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“Strive to make everyday the best day of your life, because there is no good reason not to.” Hal Elrod

Exploring Elderflowers

Jun 09, 2024

The beautiful white, frothy elderflowers tend to bloom in late May, turning to elderberries in late August. Prime picking time is in the morning, on a sunny day (before insects have taken the pollen). Once regarded as one of the most magically powerful of trees, elder is a forager's favourite and its flowers are the scent of summer. The flowers and berries are the only edible part of the Elder Tree. They are mildly toxic and have an unpleasant taste when raw. Cooking destroys the toxic chemicals.

Here are a few activities to explore:

Exploring Elderflowers
  1. Make delicious elderflower cordial or gin!
  2. Add them to cakes or biscuits 
  3. Try them deep-fried to make tasty elderflower fritters 
  4. Make elderflower jam
  5. Add them to homemade Playdough 
  6. Add them to your mud kitchen and potions
  7. Paint Elderflowers using a cotton bud to create a spray of white flowers - or splatter the paint to see what effect you get.

Find out more about Hygge in the...

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Buttercup Play Ideas!

May 30, 2024

Ah the fields are bright and yellow with the delight of buttercups! I have such fond childhood memories of spending time in the uncut fields near my house. 

Whilst the buttercups are appealing, please take care as they are toxic if eaten and it's always best to handle with garden gloves on to reduce the risk of skin irritation. 

Here are some simple Buttercup Activity Ideas that you can enjoy over the next few weeks....

1. Play hide and seek in the long swishy grass and buttercups

2. Choose a spot to just sit and observe them. Who visits them? How do they smell? Notice their shiny and reflective petals. How do you feel when you sit amongst these? Why not take a picnic?

3. Run free through a field of buttercups. Feeling the buttercups across your hands as you run. 

You might be wondering where all the fancy resource set ups and invitations to play are here. Have we missed them out of this blog post?

No!

I often get asked ,'Am I not doing my...

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10 Ideas for Ladybird Nature Play

May 27, 2024

Ladybirds are a beloved and valuable part of our natural world. It is lovely to find them in the garden or out and about in parks.

Some interesting facts about Ladybugs:

  • From the beetle family.

  • Common colors include red, yellow, and orange with black spots, but some species can be black with red or yellow spots. 

  • There are about 5,000 species of ladybirds worldwide. 

  • The seven-spot ladybird is one of the most familiar species in Europe. 

  • The bright colors and spots of ladybirds serve as a warning to predators that they are toxic or distasteful. 

  • When threatened, ladybirds can secrete a yellowish fluid from their leg joints, which has a foul taste and can deter predators. 

  • Ladybirds are essential for natural pest control in gardens and agricultural fields, helping to reduce the need for chemical pesticides. 

  • Ladybirds are often considered symbols of good luck and are associated with various folk beliefs and superstitions around the...

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7 Ways to Get Barefoot in Nature Today!

May 20, 2024

Young children love to be free and take off their clothes. Yet we can be so quick to cover them up, especially their feet! Children in the UK are often given shoes even before they can walk. 

Being barefoot is so beneficial and we feel so much of the world through our feet. A study in the journal 'Frontiers in Pediatrics' has shown that children who spend most of their time barefoot have increased motor skills and are better in jumping and balancing. 

Many teachers and forest school leaders here in the U.K share their experiences of children lacking in co-ordination and balance when moving around the uneven forest floor. 

When we spend time indoors we are greatly limiting the types of surfaces children learn to walk on and get used to moving around on. These are normally smooth and firm with no roughness or bumps.

When we take our shoes and socks off outdoors we are also connecting our bodies directly to nature which benefits our wellbeing too. Helping our...

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50 Great Nature Based Children's Books

May 01, 2024

I have created a list of over 50 wonderful nature based children's books to support our Rewilding your Wanderlust Child Nature Study.

Do let me know your favourite nature books.

Slow Down: Bring Calm to a Busy World with 50 Nature Stories

Seasons

Watch six breathtaking landscapes transform in front of your eyes in this beautifully illustrated book.

Once Upon a Raindrop: The Story of Water

Footprint

Hooray for Hoppy: A First Book of Senses

The Rhythm of the Rain

Wind (Whatever the Weather)

Snow (Whatever the Weather)

Tree: Seasons Come, Seasons Go

Explore the beauty of the changing seasons in this timeless peek-through book with gorgeous artwork.

The Big Book of Nature Art

From bestselling author Yuval Zommer, The Big Book of Nature Art is packed with twenty-two easy art activities inspired by nature. 

