When it's sunny outside, it's always great to get out and about. Going for a nice long walk might be a welcome activity for many of us, however with children in tow, sometimes it can get a bit boring for them. Also, when they're at school, teachers may want to extend the walls of their classroom to the local park or public field and make a day of it. Even for adults, if we are the kind of person who wants to be productive, even in our time off, finding something to do while on a nature walk could be vital. There are lots of great ideas out there, and here are a few of my favourites.
Make A Map: It doesn't have to be excellent, just have a go. Try to get things in the right place and draw them in. This helps us to learn geography skills which could help us if we're ever lost. It helps us to pay attention to our surroundings and to be mindful of where we are in relation to them.
Paint The Scene: Obvious I know, but how many times have you actually gone outside and painted something? If you're like me, not nearly enough. Go and take the opportunity when you can. This activity helps us learn art skills, and also co-ordination and observation. These all help us in daily life.
Seed Planting: We know that trees are being cut down too fast and if we're not careful from now on, we could lose a lot of natural diversity and beauty. So many medicines and remedies are based on naturally occurring ingredients. If we don't sustain our diversity we stand to lose a huge stockpile of undiscovered chemistry. Where ever you live, if you are in public green space that already has trees in it, then go ahead and plant more. Make sure they're naturally occurring ones and that you mix them up. Planting flowers can take place anywhere as long as the land is free to use. Woods, fields, footpaths, verges, anywhere that flowers naturally grow. We're only doing what the plants do naturally.
Explore The Soil: With a simple magnifying glass, we can take a look under rocks and in loose soil to find all manner of weird and wonderful organisms. These may be far too small to usually see. If we have a stronger lens then use it. Make notes and draw pictures of what you find.
Leaf Hunting: How many types can you find? Can you name them? Who can find the most? This helps us to learn about the environment around us and to appreciate diversity.
Build a Shelter: Engineering games are really exciting. Finding the bits and bobs that fit the purpose and putting them together is tricky fun. It might not be good enough to sleep in first time around, but perhaps it makes a nice shade. The more you try it, the better they will become.
Make Stepping Stones: If there's a river nearby that's not dangerous then building a walkway over it with stones helps us fit pieces together. It also lasts for a long time and helps other people. Hunting for the right size rocks is entertaining, carrying them across is good exercise.
Look For Maths: Repeating patterns and mathematical relationships are all over nature. Point them out and see if others can find any too. Fractals and ratios are found everywhere. Even counting petals is a maths observation.
Make Nature Art: Build something from sticks and stones. Decorate it with all kinds of things you might find laying around. Make sure everything is natural and already on the ground. It's best to not pick flowers and leaves when they're alive.
Hopefully that will keep everyone busy and entertained throughout the summer months. There are of course many books that are rammed with even more ideas.
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Rowan Blair Colver for Alternative Fruit
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