How to make a simple bird bath!

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This weekend is RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch and it’s time to prepare.

M loves birds, especially robins and swans. It’s highly unlikely a swan will pop by our garden this weekend, though we may well spot ‘Peck’ our resident robin.

We bought M this Robin Bird Feeder for Christmas. It’s designed specifically for robins who don’t usually visit hanging feeders, they prefer a flat surface to eat from rather than a pole to perch onto. This feeder has a tray they can sit on which makes it perfect for robins.

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We’ve been very impressed with this feeder. The small umbrella roof means the food stays nice and dry. This has proved true even in heavy rain and strong winds. The robins have come, which when something actually does what it says on the tin, it gets my vote. Though maybe that was because of the robin bird seed and insect mix, well whatever the case, the combination worked. You can find out the link to where we got the robin bird feeder from here and the bird food here.

As part of our bird feeding station (sounds grand but at present is just two bird feeders hanging from a buddleia plant) M wanted to make sure the birds had something to drink. We followed instructions from the RSPB’s activity ‘Build a bird bath’.

First M found 3 bricks and placed them on the ground in a triangle. He rested a large plant pot saucer (about 30cm diameter) on the bricks.

He placed some stones, and half a terracotta plant pot in the saucer and filled it up with rainwater.

M is really pleased with the result and now we just need to sit back and watch.

The RSPB run a wild challenge. In their words, “It’s a challenge for you to connect with the natural world in brave new ways – to reach out and touch it and meet it head-on, up-close and personal.”

The birdbath activity is one of their ‘Helping Nature’ activities. Children complete activities to receive their bronze, silver and gold awards. Well worth doing if you have nature-loving children. Now I just need to get organised and sign my two up!

Having our bird feeding station is going to be a great way to see if M is ready to have his own pet! Can he make sure the birds always have food and clean water?!!

Do you/your children have a pet? Who looks after it?

Win a 2018 Nature Wall Planner

I can’t believe it’s only a month before 2018! Have you started planning for your 2018?

My lovely husband (aka leothexplorer) has created this nature wall planner to keep your 2018 on track. I really have benefited from being able to see our whole year at a glance. I know know exactly what we are doing each day. It has kept me from double booking and getting confused (this can easily happen!!) Our planner works well in our dining room, though I can see it brightening up the kitchen or a work room. I love having something cheery to look at.

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We are running a giveaway, you could win this inspiring planner to help make your super busy life more organised. For your chance to win please click on the link below.

Click here to Win a 2018 Wall Planner

Closing date will be midnight on Friday 15th December 2017.

We are selling these A2 Wall Planners in our Etsy shop, if you use the code BLOG2018 you can get a massive 25% off. These would make a fun and practical Christmas gift, a great blogging organiser or a family planner.

Happy Christmas 🙂

Sarah x

Congratulations to Charlotte Cooke for winning 😀

Collaborative Landscape Art

I love the work by landscape artist Andy Goldsworthy. It really draws together two things that I love… nature and art. This piece of art was parcially inspired by Goldsworthy.

I absolutely loved working on this art piece with a lovely group of children (aged 4-8).  It was wonderful to get their input in how the art should look and it was amazing to see their respect for the work they were creating.

I wanted the children to be able to get on and create and not to spend the majority of our time collecting resources to make our art. I collected a load of leaves, sticks the day before and raided our home of all collections of cones, conkers, acorns etc… and also asked others to bring along some resources.

We began by raking out the area so we could begin work. We then created the shape of the star and the heart.

The children soon became interested and got creative with the leaves, cones etc… One of the children suggested we added an I, so the picture became ‘I love stars’

The small star was especially susceptible to being knocked and had to be re-made many times. It was lovely to see that whenever it got knocked one of the children would rush to fix it.

We gave the ground a final rake before our piece was finished, this really helped create a good contrast between the ground and the art.

Beach Art – Painting Shells 🐚 

We recently spent a few days in North Wales where we stayed right next to the beach 🙂 which always puts a smile on my face.

We loved going to the beach and collecting a multitude of shells! Shells galore. This picture is just a small selection of our collection!


M and Z were thrilled when later that day I pulled out the Posca Paint Pens and actually let them use them! Posca Paint Pens are great as they keep mess to a minimum which still being able to create, they work especially well when travelling.

We had fun creating different creatures.

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and M made this cute little fruit bowl!


The next day M bought back a huge white rock from the beach which he plans to make into a monster! Watch this space!

What are your favourite beach craft activities? We may try them next time 🙂 Please comment below.

Sarah 🙂

 

 

First hand experiences – Butterflies

M was delighted when these tiny caterpillars arrived at the door as an early birthday present. They really were itty bitty tiny. Crazy to think that in just a few weeks they would be fully fledged Painted Lady Butterflies. I wanted to record our experience so I took photographs most days. From receiving the caterpillars till they turned in to chrysalis took just 13 days. Unfortunately one little caterpillar (he was definitely the runt of the group) never made it this far.

Our caterpillars came from Insect Lore. They guarantee that at least 3 of the caterpillars will become butterflies. If they don’t they will send you more. We started off with 5 caterpillars, one died before changing into a chrysalis. One chrysalis was on the bottom of the tub and never became a butterfly. Thankfully 3 became butterflies.

It took another 12 days before the first butterfly emerged. We received the caterpillars at the end of August when it was feeling cooler. I am wondering if we’d had them earlier in the year that we’d have had more success, as in 5 butterflies.

