sponsored by Lloyds Banking Group, which has allowed these education storybooks and teaching resources to be available to UK primary schools completely free. There is a portal available where schools can sign up and access everything they need to teach enterprise education for key stage 2.

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The Clever Tykes stories are centred around entrepreneurship. The characters are fantastic positive role-models and the storylines also promote other important traits such as problem-solving, resiliance, positivity, persistence, innovation and playing to strengths or following a passion. The founders aim is to “help you inspire and empower your children to be the most creative and proactive young people they can be.”
 

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As an ex-teacher and now home educator, I think these books are absolutely brilliant! Everything about them resonates strongly with me, and I wholeheartedly agree with the founders’ values and thoughts behind these stories. As I read their website, I found myself constantly nodding along and thinking to myself ‘yes, this is so my thinking too!’ 

They want to “adopt a grass roots approach to inspiring innovative behaviour.” They go on to state: “As a society, we must demonstrate to young people that a challenging and rewarding career can be as an entrepreneur in a private venture, social enterprise or charity. We need to promote the right role models for our children to emulate.” Yes! This. 100% agree.

The books are very well written and provide awesome role-models who children can relate to, and encourage thinking outside the box and creativity. They genuinely empower children! They also cover a range of subjects; an excellent teaching resource in so many ways. 

My favourite story is Change-it Cho. I have fallen in love with this story to be honest! I love her demonstration of persistence, even in the face of adversity. It reminded me so much of the phrase ‘Nevertheless, she persisted’. It shows children how to stand up for what is right and not give up, or take no for an answer – in a good way, of course! It teaches children the traits that are necessary to thrive in today’s world. 

I can see these books have the potential to really help create a young generation of go-getters and change-makers! I seriously cannot recommend these stories enough. Parents and educators – check them out! 

*Disclosure: I was sent these books free in exchange for this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

100 Days of Home Ed #LoveHomeEd – Day 57 (Peanut Butter Fish Lessons)

5 Keys to Our Homeschooling Life

My name is Randi and I homeschool our two boys, ages 8 and 7.  We live in the southeastern United States and are just finishing up our third year of homeschooling.  We started homeschooling after our oldest son finished kindergarten and we realized he was not going to fit the mold that the public schools expected of him.  I did lots of research about different methods and styles of schooling when preparing for our first year of homeschool and throughout that year.  It took a little while to figure out what would work for us and we now use an eclectic method of homeschooling, combining some very structured curriculum with a variety of other methods.  Below are five areas that we consider key to our homeschooling.

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1: Living books

During my research I came across the Charlotte Mason method of teaching.  While I didn’t feel the whole method was a good match for my boys, I did like her idea of living books.  Living books are different than textbooks in that they pull the reader into the story and make the topic ‘come alive’.  We read many well-written biographies and historical fiction books, as well as a series of math living books.  While I read, the boys often color or draw.  Our favorites have been the Magic Tree house series, the Who Was or What Was collection, the I Survive series, An Interactive History Adventure series, and the Life of Fred collection of math books.  The Sir Cumference math series and Story of My World are on our list for next year! 

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Coloring in our North American Explorers coloring book

2: Multi-sensory learning

Multisensory learning simply means learning through more than one sense.  It is a technique that often helps children who have difficulty learning as it engages their brains in different ways.  When buying structured curriculum, I typically try to use programs that are multi-sensory.  For example, we use a reading program that is Orton-Gillingham based.  The activities teach reading through sight, sound, and touch.  We also use Montessori materials in learning our math skills, allowing the boys to learn through touch and sight while I give auditory input at times.

I try to incorporate multisensory activities when creating learning activities.  When we studied deserts, we made shoe box dioramas of deserts with the type of soil/sand one would find in a particular desert and models of the plants and animals.  We draw pictures of poems to help us visualize what the words are telling us.  I also create sorting mats with colored photographs as a hands on activity to learn how objects, plants, animals, etc. are classified.

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Math with Montessori materials

3: Field trips

Field trips are my favorite way to learn.  I personally love to get out of the classroom and now that we are nearing the end of our school year, I have started scheduling them for every Friday.  They reinforce what we have learned and introduce new topics to study.  For example, while hiking recently at a national battlefield, my oldest son started reviewing the different categories of rock and asking how minerals worked into the classification system.  Thank goodness I had a phone to google the information!  They allow us to learn information in a way, I cannot create in our classroom.  The boys remember the information better because they have experienced it instead of just hearing or reading about it.  Locally this year we have visited national battlefields and science, art and history museums.  Whenever we travel now, we work in learning experiences.  This year we scheduled a week long field trip to Washington DC and the Williamsburg, VA area, both rich in history.  We took advantage of art and science museums as there as well.  We hope to do more week long field trips in the future.

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Learning how to work with silver at Colonial Williamsburg

4: Nature study

One of my goals of homeschooling was for the boys (and myself) to become much more educated about our natural surroundings.  I find hiking calms my mind so we try to get outside as much as we can.  I have tried with varying degrees of success to incorporate daily walks into our routine and we go on longer hikes locally and on day or overnight trips when we can.  I have bought guide books to help us identify trees, rocks, clouds, birds, and other plants and animals.  We don’t pull those out as much as we would like to, though.  I have also bought some more structured books to help us learn specific nature topics, but they haven’t yet made it into our daily routine.  But thankfully, we have my phone to google the many questions that come up when we are outside.  And maybe this is all the structure to nature study that we need!

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Strawberry picking

5: Life Skills

We also try to use the increased time in our day and flexibility of homeschooling to make sure the boys are acquiring all the skills they will need as adults.  Together we work in the garden, grocery shop, and sometimes cook.  They received toolboxes this year and my husband is helping them learn how to fix items around the house, put furniture together, and do simple repairs on our cars.  They also perform a variety of chores.  Honestly, it would be easier to do the chores myself than take the time to coach them through doing them properly, but as I tell them, they most likely will not be able to afford a cleaning service when they leave home!

Putting a new desk together

Whenever we have a day or a week where I am questioning why it is that we homeschool, I come back to these five keys.  These bring joy to our schooling to offset those moments where maybe math or spelling has brought all of us to tears.  They keep us going and keep us bonded together as a family.

You can find more from Randi here:

www.peanutbutterfishlessons.com