Spring has sprung and there’s nothing nicer than getting out and about with the kids. This week the boy is off school for Easter and we’ve been making the most of the fresh air and sunshine by visiting the local parks and nature reserves. Yesterday we met a couple of his friends for a Spring scavenger hunt in a local park, it was just the thing to keep them engaged and occupied for an hour and they all did really well.
We live by the river and walk the dog down there most days. By the river is a nature reserve and we often see lots of different birds, insects and plants. I’ve tried to keep the Spring Scavenger Hunt quite generic, so you should be able to find most of the bugs, birds and plants in your local park.
I have left room on the printable for children to make notes too. If they spot anything different or noteworthy, they can write all about what they’ve seen in the notes section.
While we were out on our walk we spotted a few things which weren’t on the list. We spotted a couple of bees, some different spring flowers, an assortment of birds and (as this was an urban park) dog poo with sweetcorn in it. I was both grossed out and secretly pleased by their observational skills. We also learned an important lesson about looking where we were putting our feet if we are walking in long grass.
Whatever you do over Easter, whether you’re walking in the park; pond dipping in a nature reserve or walking the dog on the beach; make sure you stay safe. Keep your eyes peeled for all the wonders of nature and watch there you put your feet!
AD/Gifted. The boy and I love our after school craft sessions. We try to craft and create together at least once a week. Sometimes I do struggle to come up with something new to do with him, but this week we received a Willow and Wild Box full of crafts, recipes, gardening and outdoor activities to enjoy together.
The Willow and Wild Box is a monthly subscription box designed for 3 – 8 year olds. It’s packed full of gardening, craft, cooking and outdoor activities and it’s delivered straight to your door. Every box is inspired by nature, with the aim of getting children exploring the outdoors and learning about how things grow, the changing seasons, healthy eating, and life-cycles.
Willow and Wild offer two types of subscriptions, the ‘Letterbox’ subscription and a ‘Bumper Box’. The boxes include at least two craft projects, vegetable and flower seeds with step by step planting and growing instructions; an outdoor activity, a recipe card and much more! If you don’t have a garden, that’s no problem either, all the seeds they send can be grown in containers, or on a windowsill. The bumper boxes include a selection of extra craft and growing activities.
They offer four different subscription terms, 3 months (£27 for 3 months, £9 per box), 6 months (£51 for 3 months, £8.50 per box) and 12 months (£87 for 3 months, £7.25 per box), as well as the month by month box which costs £9.75. Obviously the longer your subscription, the better value the boxes are.
We received the April box which was packed with things to do. In the box was a range of nature based activities…
Make an owl mask
Fascinating Owl facts
Make a leaf and flower mask
Make a nature peg doll
Go on a woodland walk spotter for your nature journal
Ideas for games to play in the woods
Spot the difference
Woodland word search puzzle
Bird and egg identification
Tomato and Nasturtium seeds
Tomato sauce and tomato pizza recipe cards
Although my son was at the upper end of the age range these boxes are aimed at, he really loved getting his own personalised post. The box was small enough to slip through your average letterbox, so I was not expecting it to contain as much as it did do.
We went through the box and decided to get cracking with the crafts, exploring the garden, we found a selection of leaves to decorate the peg doll and masks. We had a happy hour sat at the kitchen table quietly making some nature crafts from the Willow and Wild box.
There is lots in the box to entertain. If you can sit down and properly go through the box when it arrives and plan to do different activities on different days, you’ll get lots out of it. The Willow and Wild box is a great starting point if you’re wanting to incorporate more nature activities into your week. The boxes contain everything you need, so they would be ideal for taking with you on weekends away.
We really liked our Willow and Wild Box; it’s just the thing if you’re in need of a bit of inspiration. The box is small, but really packed with a good variety of things to do. This would make a lovely gift for a creative child. It’s age appropriate; my 8 year old got an awful lot out of it and would very much like a subscription, we will have to see what the birthday fairy brings!
