Spring has Sprung and it is time to Go Wild with the Kids
It never ceases to amaze me how few people there are walking through the small conservation area near my home. Located in a largely urban area with few green spaces, you would think that this small oasis of calm would be of enormous appeal but it clearly isn’t. Just this week I walked for almost a mile before I encountered another person!
Now that spring had sprung and nature is waking up, it is important to get youngsters engaged with the natural world. Not only will they get some valuable exercise and work off their excess energy, kids can also learn about the UK’s native birds, animals and plants whilst having great fun. Many parks are free to visit and you don’t need to do very much to turn a walk in the park into a big adventure.
There are several approaches that you can adopt to keep the kids entertained and to spark an interest in nature.
Kids love searching for things and conducting investigations. Create a list of wild birds, plants and animals for them to spot and let them loose in the park to see which species they can find and check off their lists. A quick search online will reveal the species to include and you can add pictures to your list so that the kids know what they are searching for. If you want to ensure that they are paying attention, offer a prize for anyone who manages to find every species.
Adults and kids alike will have enormous fun taking part in a treasure hunt. You can produce your own game quite easily. This could be just a list of items to find and collect or you could make the activity more interesting by featuring riddles to solve. A nature based treasure hunt provides hours of fun for children of all ages as they search for pine cones, feathers and leaves.
I will never forget a treasure hunt I took part in in which I had to find a variety of things including a picture of the Duke of Wellington and a needle. It took me ages to realise that I didn’t need a sewing shop for the needle because there were pine needles in the local wood and that a picture of the famous Duke featured on the £5 note at the time!
Children always enjoy drawing and painting. Why not take the pencils and paints outside and ask them to paint or sketch the birds and animals that they see? It’s a great excuse for a picnic and the youngsters will enjoy searching for the animals to paint. Collages are also fabulous fun and can be made by collecting a variety of leaves to dry, press and arrange.
You could set youngsters the challenge of photographing the birds, plants and animals that they see. The images can be used to create digital albums and you could offer prizes for the best pictures. You never know, there might be a talented photographer in the family.