The weather is warming up and families are eager to head outdoors and enjoy the sunshine, greenery and bountiful array of British birds, bees, and bugs. But if you’re stuck on what to do while we’re all following guidelines to stay indoors and keep up social distancing in outdoors spaces, here are some easy ideas on safe ways to keep kids connected with nature.
Make a mini nature reserve
The good news is that there are lots of easy ways that families can stay connected with the wildlife on their doorstep, without having to travel. The Wildlife Trusts has many fun ideas to keep everyone feeling connected to nature. “We know that children are happier, healthier and more creative when they’re connected to nature. That’s why we want to ensure that children, where able and it’s safe to do so, are,” explains Leanne Manchester, a representative from the Wildlife Trusts. “We’ve created pages of resources to help families navigate the outdoors in a safe way during this time. All of these activities are designed to be tried either indoors, in a garden or close by to a house.”
Visit the Wildlife Trust’s website to download this resource and more.
How about this fun way to keep everyone busy – create a mini nature reserve! Head over to the Wildlife Trusts’ page and download their guide. Who knows what kinds of bugs it’ll attract? For families with balconies or window boxes, creating a small a herb garden will attract wildlife and grow yummy herbs for cooking.
Or watch their video on how to be a garden scientist and then head out on an exploration adventure and see what you can find.
Explore your garden
Turn outdoor exploration into a learning opportunity. First, read our post on exploring your spring garden for ideas on what to see. Then print out our free worksheets and head outside. We’ve created a fun bug hunt worksheet to encourage your little explorer (although they may need some help from you), and an outdoor exploration exercise to encourage your little learner’s maths and observation skills. A blog post from SEN Resources shares insights into why it’s important for children to go bug hunting and you might also want to head over to this post from us for more creative outdoor learning ideas and crafty projects including a nature crown.
The texture and colour of tree bark is something new to discover. Why not use paper and crayons to do rubbings?
(Image: Yuricazac/Getty Images)
Feed the birds
The RSPB’s website is packed with ideas to attract birds to your outdoor space and get to know a lot more about our feathered friends. Food is the easiest way to lure them closer so your young ornithologist can see and hear them. Different birdseeds will attract a variety of birds to your garden or balcony and is a fun experiment. Head over to the RSPB’s page for a their speedy bird cake recipe made using items found around your home (you may need to buy lard and birdseed if you don’t have any).
For more ideas on birdwatching, read our blog post about the RSPB’s annual Big Schools Bird Watch. The Bird Watch is an annual event but anytime is a good time to be a citizen scientist. There’s also lots to do using our nature and bird spotting activity sheet.
Activity tip: Attract more birds to your back garden with a homemade birdbath oasis. The birds (and bees) will be grateful for their backyard spa – and it’s so easy to make.
Go on a home safari
Meet the meerkats at Knowsley Safari park and get up close with these cute bush critters and more on the park’s YouTube channel. These fun educational videos are ideal for kids to learn all about all sorts of interesting animals, from snakes to giraffes.