5 Ideas for Getting Kids Involved with Nature this Easter Holiday

5 Things Easter (2)1.Have an Easter Nature Hunt! We all know about the traditional Easter Egg Hunt but try a twist on this tradition. Instead you could focus on finding different insects or maybe looking for the signs of Spring. The possibilities are endless and could create lots of fun for the little ones (and grown ups!) in your life.

2. Find yourself a copy of Outdoor Wonderland by Josie Jeffery and Alice Lickens. This is a fantastic guide for kids to being outside. It is packed full of activities that can keep the whole family entertained. I love the wide variety of ideas on offer from Eco Art to ideas for windy and rainy days.

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3. Make a Field Journal. I have always been a huge fan of journaling and I am keen to find as many ways as possible to get kids involved. A Field Journal (Nature Journal) is a perfect way to get kids out there observing nature. You could even create a family journal! This great video from SciShow Kids is a perfect way to introduce kids to the idea of a Field Journal.

4. Geocaching! You don’t need a GPS device, you can get started with your mobile phone! I love Geocaching as it fits in with my love of exploring. Check out this blog post from Family Sponge for more about Geocaching with kids!

5. Check out the Daylight Explorers Nature and Wildlife Pinterest Board for a wide variety of ideas for crafts, journaling and other nature related ideas. But most importantly enjoy spreading love and appreciation for nature!

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30 Days Wild- Days 1-12

Hello! How are you on this lovely Sunday evening? I have been sharing my #30DaysWild adventures on Instagram and Twitter (take a look here and here) but thought I would do a little round up on my blog.

I am absolutely loving #30DaysWild this year and have really enjoyed all the social media sharing that has been happening, especially on Twitter and Instagram! The first week of June was half term and so I was ‘wilding’ it all on my own. However Monday we went back to school and boy did I make the most of it with my class (armed with my super duper teacher pack!)

 

I devoted nearly the whole day to a nature themed lessons, in Literacy we made nature journals and then carried out an A to Z of nature in our school. Maths was a lesson on measurement which was actually taken from the Wildlife Trust resources. On Tuesday I took my class to Hunstanton and we had great fun sharing #30DaysWild on the beach as well as exploring nature by the seaside.

The children are really enjoying our experiences and next week I am going to be heading out into the KS1 and KS2 playgrounds to do some activities at lunchtime with the children. I can’t wait and will definitely share here some of the things we got up to!

 

30 Days Wild 2016

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It’s nearly June, it’s nearly June! And that means it is finally 30 Days Wild Time!

I blogged last year about the background behind 30 Days Wild (I will wait patiently whilst you go and check out the link here which includes a squirrel with a light sabre! Back? Good, I will carry on) and I am so pleased to be taking part again. I will be blogging here and sharing some of the #30DaysWild activities I get up to with my class. Excitingly we will also be blogging on my school blog as well:)

I love these words from the Wildlife Trust,

Feel happier, healthier and more connected to nature by doing something wild every day for thirty days this June.

No matter where you live – from an urban jungle to a windswept mountain – wildlife and wild places are all around, waiting to be discovered by you.”

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Are you ready to discover the wild around you this June? Head on over to the Wildlife Trust to find out more!

 

 

Twilight at the Museums- The Volunteer Experience

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This Daylight Explorer adores museums. So imagine my excitement when I saw a tweet from the University of Cambridge Museums asking for volunteers for their annual Twilight at the Museums event. I sent off an email, including a form containing my expression of interest, and got invited to a briefing at the Fitzwilliam along with all the other lovely volunteers. The turnout was great and we were given a brief talk by Susan Miller the Events Administrator for the University of Cambridge Museums. Here Susan gave us a bit of background to the event as well as some information that would be useful for the night. It was also lovely to get the opportunity to talk to other volunteers about how they heard about the event and their backgrounds. At the end of the briefing we were asked to indicate the preferred areas we would like to be placed. As I spend a lot of time at the Fitzwilliam, the MAA and the Botanical Gardens they were my top choices and I was delighted to receive an email a few days later asking me to volunteer at the Botanical Gardens! At all stages of the process the communication was superb and very clear.

In the week preceding the event I got an email from Sally Lee, the Education Officer for the Cambridge University Botanical Gardens, containing all the need to know information for the evening. Armed with a schedule and some handy background notes I counted down the days until the big event! The big day dawned and the evening arrived with…rain! At this point I was really pleased to be inside the glasshouses! Sally and the team at the Botanical Gardens had made the glasshouses look absolutely spectacular and I felt thrilled to be part of the evening. All the staff and volunteers were so friendly and the teacher in me was thrilled to receive a glow in the dark name badge! Yes it is the simple things! Here I have to also pause to say how wonderful the staff (and the volunteers who dressed up) looked as Victorian plant hunters. They made a superb effort and it really added to the atmosphere. I now have a hankering for copying the look myself…

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Visitors had been given a lovely card illustrated with a glasshouse to use to collect stamps as they hunted for different plants around the glasshouses.

