You may or may not of heard of the The Wildlife Trust’s June initiative of getting people out into nature everyday for thirty days. It’s a great idea and for those people who live in a more built up environment, a good reason to explore nature daily.
I signed our family up but feel a little fraudulent given that we do go outside into nature everyday anyway. We sat on the 31st May and wrote down some ideas of what we could do and actually they were all things we do anyway- whatever the time of year. We are very lucky to live in the countryside with fields, hills and forests on our doorstep and have a big garden to explore if we don’t fancy heading out further.
The children need to be outside. For their own well being and mental health they need to have fresh air and space to be messy, get dirty and be creative with whatever they find. If anyone is getting frustrated, angry or anxious, a walk or a play in the garden helps more than anything in the house can.
On our list of activities my eldest son set us a challenge (he is only four) and that was to identify all the trees in the park. We live opposite a park and playing field which is lined with various trees (about 35+). I have often said I wanted to find out what they are and here was the perfect reason.
So far we’ve managed 15 trees which is one side of the park and it has been such a great activity!
We’ve used the Usbourne Spotter Cards and a fold out tree flowchart leaflet that I had to help us. Turns out if it’s not an oak or a sycamore then I’m pretty useless at identifying trees…
Both Joseph and Alice were keen to write down their findings (great writing and reading activity in itself). Alice mark made and Joseph copied the names of the trees. We’ve done bark rubbing and stuck leaves into their notebooks. We’ve matched, compared, guessed, estimated size and age, we’ve used our senses. It’s been an all round learning experience. I will be pleased to finish it knowing I have more knowledge and understanding of the environment outside my front door and that the children will take this knowledge with them.
I’m keen to make sure that we have identified all the trees correctly as I wouldn’t want to be giving the children wrong information. I’m planning on writing to the Parish Council and asking for a plan of the trees to compare our findings to!
So although we do ‘Wild’ everyday, the #30daywild gave us a challenge we might not otherwise have taken and created the perfect outdoor learning opportunity!