Last month we reviewed a beautiful book called Hedgehogs Don’t Live in the City. Today we are taking a look at the follow up to that book – Parrots Don’t Live in the City.
Parrots Don’t Live in the City is another lovely book by Lucy Reynolds and illustrated by Jenna Herman. Emily and Jack go on a walk on a summers day. Jack spied a bright green parrot, but Emily is insistent that parrots don’t live in the city, they live in the jungle. But is that really true?
Just like Hedgehogs Don’t Live in the City, this is a gorgeous nature trail of a book, with lots of wildlife tucked away on each page to spot. The pages are alive with colours; with brightly coloured leaves swirling and kites flying. As well as native birds and animals, the book also had jungle and zoo animals to spot. There are parrots hidden on virtually every page, can you spot them all?
The words are wonderfully rhythmic, in a style I’ve come to expect from this author. They’re gloriously descriptive and a real joy to read out loud;
“So next time you’re out
in the park for a walk,
look up in the trees and
listen out for a squawk.”
Towards the back of the book there are pages of parrot facts. We have a flock, or more accurately, a pandemonium of parrots who live in the park near our house. They fly over our garden and roost in the trees opposite; this is a lovely book for learning a little more about these exotic interlopers.
Parrots Don’t Live in the City is suitable for ages 4-8. It is a lovely read, with lots of gorgeous illustrations to explore too. It’s such a lovely book to read out loud, both for adults and children.
A Parrots Don’t Live in the City by Lucy Reynolds costs £7.99 in paperback. It is published by Doodles & Scribbles and it is available from a wide range of bookshops and to order directly from Doodles & Scribbles.
Disclosure: We were sent a copy of Parrots Don’t Live in the City for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.
Hedgehogs Don’t Live in the City is a lovely book by Lucy Reynolds and illustrated by Jenna Herman. It’s about a brother and sister, Archie and Grace, who go on an autumnal walk and discover a little family of hedgehogs.
Hedgehogs Don’t Live in the City is a gorgeous nature trail of a book, with lots of wildlife tucked away on each page to spot. The pages are alive with autumnal colours, with brightly coloured leaves littering the book. The children and the buildings are somewhat grayer, and all the natural things are as colourful as nature allows.
The words are the understated star of this book. They’re gloriously descriptive; whipping winds, pounding footsteps and dancing leaves. Hedgehogs Don’t Live in the City really draws you in and you can almost smell the mellow fruitfulness of autumn.
Towards the back of the book there are pages of hedgehog facts and pages about how you can help hedgehogs in your own garden. I find hedgehogs are well-loved little creatures and children really enjoy reading and learning all about them. This is a lovely book to give to a little one who loves hedgehogs and nature.
Hedgehogs Don’t Live in the City is suitable for ages 4-8. It is a lovely autumnal read and probably a great accompaniment to a nature trail too. The illustrations are beautiful, but for me, it’s a real joy of a book to read out loud, both for me and my son.
A Hedgehogs Don’t Live in the City by Lucy Reynolds costs £7.99 in paperback. It is published by Doodles & Scribbles and it is available from a wide range of bookshops and to order directly from Doodles & Scribbles.
We are really into scavenger hunts at the moment. It’s a great way to spend some time exploring and learning about what’s around you. A few weeks ago we did a summer scavenger hunt in our local park and as we’re visiting the beach this week I thought I’d put together a seashore scavenger hunt to see what we can find on the beach.
We do love beachcombing and I’m a keen collector of sea glass, so beach combing is something we all enjoy. Last year the boy went rockpooling with the National Trust and found lots of interesting creatures in the rock pools of North Devon.
I’ve included a wide variety of things you can find on the beach in our seashore scavenger hunt. You might not be able to find them all, especially the slightly rarer things like sea glass and mermaid’s purses, but it’s worth taking a look to see what you can find. If you want to find out more about mermaid’s purses, they have lots of child-friendly information on The Shark Trust website.