 

Nature's Treasures: Tales Of More Than 100 Extraordinary Objects From Nature

Nature's Treasures is a stunning nature encyclopedia for young readers...

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8 Play Ideas with Dandelions

Apr 25, 2024

Dandelions are beautiful, fascinating plants! Attracting Bees and little hands a like. There is nothing sweeter than blowing a dandelion clock and making a wish! They're known for their bright yellow flowers that turn into fluffy, white seed heads. Despite being considered weeds by many, they have several interesting characteristics. For example, their seeds are dispersed by the wind, which is why you often see them popping up in unexpected places. Additionally, dandelion greens are edible and nutritious, containing vitamins A, C, and K, as well as calcium, iron, and potassium. Some people even use dandelion roots to make tea or coffee alternatives. Overall, they're resilient and adaptable plants that have found their way into folklore, cuisine, and even herbal medicine.

  1. Dandelion Biscuits

    Baking together is a lovely activity, working together and sharing what you have made.

  2. Dandelion Playdough

    Add dandelions to your homemade playdough mix for a spring dough.

  3. Loose Parts

    What can...

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Should learning be beautiful?

Apr 23, 2024

I have heard people say:

'Children don't need beautiful set ups in their play. This has only been created for the adult.'

My personal belief here is that like most things in life we need balance.

We need reflection.

We must go back to the child.

We can create invitations to play that pay great attention to detail because we are responding to an emerging interest and we want to captivate the child's awe and wonder even more. We want them to be excited about the possibilities of deepening this learning or fascination so we present it to them in an open ended and irresistible way.

I also know that amazing learning happens when things are a bit more rustic and even messy! Exploring the patterns the numicon plates leave in the shaving foam, the changes to the clay when it's been left outside in the rain or the cardboard box that's been transformed into Elsa's frozen castle with little more than the imagination.

Children and their learning needs can be neglected when we lose sight of...

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3 Ways To Add Hygge To Your Provision Today

Apr 15, 2024
There are many ways that we can inject that warm, cosy hygge feeling into your classroom, setting or home. To avoid overwhelm I have 3 tips that you can try today.
 

Step 1. Storytelling Opportunities

Happiness Psycholgist and author of The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living, MeiK Viking describes one of the aspects of hygge living is the pleasure that is found in everyday activities.
 
 
Storytelling plays a big part in finding joy and pleasure in life and especially so if it contains humour (which is shown to reduce the stress hormone!). The coming together for meals or the long walks in the wild offer many opportunities for telling stories in Scandinavia. Perhaps you could have a bigger focus on storytelling in your practice; outside, in the woods and in tiny nooks of your provision. You don’t need to set up a large area for story telling to happen in. An inviting invitation to play on a shelf will do, inside a box or even in a hat!...
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5 reasons why mirror play is important for babies

Mar 27, 2024

Seeing their own reflection in a mirror is magical and wonderous for babies. Do they recognise themselves? The awe and wonder of what else is reflected in the mirror, perhaps a parent, a favourite toy and their surroundings. Taking mirrors outdoors adds another dimension such as the trees, flora and fauna, the sky and clouds are also all reflected magically in the mirror. Babies will gaze for a long time into a mirror tray for example - trying to touch what they can see.

5 reasons why mirror play is important for babies:

1. Helping to develop visual senses

 

2. Encouraging gross motor movement - inspiring babies to reach and touch

Add some nature to a mirror tray, or droplets of water. This encourages sensory exploration, inviting them to reach out and touch the mirror and the items. Why not put on some music and have a little dance with your baby in front of the mirror. This is a fun way to encourage movement and coordination.

3. Developing a sense of self

Babies...

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Drizzle and Rainy Day Play

Mar 26, 2024
 

“Drizzle happiness wherever you go.”  A.D. Posey

Drizzle, damp and dreary weather may not have you excited for getting out into the outdoors with your children! In this blog post I want to share a few ideas of how you can turn the situation around and find joy on these types of days!

There is no such thing as bad weather only unsuitable clothing!

Embrace the rain! Dress for it - don the rainsuits and wellies, grab your brollies and go for a walk in the rain, splashing in the puddles as you go.

Walking under trees in the rain you can listen to the rain hitting the leaves above you. Look at the clouds, what colour are they? What can you smell? 

Embrace the rain and play with your water wall - these are easy to make with old guttering and a wooden pallet. Perhaps re create the nursery rhyme Ice Wincy Spider.

You don't have to be out for long.

When you get back from your adventures outside here are some cosy and warm ideas to enjoy:

  1. Discuss why it rains...
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