If you looked at our house at the moment you couldn't miss that it was Spring - there is a vase of daffodils that were picked by my helpers from the garden, a horse chestnut branch sprouting on the windowsill collected from our walk at the weekend, plus frog spawn which we collected after school this week and a raising into to tadpoles and froglets as well as crystals growing and some bulbs that we're looking at the roots of. Ohhh and I can't forget our mushrooms that we are growing to eat from a kit! Yes it's quite a collection so connecting with nature is really important for us and last weekend we were lucky to be invited to meet Hattie Garlick who is the author of a brand new book all about getting families out and about in nature.
Born to be Wild is published together with the RSPB and available from the shop - it's a fantastic ideas book with SIMPLE, EASY TO DO, NO FUSS activities for families that have no age range - instead there are suggestions of making some of the ideas safer for younger kids and how to get older kids interested as well and away from those screens that seem to rule their lives.
Broken down into seasons and then typical nature topics for each season it's easy to discover ideas what ever the weather and where ever you are in the country. Being Spring and quite a warm winter we were raring to go having a go at some of the Spring activities from the book with Hattie.
On Page 39 (there are over 250 pages in the book of beautiful coloured photographs with simple ideas for families to do together) Hattie suggests pond dipping a firm favourite with J and something that he couldn't wait to get started doing.
With a net see how to make one at the link on the end, a tray and an identification guide that you can easily download from the RSPB Chidren's Pond Dipping page.
Then collect the pond life. Kneeling down by the side of the pond carefully swish the net in a figure of 8 above the bottom so as not to collect mud and silt - here's a hint pond weed and plants hide lots of wonderful creatures and it's worth having a look if you can see any near the side of the pond to collect a sample from.
Taking the tray - white or clear with a white bit of paper underneath works best and then you wait a little while and see what you have discovered.
The book is available now from the RSPB for £16.99 and also Amazon.com for my US readers. I promise you when the kids say I'm Bored you can pick up the book check the season and have a fantastic selection of different activities for the kids to participate in without needing to do anything more than open the door.
We were invited along by the RSPB to meet the author - all pictures and ideas are our own