Its spring! Whatever else is happening around us the world is still turning and nature is still doing its thing.
So amidst the panic of lockdown and social distancing, virus and fear take a deep breath and look outside. The sun is shining which it hasn’t done for a while now, you can hear the birds singing especially with less traffic on the roads and wherever you look trees, flowers and weeds are poking their heads out to a quieter and kinder world.
This blog is being written for parents like me who are contemplating weeks and months of children at home. The prospect of home educating looming large. So the first thing to do is breathe. We may not be teachers but our wonderful schools have set so much homework that it could keep us going for months but perhaps it is time we just stopped and listened, at least for a while to nature and our children.
Maybe it’s time to realise that half an hour outside just observing nature and listening is time well spent. Reconnecting our children to nature is the most important thing in a time when the planet needs us so hopefully, I can provide some ideas for those just starting out and a reassurance that getting outside and doing nothing more than that is a lesson in itself.
So please do get in contact and let me know what you need…over the coming weeks, I hope to provide some simple ideas which don’t require special kit but encourage your children to find their flow in the outside and unlock their creativity. Slow down, breathe, change your pace.
Poem of the week
From: I am the seed that grew the tree, A nature poem for every day of the year. Selected by Fiona Waters.
Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter
Every year the same-
Round and round the seasons go
Like a party game.
Spin the leaves from green to brown
Spin them onto gold
Turn the weather up to hot
Turn it down to cold
Chase the clouds across the sky
Paint a yellow sun
Then the rain comes tumbling down
Spoiling all our fun
Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter,
Every year the same –
Round and round the seasons go
Like a party game.Poem by Steve Turner
Week 1: Planting & seeds
This week I thought I would start with planting…if you have no seeds, then you could ask a neighbour respecting the 2m distance or get hold of a packet from the supermarket or online ( see resources below) when you are next there. If that’s not possible look at the food you eat and see if there are seeds from those you can plant i.e an apple seed, tomato seed, avocado stone. Keep a potato in a dark place and when it starts sprouting plant it.
If you don’t have a garden then you can plant in a pot or window box. It’s an experiment but children love to taste and smell so this might inform your choice.
Alternatively, spend your next park trip looking for seeds on the ground. Look above you when you pick up the seeds and see if you can see where they have come from. Seeds are all shapes and sizes, you might not know but just have a good look at them. Are they rough or smooth? Are they seeds at all?
Some plants will still have their seed heads attached. If it woods you are in there may be some seeds the squirrels have left. Don’t be worried about just planting it and giving it a go. If you have seeds share them with others.
Get a recycled plastic pot/ tin/ loo roll or make a recycled pot from a newspaper (see below). Make a hole in the bottom and fill 2 thirds with soil. If you have compost great, otherwise use soil. Mustard seeds and cress can be grown on paper towel and make a great addition to sandwiches.
A seed packet is a lesson in itself, reading and comprehension, maths measuring and counting, plant lifecycles. Take time to read the packet and understand the symbols.
Place the seed in the pot on top of the soil, cover and water. Put on a sunny windowsill. If not so warm you can add a plastic bag for the greenhouse effect.
Some seeds can be planted directly outside. Just look on the packet.
Make labels out of cut up plastic bottles, maybe decorate your pots. Put a holes in the side of the pot and hang them up.
If you have astro and no grass in your garden maybe just lift a corner of it and see what grows over time in that corner. Try and identify it.
Keep watering. Make a watering can from a plastic bottle.
Choose a spot in the park/ garden/ grass verge and see what grows there over time. Draw the plants, take a photo, just look and remember.
Look in a gardening magazine which probably has free seeds in it too, cut out pictures and make a gardening collage.
Look online at all the different seed shapes and draw the ones in your fruit and veg.
Homemade newspaper plant pots https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSJab0Re2fA
The BBC have some great simple gardening ideas for children http://www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/gardening_with_children/
Grow it Eat it A Royal Horticultural Society Publication. Brilliant for simple gardening projects and recipes.
Ideas, articles and simple activities to do with your children: https://schoolgardening.rhs.org.uk/News/News-results/NewsList
Realseeds.co.uk for great info on planting and mail order seeds from Pembrokeshire.
Rosybee.comfor bee friendly plants
Over the coming Wildwood Adventures will look at the following themes:
- Bugs and small worlds
- ID activities
- Simple arts and crafts
- Teen activities
- Maths and Literature focus
- Wet and windy activities
All feedback welcome and do get in touch if you have ideas of what you would like to see covered.