Convert your children into Spring Explorers: Five Nature Activities for children
What better time to entice your gang into nature than when the whole, wide, blooming, peeping, croaking, hopping, wriggling world is coming back to life? The domestic cleaning professionals, MOLLYMAID, have five great ways to celebrate the new season and bring out the outdoor adventurer lurking inside every child.
Ponds are teeming with living things, large and small, especially in the springtime. A sift or a net such as a crabbing net, allows children to get up close and personal with the fascinating creatures – bugs, snails, tiny shrimp, crayfish, and more – that call the pond’s floor home.
Find an area of the pond where plants are into the water (plant roots and leaves provide shelter from predators for pond-bottom dwellers). Lower the net into the soil on the pond’s floor, sweeping it slowly back and forth, then gently raise it out of the water. Transfer your findings to a small plastic container filled with pond water. When you’ve finished your examination, gently return the creatures to their home.
While you can see many animals that make your garden their home during the day such as squirrels, birds, and rabbits, for example many others only come out at night (like foxes). This footprint-catching ‘trap’ lets your child investigate who’s hanging out in your garden after dark.
Place a white sheet, folded in half, in an area of the garden or terrace where animals are most likely to visit (near a hedge, for instance, or a compost pile). Place cut-up fruit, bread spread with peanut butter, sliced carrots, or hard-boiled eggs in the centre, then spread a foot-wide band of dirt around the edges of the sheet. Using a hose or watering can, wet both the sheet and the soil and leave it overnight. The next morning, check your trap to see if any animals have taken the bait, then try to identify them by their tracks. Reset your trap in other spots around the garden – you might attract different animals in different places. A great thing to show in school too.
Get to know some of your smallest neighbours by observing them up close in this temporary abode.
Cut three or four 2-inch-square openings around the top of a clean, empty carton. Wrap duct tape around the edges of the openings to make them sturdier. Bury a small plastic cup in a vegetable garden or flowerbed so that the top is even with the ground. Place the carton over the cup to protect it from rain, weigh it down with a small stone, and leave it overnight. In the morning, see if any guests dropped by – please make sure you return them to the garden when their stay is over. To entice more bugs, place some food, such as tiny bits of fruit, in the bottom of the cup.