Nature on Our Doorstep #51-60

14th May 2020

During the current crisis, we’re unable to run our outdoor programmes, but know that connecting with nature and the changing seasons is important and helps us all feel good.  As most schools remain closed and families stay at home, Get Out More is sharing on social media a fun nature-based idea-a-day for children and families to try together at home or in the garden.

Please follow the latest advice: stay at home as much as possible.  When you go out for exercise keep your distance from other people and avoid busy places like  playgrounds.


Clay!  Clay is a great craft resource and good great value packs that require air drying only can be found online. Your children might like to try a clay face on a tree, invent an animal, or they could make a pot to keep nature treasure in and use leaves to create relief prints on the outside. You can make ornaments with this method as well, punching a hole in the top, allowing to dry, and then threading with ribbon.


Create a creepy-crawly trap!  This is an easy activity that involves burying a container level with the soil. This creates a little trap for creepy crawlies to fall into. You could use an empty yoghurt pot, the bottom of a bottle – any plastic container will do, we used a plastic grape punnet. Leave it a couple of hours then go back and see what you find! Remember to release any insects once you’ve had a look so they can carry on with their day.


Stick towers!  Challenge: How high can you build your stick structure? Great for younger kids and for developing fine and gross motor skills. Start with the biggest sticks at the bottom and work your way up – simple! Have a family competition to see who can make the tallest tower


Tree drumming!  Turn your hands to music today! Can you find something to drum on your daily walk? Make some noise using different outdoor items that make different sounds. What does a log sound like if you bang on it? How do these stones sound when you hit them together? What noise does this fence make when you run a stick against it?  This video is best watched with the sound on to hear the beats, watch out Ringo Starr!


Planting seeds!  Planting up seeds is a lovely weekend family activity that children love to get involved with. We planted carrots & sunflowers in an old seedling tray left over from garden plants. You can plant seeds up in any little container though, empty yoghurt pots are great. Fill two thirds with compost, pop your seeds in, and then cover lightly with compost. Keep them on a windowsill and wait for their shoots to appear!


Nettle tea!  Nettles have an unusually high protein content for a vegetable and are high in Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and full of calcium, magnesium, iron, and potassium.  Pick them in the spring when tender or later in the season before they flower. Pick the young leaves from the tips and use gloves, so you don’t get stung! Always be sure you can positively identify any plant before you pick it, and never eat any plant you are unsure of. Only take from areas that have a plentiful supply away from traffic pollution.  Wash before use. Happy foraging!

National Walking Month! There’s still time to take part in; #Try20 for National Walking Month – walk for 20 minutes every day as part of your daily exercise and see what benefits you experience.  From the Living Streets website: ‘Many of us are appreciating the chance to get out for a walk more than ever. We’re here to help you keep your daily exercise fresh, interesting – and most of all – safe. Our #Try20 tips and resources can help you, whether you’re walking as a family, trying to fit in some exercise whilst working from home, or if you’re restricted to indoor exercise’.


Rope Ladders: A slightly more challenging project for the older children, rope ladders are great fun to make and even more fun to play on! To make the rope ladder you need some strong sticks, ideally cut, or collected so they are similar in size and some rope. To secure the sticks you can use a clove hitch, you can find an animated tutorial here .  Or for another method our good friend Lily at Kindling Play and Training has a fab video you can watch here. 


Snail racing!  This is a fun activity for a wet day, when you are more likley to find snails out and about. Your racetrack needs to be a circle about 60cm – 1 metre wide, with a 10cm circle in the middle. Snails race best on a wet surface, an old sheet or tarp would be ideal. Start your snails from the middle and see who gets to the outside edge first. Put snails back afterward and don’t forget to wash your hands after you have handled a living creature.

Stick people!  No two sticks are ever the same, but each has a personality of its own! On your daily exercise keep a lookout for a really special one then, bring it to life at home with wool, string, leaves, and decorations. Will your Stick Man or Woman will have as many adventures as the storybook character by Julia Donaldson? You can hear it being read here.