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.

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! 

Wild Art

When I was at school studying art I became really interested in the land art by Andy Goldsworthy. He creates really fantastic artwork in nature with nature. Do check out the link. In June we were involved in the #30DaysWild challenge (doing something wild every day for 30 days) and decided to have our own go at some land art.

We love collecting bits and bobs from nature, pine cones, sticks, stones, shells, feathers, conkers etc… So from our box of many things I started to create this heart made. It wasn’t long before the little munchkins became interested and joined in.

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Since the #30DaysWild challenge we have spent some time in the local river building a dam but also attempting some rock balancing (well…more like stone balancing!)

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have you you created any art in nature? I’d love to see it 😀 Or would you love to give it a go?

Hiding a Geocache

imageThe best way I would describe geocaching is that it is hunting for treasure. It’s an official game that is run worldwide and anyone can take part. We find that it’s a fantastic way of exploring different areas and really exciting for the children. The easiest way to play is to download the Geocaching app on your phone and search for nearby caches. You will then see a map with Geocaches marked on and a blue dot to show you your location. Click on the cache you want to find, read the description and hint, follow your way to the green dot and start searching.

We like the traditional caches that are big enough to include swappables (treasure). Being fairly new to this we aren’t interested in puzzle caches, we just want to explore, see beautiful places and find treasure. Check out our first Geocaching adventure.

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After some successful finds at various locations we thought it would be fun to share the love and create our own Geocache. Penguin had fun choosing some toys to put in the cache. We made a small log book which we are looking forward to see being filled up. We found a good hidey hole under a tree and used a few sticks to hide the cache.

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Here’s how to hide a cache…

  1. Scout for a good location to hide a cache
  2. Get a suitable container
  3. Put small log book, pencil and treasure in container
  4. Hide your cache and save coordinates
  5. Submit cache information to geocaching.com
  6. Visit cache periodically to check it’s still there and stocked with treasure

For a more detailed instructions of how to hide a geocache you can go to the official Geocaching site, follow the link. We used geogz.com to print out a label for the container.

Have you ever been Geocaching? What was your experience like?

It’s time to be WILD

Want to be WILD this June? The The Wildlife Trusts are challenging is to do something WILD everyday for a whole month. Something wild is basically something that connects us with nature. Last year, as a family, we took part in 30 Days Wild and thoroughly enjoyed it.

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If you’d like to take the challenge this year, you can get your activity pack from the Wildlife Trust here.

Here’s a list of all the wild activities and adventures we got up to last year.

Click the links for more details and lots of pics.

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Are you planning on signing up?

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My Petit Canard

Don’t feed bread to the ducks

imageIt was only last year that I discovered that it wasn’t good to be feeding bread to the ducks. Before then I had been naively taking my little munchkins to the duck pond to feed bread to the ducks.

Feeding our ducks, geese and swans that processed white bread has no real nutritional value. When they fill themselves up with bread they don’t eat other food which would give them the nutrients they need to be healthy. The ducks can get poorly from not getting the right nutrients. If you’re interested in reading more check out this article from IFLScience.

So I’m guessing you’d still like to enjoy a trip to the duck pond and feed them something…but what? They enjoyed theses tasty oats we fed them, they weren’t very impressed with the peas!

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Here’s a list of good nutritional food that’s safe for ducks

  • Bird Seed – any type of mix.
  • Grapes (halved)
  • Frozen peas (defrosted)
  • Earthworms
  • Oats
  • Rice
  • Chopped veg – trimmings are fine
  • Wheat or barley
  • Cracked corn

We are still experimenting with what foods they like best. We’ve also fed them apple and banana, which I’m guessing is fine?! We haven’t yet experienced the same crazy desire ducks and geese seem to have for bread.

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Have you tried feeding your local ducks some of the food on the list? What have you had most success with?

Making a Worm Farm

Did you know that there is a species of worm at can grow over 3 meters!! Yuck!

We’d been planning to make a worm farm for a couple of weeks…though I don’t think ours will have any 3 meter worms in! Though we did find quite a long one.

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Backyard Science by Chris Maynard is a fabulous book full of experiments that can easily be done at home. Making a worm farm and making a rainbow were two that particularly appealed to Penguin.

To make the worm farm we needed sand, soil, glass bowl, leaves and vegetable scraps. And of course…worms!!

Penguin collected some soil and leaves from the garden.

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We made six layers in our glass bowl. Soil, sand, soil, sand, soil, mix of leaves and carrot peelings.

As it was wet outside, hunting for worms was easy, we found five under one brick.

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We put the worms in their new temporary home and watched.

It said in our book to leave the farm in a cool dark place. We choose a cardboard box to put the farm in and left it in the cold conservatory.

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Now all that was left was to observe the worms over the next few days/weeks, this would give us a real insight into what goes on underground.

We got our worm farm out of its box on a number of occasions and looked at the tunnels the worms had made and look to see if we could spot our worms. The first picture is what the farm looked like after one week. The second is after 3 weeks. I love the marble effect of the sand and soil. It was then time to put the worms back outside where they would have ample more space to explore!

Goodbye worms!

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