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What can you do with your kids #8?

Hello again

This week’s post should have been with you last week – so it is a little late! I’m very sorry, but we’ve been running around after the Government’s easing of the lockdown, as it looks like we may be able to run again over the Summer holidays! You can book here if you are interested.

So, we’ve been putting new procedures in place, adapting our risk assessments, talking to sites and generally getting ready for a limited Summer season, when we very much hope we’ll be out having fun in the woods again. You can book as normal from our website, but NB that we will be running on a very small number of sites, and with reduced numbers of children, so space will be very limited!

You can see details of our Coronavirus procedures here, if you are interested in how we will keep everyone safe.

In the meantime, here are a few more ideas of things to do while your children are still with you….

1. Make a jam jar lantern

This is an easy craft activity that uses old jam jars to make a pretty lantern. You can use fallen leaves in the autumn, but at this time of year coloured tissue paper makes a lovely effect.

You will need:

  • An empty, clean jam far (not the lid)
  • Some coloured tissue paper (or leaves in the autumn) and PVA glue for decoration
  • A tea light
What to do
  • Cut a piece of tissue paper to fit around your glass jar (or use a fallen leaf).
  • Brush a layer of PVA glue on the outside of your glass jar then carefully wrap the tissue paper or leaf around the jar. …
  • Let dry.
  • Place a tea light in the bottom and light (carefully).
You might find it useful to thin the PVA glue with water, to make it easier to apply. These lanterns look lovely with a tea light shining through them, but remember that if you do this you have a naked flame, which is a fire hazard as well as being HOT, so you must supervise younger children. These lanterns also work well on a sunny windowsill however, so you could do without the tea light completely.
2. Make a creature

This is a great way to start thinking about  biodiversity evolution and adaptation. It’ also a great prompt for: creative writing; improvised role play; story telling or the artistic sculpture and modelling of new weird and wonderful creatures.

You will need:

  • Clay
  • Found natural materials

What to do

  • You can work together or separately and surprise each other with your creation
  • Choose a  habitat and then make a brand new creature that can survive in that habitat.
  • Think about
    –  Where it lives
    –  What it might eat (and how)
    –  How it defends itself
    –  What it is called
You can either stick to earthly creatures or really let yourself go wild and design animals from another planet.
3. Make a spooky shrunken headThis is something we usually do for Halloween, but it uses ingredients you will have at home anyway probably, and watching the heads get more and more desiccated is satisfyingly macabre!
You will need:

  • Apples
  • A peeler
  • Lemon juice and salt
  • Sticks to mount the apples on

What to do:

  • Peel the apples then carve a face.You can either cut out the features or cut away everything else and leave the features proud. Whichever way you do it try to make the features exaggerated, as they will shrink and deform as the apple dries.
  • Rub the apples with lemon juice then sprinkle them with salt.
  • Dry the surface with a paper towel
  • Mount them on sticks on a sunny windowsill and watch the awful transformation!

The salt in this recipe draws the moisture out of the apple, while the lemon juice stops the oxidation process so they don’t go brown straight away. You need to watch that the apples are drying without going mouldy: but if you see a spot of mould don’t worry, just cut it out.

4. Track and trail on your walk

Now we are all allowed to leave our houses and go on longer walks, you might find this activity a useful way of livening a journey with children up (and heading off any grumbling). one team lays a trail in this game, and the other must follow it to find them.You will need:

  • Some sticks
What to do:
  • Split into two teams – the trail layers and the followers
  • The trail layers set off first, when they are out of sight they begin to lay a trail of arrows made from sticks. Set several arrows to lead to the hiding place you have chosen.
  • When you reach your hiding place, finish the trail with crossed sticks within a circle. this shows that you are hiding close by.
  • The followers give the other team a few minutes head start then follow the arrows. When they reach the circle they try to creep up on the hiders without being noticed.
  • When you have been found swap roles, with the followers now laying the trail.
Following the trail is not hard, as long as it has been laid well. it is a good idea to have an adult with each group and agree on the general route the trail will take, to avoid going too far off piste! Trail-laying children love setting elaborate detours, and followers often forget that they need to be quiet when following the trail if they want to creep up on the hiders.
With the gradual easing of lockdown it looks like this will be the last of these posts for a while. I hope you have enjoyed them (or at least found a few ideas useful), and I hope we will see you and your children in the woods this Summer.

Let us know how you got on with these ideas, and send us photos of your creations.

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wild learning

Jonathan Millington

Author Jonathan Millington

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