When it comes to sea glass, don’t pick any up that has got sharp edges, that’s just glass. Sea glass should look round and smooth like a coloured pebble; it’s a very special thing to find on the beach, but do be careful.
I’ve left some room for you to make any notes about what you might find on the beach. Doing a seashore scavenger hunt is a great way to start conversations with your child about nature and what kinds of things you can find on the seashore. Why not take along a net and a bucket and see what creatures you can find in a rockpool. How many different kinds of shell can you find and what creatures lived in them?
I always like to do a little bit of a 2 minute beach clean when I visit the beach. It’s easy to pick up the litter I find to put in the bin or recycle at home. It all helps to keep our beaches tidy and some litter out of the oceans.
The summer holidays are well and truly here. The kids have broken up from school and they’re taking a good deal of entertaining. One of our favourite things to do is to pack a picnic and head to the local park. It’s always good to have an activity to do to keep the kids engaged and entertained, so I’ve come up with this Summer Scavenger Hunt which should have them running about, exploring and learning more about nature.
We live by the river and walk the dog down there most days. By the river is a nature reserve and we often see lots of different birds, insects and plants. I’ve tried to keep the Summer Scavenger Hunt quite generic, so you should be able to find most of the bugs, birds and plants in your local park.
I have left room for children to make notes too. You might want to ask them some questions about what they find too. Here are a few to get you started –
How many spots does a ladybird have? There are 46 different types in the UK, but only 26 look like a classic red and black spotted ladybird we all love. Most common ladybirds have 2 spots, 7 spots or 10 spots.
What is a dandelion clock? A dandelion clock is the downy spherical seed head of a dandelion. When we blow the seeds off the clock we make a wish, but other people count the number of puffs it takes to blow off all the seeds, which tells you the time, in theory!
How strong are ants? Ants can lift up to anywhere from 20 to 100 times their own weight, depending on the species of ant.
Why does a bee die after it stings you? Honey bees are the only bees to die after stinging. When a honey bee stings a person or an animal, it cannot pull its sting out and it leaves behind not only the sting, but part of its abdomen and digestive tract. This then kills the honey bee.
Look out for more of our Scavenger Hunt Activity sheets over the next few months, you never know what mini beasts, plants or critters you may encounter!
Living on the edge of the city, near the river and close to a wildlife and nature reserve we are very in touch with nature and our garden is visited daily by a diverse range of garden birds. At night I can hear the owls hooting in the trees near our house and we sometimes spot some of the bright green wild parakeets who live nearby.
As we’ve worked on our garden over the years, we’ve planted things which will encourage bees, butterflies and other insects into our garden, and we’ve build a bird table and hung up bird feeders to help them out over the winter months.
We like to feel like we’re doing our bit for local wildlife and in return they’re giving us something to watch and talk about when they visit our garden. If you’ve got space for a feeder, they will reward you time and time again when they visit, plus it’s great for kids to watch and learn with you.
Boxwild sell wildlife and bird gift boxes containing high quality seasonal seed blends and a range of goodies to attract wildlife into your garden. They currently have three gift options choose from two different gift subscription boxes which are available monthly, quarterly or in 6 monthly packages, or choose to send a single gift box. These wildlife subscription boxes make the perfect gift for bird lover.
The Bird Gift Box is jam packed with three blends of Boxwild’s bird or wildlife seed and goodies such as a feeder or habitat, plant seeds or special Boxwild gift. This box is ideal for bird and wildlife lovers.
The Boxwild Bird Seed Gift Box contains three specially blended, seasonal seed mixes to attract a range of birds into your garden. Choose the monthly subscription and each month they will select three seed blends to give your birds optimal nutrition for the season.
Boxwild have partnered with the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust and Butterfly Conservation and for every box sold, Boxwild donate to these charities.
Visit the Boxwild website for more information or to order.