Unfortunetly we went on holiday (really not unfortunately!) and we didn’t see the last two butterflies emerge. Our friends looked after our butterflies and we had the pleasure of setting them free when we returned. We loved having these wild creatures resting in our hands before flying away.

There’s no better way to learn about the life cycle of a butterfly than to watch it first hand. It has been a truly delightful experience, one we will definitely be repeating next year.

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Have you ever experienced anything like this? I’d love to hear about it. Please comment below.

Sarah 🙂

5 Wild Activities for the Summer

1. Shake a tree and see what comes out!!

We took part in this activity as part of the RSPB WILD CHALLENGE.

It’s quite simple and a lot of fun. Find a sheet, put it under a small tree, or a tree with low hanging branches and shake. Look on the sheet and see what comes out. Use this resource to identify what you have found!

2. Paint some stones

Find some lovely smooth stones out in the wild. Use acrylic paint or/posca paint pens to decorate your stones. Finish them off with an acrylic varnish, especially if they will be living in the garden.

3. Pond or River dipping

You need a net and a tray for this activity. First of all put some pond/river water in your tray then use your net and see what you can find. Tip any finds into your water and have a good look. Also check out this great resource for identifying what you have found.

4. Decorate a stick

There’s so many activities you can do with sticks. We got some wool, ribbon and beads to decorate ours. Later in the day it had turned into a bow, the arrows were imaginary!

5. Get out the play dough and make a herby garden

You can either make your own, check out the link, or use shop bought. Find a herb garden and do some chopping. We enjoyed rosemary, mint, sage, blackcurrant sage, oregano and chives. Use all those herbs to make a lovely smelling garden.

What are your favourite Wild Activities?

 

 

Jurassic Kingdom

We were joking earlier today that maybe the dinosaurs would come alive and chase us. My son advised us not to wear red or the dinosaurs might think we were meat and try to eat us!

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We spent the day at the Botanical Gardens in Birmingham where the dinosaurs from Jurassic Kingdom have come to spend a couple of weeks. They are touring round the UK so there’s plenty of opportunities to see them.

I thought I’d share small selection ​​of pictures and video from our day. I don’t want to spoil all the fun, just give you a taster.

​​​These animatronic dinosaurs are very clever and seem very life like. Each dinosaur has an information board with interesting information… Sadly no information of how to phonetically say all of the crazy dinosaur names.​​


​It’s always lovely to spend the day with friends, though the Botanical Gardens was super busy.

Little Missy spent a long time on excavating dinosaur bones and making a sandman. All in all a good day. Well worth visiting the dinosaurs! 

DIY 5 minute bird feeder 

These bird feeders are super quick to make and I’m hoping they will encourage some birds into our community garden.

All you need is some pine cones, bird seed, lard, twine and a blunt knife.

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Use the blunt knife to spread lard generously on the pine cone. Cover the lard in birdseed and tie a piece of twine tightly around the pine cone.

Hang up the tasty treat on a tree and wait for some birds to come looking for their lunch!

You need to find something like this near to you.

Jungle Parc… I was really impressed and gutted that is soooo far from where we live 😦

Jungle Parc is a tree top adventure course that starts for children as young as 4. I loved the way the course started low to the ground and steady and progressively got higher and more challenging.

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Each participant is strapped into a harness which is has two straps attached that have a carabiner clip on the end. The idea is that they are always attached on to a wire with at least one of the carabiners so they won’t fall to the ground.

On this course it was the parent/guardians responsibility to ensure the child is always clipped onto the wire. However it’s the child that has to clip themselves in and out as they more around the course. This was a huge responsibility for the children as in a sense they were responsible for their own safety.

Penguin is generally very safety conscious and the harness gave him the confidence to try parts of the course he would otherwise not have tried. I could really see him concentrating over each section, some were a huge challenge, though he knew it was all up to him and did himself proud.

Jungle Parc really encourages perseverance, concentration and physical agility. It really is a mental challenge as well as a physical one. Penguin was so proud of himself for completing three of the courses. I really can’t rate this place high enough. Its just a shame we don’t live locally as I would certainly be frequenting this parc.

Jungle Parc does a fantastic job of keeping their course adventurous and exciting with lots of different elements. Penguins favourite bit was the rocket!

The staff were very good, initially helping the children into their harness and then showing them how to use the carabiners, giving them safety advice and ensuring each child was confident to use the equipment. They were on hand throughout the course when Penguin needed some extra help with reaching the wire.

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There was a small practise course where all newcomers start out. This is just about 4 feet off the ground, high enough to be challenging but manageable for learning how to use the equipment. Penguin completed two green courses and one blue course within the allotted time. There are even higher and more challenging courses for older and taller children and adults. The blue course got up to about 8 or 9 feet high.

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I am guessing Jungle Parc is very similar to Go Ape’s tree top adventures, though jungle parc has courses starting from children as young as 4. Do be aware it is based on height as well as age. You have to be at least 105cm to participate. For Go Ape their junior course is aimed at 6-12 year olds.

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Jungle Parc has centres in Liverpool, Swindon and Northampton with prices starting from £14. It takes about 1 hr 1/2 to complete the courses, be prepared for a tired child at the end of it!

What activities would you recommend for children, or adults!,  that are both a physical and mental challenge? Please comment below 🙂