What a long time a week feels at the moment.
Some of the seeds that were planted last week are beginning to show, their green spikes poking through the soil. I hope yours are too. If not, keep planting.
The weather is bright and warm and the air full of promise of what is to come.
This week we are starting to look at our senses; sight, smell, touch, hearing and taste.
“There is nothing in the intellect that was not first in the senses,” wrote Aristotle. Being in touch with our senses is so important and stimulating out senses supports brain development.
Spring is the perfect time for exploring this. The air is warming up and smells different, creatures are emerging from their sleep and leaves are unfurling.
So if you do nothing else make sure you take a deep breathe and shut your eyes even for a moment and feel the suns warmth and hear the sounds around you…
Poem of the week
Nature’s Way © Heidi Campbell
Upon a nice mid-spring day,
Let’s take a look at Nature’s way.
Breathe the scent of nice fresh air,
Feel the breeze within your hair.
The grass will poke between your toes,
Smell the flowers with your nose.
Clouds form shapes within the skies,
And light will glisten from your eyes.
Hear the buzzing of the bees,
Climb the tallest willow trees.
Look across the meadow way,
And you shall see a young deer play.
Pick the daisies as they grow,
Watch a gentle cold stream flow.
Know the sounds of water splash,
Catch its glimmer in a flash.
When altogether all seems sound,
Lay yourself upon the ground.
Take a moment to inhale,
And listen to Nature tell her tale…
Week 1: Senses
This week we will start with Sight, Touch and Hearing.
As humans, we use all our senses and rely on sight as our primary sense. However animals use senses in different ways. You might have seen a rabbit’s ears twitching whilst it eats so that it can channel sound from all directions and keep an ear out for predators. Badgers have very poor eyesight but living underground they rely on smell to find food.
Think about what senses other animals and bugs use.
Getting Ready:Get your shoes on and go outside.
Action:Try and focus on one sense at a time. Spend a day on just one.
Hearing: With so little traffic about and people staying still you may have become more aware of the birdsong. If you are an early riser you may be able to catch the Dawn chorus (currently 6am but will change throughout the year) when the birds wake up and are at their loudest. It is most noticeable in spring, when the birds are either defending their nests or trying to attract a mate. Just close your eyes and listen. If you miss the early start just listen at any point in the day. There are some great Apps (see below ) for identifying bird calls.
Have a listen to this recording I made and see if you can catch the sound of the woodpecker drilling for bugs on the tree trunk.
Sight: Too often we are rushing around. Now is the time just to sit and think. Try finding a small patch of ground (30cm x 30cm). You might want to mark the area to make it easier. Just look at this piece of ground. How many different plants, leaves, shapes are there. Are there any bugs. Imagine you are a bug ( or Mrs Pepperpot or a Minpin) and add some things to the space to make it your own tiny world. That legoman would fit perfectly. If possible leave the small world out and see how it changes over time.
Some flowers open and close at night. Look at flowers when it’s getting dark and when the sun is shining. Which ones open and close with the light and why?
Alternatively, if keeping still is too tricky, grab an egg box and set the challenge to find 6 objects of different colour/shape/size and put one in each hole. Or use your imagination to find a dragons foot, a monsters face on a tree.
You have them you could draw them, identify them. You can use coloured petals to draw on paper. Try and make a rainbow of colours using grass for green and the middle of a daisy for yellow etc.
The egg box idea works for touch too. Find 3 rough and 3 smooth items for example.
Set up some string around various obstacles. Walk the path holding the string with one hand and putting the other out in front so you don’t bump into anything. Now tie a scarf around your eyes and try and walk the same path again. How does it feel?
Put various items into a cardboard box that has a lid. Ask the child to put their hands in and without looking guess what they are holding. You can have everything from jelly to a cornflake, pine cone to empty snail shell.
Alternatively, just lie on a blanket outside if possible, shut your eyes, and feel the breeze and the warmth of the sun or perhaps it’s raining. Which senses become more acute when you close your eyes?
Extension ideas: Just sitting/lying and being in the moment could be a way to start your day. It might be tricky at first but if you continue to try it with children you can build up to a few minutes, maybe more. You can do it too and compare the feelings and sounds you both heard.
Home Science Tools: For some really simple and brilliant science experiments to do at home https://learning-center.homesciencetools.com/article/five-senses-lesson-projects/
Chirp! Bird songs UK A great App for learning Uk bird song
ChirpOmatic A good App for recording and Identifying bird song
Mrs Pepperpot Storiesby Alf Proysen
YouTube shortfilm https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q1xNuU7gaAQ about the 5 senses.
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.