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My first station was in the Oceanic Glasshouse to help guide the intrepid plant hunters find the Aeonium plant. I enjoyed sharing the facts I knew about the plant (e.g. it was from the Canary Islands) and lots of people were really interested in the rosette of overlapping leaves that really made it a striking plant to look at. After my shift of a few hours (including a quick break of coffee and biscuits, thanks Sally!) I bid farewell to the Aeonium and went off to my next post in the Arid Lands glasshouse and the Agave Salmiana. I actually ended up with a clipboard, chatting to people and taking email addresses so the Gardens could get feedback from people in the future. It was absolutely wonderful talking to people and I had so many interesting conversations. Everyone had had a wonderful evening and I felt very proud to have played a small part.

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So my experience as a volunteer is over but I have two things to end with.

  1. If you haven’t been to Twilight at the Museums as a visitor please go! All the different museums have so much to offer and it really is wonderful to see them with a different perspective!
  2. If you had been thinking of volunteering and weren’t sure, go for it! The team made the whole process so smooth from beginning to end and it will be something that stays with me for a long time. I will definitely be putting my name forward again next year!

I believe wholeheartedly in museums and what they can offer the young and old alike. Seeing people of all ages and from all backgrounds engaging with the museums as they did on Wednesday was wonderful to see and events like this help inspire the younger generation to visit these wonderful places on our doorstep.

History Fun Day- Wandlebury

As a former history undergraduate I am a bit of a history geek. I think this stems from my love of stories and I remember at school being captivated by the past and the stories we were told. So when I saw that Wandlebury were holding a History Fun Day I just couldn’t resist visiting. In this blog post I shared a little bit about what makes Wandlebury special for families and schools and events like this add wonderfully to what they do.

I arrived to find the car park bustling with activity and took a slow walk to the main Iron Age themed event. A quick snack of cake and coffee and I was ready for some daylight exploring! There was a wide array of activities on offer including bushcraft, weapon and shield making, story telling, cooking and a variety of crafts. I was also interested to see some bee keeping information as well. I dragged myself away from the bees (promising myself one day I would live somewhere I could keep bees!) and continued to look around.

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The staff and volunteers I spoke to were warm and welcoming and all the families I saw and spoke to were having great fun! A huge thank you to these little hands and their mum who let me take a picture of them hard at work!

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After I had explored the history activities I then decided to go for a walk. I am a huge walking fan and relish any chance to get out and about. As I walked and enjoyed the nature surrounding me I stumbled across a mum and daughter following a history trail that had been set up around the site.

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Listening to their shared conversation warmed my heart and I really wanted to tag along to hear the rest of their fascinating conversations about history. And this is the thing, whether it is at Wandlebury or a site near where you live you will find so much to explore and discuss with the kids as well as getting some fresh air and exercise!

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Wandlebury hold regular events and they have some Halloween and half term events coming up! Check out the website here for more information!

Do you have anywhere recommended places for history lovers to visit? If so please leave a comment below!

Belton House Garden Fete

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Belton House in Lincolnshire is a fairly new National Trust property to me and I have been enjoying visiting and exploring what it has to offer. Belton House is a country house estate built in the 1680s and set in a 1300 acre deer park. There are beautiful gardens, an adventure playground, a lake and an orangery to explore but what drew me recently was a garden fete they held reminiscent of the ones from a hundred years ago to support the war effort. I booked a weekend with my dear mum and off we went, back in time to the days of Lord and Lady Brownlow who hosted fetes to raise funds for the war effort.

The weather was glorious and the staff, as usual, polite, friendly and informative. The fete was held in a small part of the front lawn. There was plenty of fun to be had by all including traditional games like tug of war, hoop rolling and quoits as well as refreshments and live music from the lovely Miss Marina Mae.

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We sat in the sun and enjoyed the atmosphere and I may have partaken in a candy floss treat! We then walked over to watch some horseback displays and a History Revisited training camp.

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There was lots to see and do and people were soaking in the sun. After that we walked around the grounds and made a visit to the orangery and the gardens to see what was in bloom.

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Continuing through the estate to the lake (which we had not visited previously) we discovered the lake and boathouse and I held secret dreams of a summer writing retreat!

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This visit was in a personal capacity but as I walked around I couldn’t help but think of the learning opportunities also present. Not only a wonderful place for kids and their families to visit it would also be a great place for classes to visit too. There are plenty of objects in the collections to help meet curriculum needs and Belton House also have a handy set of Numeracy Trails already prepared. Check out the lower KS2 one here! For even more ideas check out their learning pages here.

Belton House has lots more going on through the year. Have you ever visited? What is your favourite National Trust property to visit?