30 Days Wild- Nature and Art for Kids

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Yesterday’s 30 Days Wild found me strolling around one of my favourite places, the National Trust’s Anglesey Abbey, which luckily for me is just up the road. Normally I go just to have a wander and an explore but yesterday I had a purpose. I was feeling creative and wanted to have a think about the role of nature in art, especially with children. I am a huge believer in helping children see the links in the world and I think linking art and nature is a wonderful start. Not only does it help the children be creative but it also gives them an opportunity to observe nature in a bit more detail and from a different perspective.

As I was exploring I came with these handy ideas for getting children to think about art in nature.

Explore texture/ colour / shape

Once I started looking for interesting textures, colours and shapes in the nature of Anglesey I couldn’t stop finding some gems. I even filled up my SD card with pictures! Getting children to photograph what they see would be a great way for the children to observe the nature around them. You could get them to focus on finding different shapes in nature of different colours of the rainbow? Depending on the age of the child you could give them a range of different things to look for that use their senses. These photos could then be used back home to generate their own art work using different textures. Have a look at some of the photos below for some starter ideas.

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Look at the smoothness of this bark. It just calls out to be looked at and remarked upon. Whenever I wander around Anglesey I always happen upon someone remarking on its smoothness and colour!

These pictures would be good for looking at patterns in the world around you. These patterns could then be recreated back home. Warning- pattern spotting can be quite addicting!

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You can’t beat Spring and Summer for a lovely bit of colour! (ok, ok Autumn and Winter has some beautiful colour as well!) This would inspire me to do a bit of colour mixing to try and recreate some of these stunning colours. This would also be an ideal opportunity to find out what difference it would make if you used different paints and materials. How can you create different strengths in colour?

Sketching

You don’t have to have all the art fun at home! Get the kids to take their sketchbook with them and do some on location sketching. This would also be a great task for their nature journals!

Come back later in the month when I will share some more creative ideas for combining art and nature! Have a great day!

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30 Days Wild Day 1- Close to Home

 

Happy 1st June! The internet is ablaze with people sharing their Day 1 #30DaysWild adventures. I have loved seeing what everyone has got up to for Day 1. So here is my first update!

At Home- Close to Home

The past few months have been busy and as such I have barely got into the garden. So this afternoon I took the time to potter about and see some of the colour that has recently erupted. I find I rarely take photos of the garden and so I thought it would be an ideal chance to appreciate and remember what we have close to home. And that is the wonderful thing about #30DaysWild, you can explore and be wild as far or as close to home as you want. There is plenty to see in your local area!

At School- It is half term so I used my time in school to get some jobs on my to do list done as well as making a start on our Nature Table. I would love to have this up year round but I just don’t have the room in the classroom I have this year so I have had a bit of a move around and now have some space for the month of June. I will post some pictures when it is finished! I can’t wait for the kids to arrive back on Monday and for us to start our class 30 Days Wild!

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Are you taking part this year? If so please leave me a comment below and let me know what you have got up to! I can’t wait to hear!

Letterbox Lab- The Interview

Over recent weeks I have been very excited to hear about Letterbox Lab, a fab new subscription box for kids to get them enthused about Science! Today I am lucky enough to share an interview with the folks behind Letterbox Lab and if you come back later in the week I will be sharing the contents of the first box I have received from them. Excited? Yes! But for now let’s find out a little bit more about Letterbox Lab!

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How did Letterbox Lab begin and why?

When Bryan and I got married we decided to jet off and see some more of the world. We used our experience working in science centres to offer training and consultancy in the Czech Republic and Norway, then spent a few months as teachers for the children of an indigenous tribe in Malaysia. We had a lot of time to think during our nine months abroad, mostly about the various challenges that prevent families from engaging with science such as accessibility of information and equipment, cost and perceived lack of convenience. We used whatever equipment we could find in our tiny village to run engaging science lessons in Malaysia, and realised that we had the skills to make science accessible to pretty much anyone, regardless of their background or facilities. We came home and dreamed up Letterbox Lab – the ultimate way to make the most fun and engaging science easy to play with, for anyone!

What got you into Science?

I don’t remember a time when I didn’t like science – I was always fiddling about with experiments and projects as a child. The only thing holding me back from science when I was in secondary school was the notion that it wasn’t a creative subject – I’ve always been quite artistic and theatrical and didn’t want to do something purely logical. I had a very inspiring physics teacher for my GCSEs who helped me realise that science is actually a highly creative endeavour that requires huge dollops of imagination. That realisation was what swung the scale for me, and I’ve never looked back!

What is your favourite piece of science equipment?

Difficult one! It depends what you’re trying to find out. I love space, so telescopes are high on my list – they give us the most fantastic images from incredible distances. On the other end of the scale but a similar vein, the images you get from microscopes – even quite weak ones – are stunning and reveal so many secrets about nature.

Who are you inspired by in Science?

People who inspire me with anything are those who can talk about their subject with passion and conviction. David Attenborough, and the bigwigs of science communication in the US – Neil deGrasse Tyson, Bill Nye and Steve Spangler among others – have always been inspirations to me because enthusiasm oozes straight out of them. They draw you in and make you care about things you might never have even thought about before.

What advice do you have for any kids wanting to get into science?

Always relish the times you are wrong and take pleasure in not knowing things. These are the times when we make the most exciting discoveries! The greatest scientists in history were confident voicing ideas that at the time were completely against common thinking, and today they are celebrated for it. Don’t be afraid to be wrong, be prepared to learn from the times when you are wrong, and question everything.

 

Thank you so much to Mia for answering these questions for the Daylight Explorers! Come back soon for details about my box.

Kelly

Disclaimer- I purchased my box with my own money and all comments and views are my own!

Mr and Mrs and Baby Makes Three

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I am really excited to announce that the Daylight Explorer household is expanding by one in September. The Mr and I are really pleased to announce that we are going to have a baby! The excitement in the Daylight Explorer house is high and I am already making plans for all the exploring we will do as a family. Life at the moment is balancing work with reading as many baby books as possible and spending far too much time on Pinterest! But hey, what’s different there!?

From Mrs DE and Bump

xx

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!

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.