If you have children and are lucky enough to have a garden during lockdown or even somewhere to walk out to on your period of daily exercise, then there are loads of great ideas for learning about nature and the environment available. I run the Eco-Warriors club at the school I work in and although I have seen lots of ideas for craft activities for children during lockdown, it struck me that now is the perfect time to get your children in to nature and the environment around them.
We are fortunate enough to have the Head Office of the WWF based in Woking, and although normally they would run lots of activities for schools from their Living Planet Centre they too are in lockdown. As a result of this they and their team are running ‘live’ learning events as part of their #learntolovenature campaign. These live learning events are being run by experts who are locked down in their own houses at home. You can join Matt as he carries out his first garden safari at https://www.wwf.org.uk/updates/learn-love-nature,or Lizzie as she creates a recycled bug hotel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lp6LL2zOif0 . There are lots of interesting events to choose from and their website also has other free resources for parents and teachers alike.
Surrey Wildlife Trust is another great local organisation who also have some fabulous ideas on their website https://www.surreywildlifetrust.org/explore/childrens-activities . Their informative wildlife watch activities sheets, which I frequently use for my primary school children, are perfect for keeping youngsters of all ages occupied. The free printable sheets take you step by step through different challenges such as how to make a butterfly feeding station. They also have spotter sheets which you can use for a ready-made spring treasure hunt.
If you have a budding naturalist at home then Eco-Kids Planet Magazine is also another great resource and something to keep them quiet with while you either work from home or do all those DIY jobs you now realise you can’t put off any longer! If you sign up for their magazine subscription then you also receive monthly e-mails which link to the ideas in the magazine https://www.ecokidsplanet.co.uk/ . The magazine itself not only has lots of information on wildlife across the world but there are also quizzes and fun ‘make your own’ tasks.
National Geographic kids is currently offering free 3 months of their digital download magazine https://www.natgeokids.com/uk/freedigitalaccess/ this is another good resource for children who are interested in the world around them. It is really for primary age children but has lots of information for all ages.
Finally, don’t forget that sometimes it pays just to stop and listen to nature, your children can connect with their surroundings by just sitting down, shutting their eyes and listening. Encourage them to use all their senses. Take time out to enjoy what is on your doorstep. After all, how often do we all get to just appreciate the world around us in amongst the hurly burly of clubs, school, playdates and work.
Rachel Grummett is an Assistant Teacher and leader of the Eco-Warrior club at a school in New Haw. In her spare time she loves to encourage her own children to explore and appreciate the world around them. Currently, in between shifts at work and lockdown home-schooling, she is creating a wildlife haven in her back garden.