Mamma's School

Home Education Adventure

Category: 30 Days Wild (Page 1 of 4)

Lets Go Fly a Kite!

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Reach for the skies (or kite!)

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IMG_8786So we have decided to attack the National Trust’s 50 things to do list with great gusto, and we are looking forward to having a lot of fun doing it, during our last few months in the UK.  It will give us enforced breaks from the lists and packing too.  First up was to fly a kite.  This is actually something we do quite regularly living on the coast, but usually it’s part of our day.  Today we set out for a perfect, hilly, quiet, and windy spot, which also meant we could unspool the kite to its full length so it “could touch the clouds”, something we’d never done before.  On the beach there is the water for it to travel across (if they let go of it), the light aircraft taking off right over our heads, and too many other seaside goers to get entangled if we didn’t have it under a bit of control.  But the whole feeling of kite flying is the letting go, and the freedom of flying and just being.  I have a great flying pocket kite that is kept in (as Princess Evie would say) my rucksack of really useful things.  I carry around the tiniest of rucksacks, but it seems to hold a lot, and we are never without it.  In fact I often think it’s like a Mary Poppins bag…it’s a tiny Dakine thing but in there we have; spare pants (not mine!), 4 pairs of sunglasses, Anthisan, hand cleaner, a carrier bag to sit dry bottoms on wet ground on, dog poo bags, small mirror, plasters, resus mask, herbal teabags, £1 coin for various lockers and trolleys, tissues, wet wipes, pens, geocaching swaps, eye cream, and of course a kite 🙂 (plus my wallet and phone).  I have digressed somewhat!!  Off we headed on our purely kite flying hour or so!

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find the tiny dot of a kite!

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They all took turns having a fantastic fly, and many times over.  They learnt how a small jerk of their hand could have such a dramatic diving effect on the kite, and giggled at the moves they were making with it.  They loved unspooling the whole length of cord, and thought I was living very daringly (which says a lot about me unfortunately!!).  It was a great afternoon, and I lay on my back in the long grass watching the kite, listening to their giggles and advice sharing, whilst the birds sang.  If they got bored of waiting to fly the kite, they just seemed to take themselves off down the hill and back up again for a couple of grid sprints – mad children!  We then pottered home to fill out our National Trust books….

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Day 30-Clouds and Dreaming.

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I have always had a fascination with clouds.  Their floaty, light, no responsibility freedom, drifting across the sky.  I find them hypnotising.image

It first started when I was revising as a teenager.  I would look out of the window in front of me over the green hills in Cheltenham, and get absorbed in the calmness of the clouds drifting by.  I find them very relaxing, and now I love lying on my back watching them drift over.  It’s one of the few things that makes me truly switch off.  Clouds allow us to use our imagination, young or old, to find pictures in the sky.  You also can learn from them, something I am looking forward to doing in the not so distant future with my trio.  A whole day learning about clouds…..lying on our backs on the beach 😉

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imageWe have had a fantastic time doing the 30 days wild challenge, and I hope you have enjoyed following us.  Those of you who know us, realise that our daily nature experiences, that are at the centre of our home education journey, will continue 🙂  It’s been a crazy month; going on one big Mamma’s School adventure with our trio, going from south to north on an adventure for a wedding, and losing our fur-baby who enjoyed our days in nature with us, as much as we did.  It’ll be strange continuing our journey without him, but we have  many more adventures planned.

Day 29-Nature is my Therapy.

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With the children clamouring to go “treasure hunting” again (geocaching), and having not been outside since forest school on Friday (apart from the awful trip to the vets, and a brief walk last night when I didn’t know where to put my hands with not having to hold a dog), I knew it was time to save my own sanity and head outside into nature.  Nature is after all therapy for the mind.  Nature is known to induce calm and decrease stress, as well as increasing happiness.  Nature is food for our minds, like food and water are for our bodies.  This is because the natural environment places no demands on us, yet it remains engaging.  It gets our attention in different ways.  It can promote calmness and well being due to being a low stress environment.

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Nature can help increase our happiness levels, which mine could do with at the moment!  The breathing in of fresh air, combined with taking exercise with a nice view, all helps to put your mind into a happier place.  Nature makes us healthier.  It increases our exposure to natural light, which in turn helps increase our vitamin D levels.  This helps prevent some health problems, but also being outdoors helps improve sleep, decreases stress, and increase energy…something else I’ve been lacking in.  When we are outdoors together, with no distractions such as housework, jobs, or work, we are all sharing an activity and creating memories that again gives therapy to our minds.  The children are reaping the benefits too.  My trio are always happier in big open spaces, running free.  It gives them a sense of freedom that you don’t get from being indoors.  It impacts their health too, helping prevent health conditions, a big one in their generation being obesity.  It also helps children focus more after being outdoors, which in turn can increase learning (even better if the learning is in the outdoors environment).  It helps increase their confidence.  After being outdoors for three hours this morning walking and looking for caches in the summer weather of wind and rain, they were quite happy to play with the play dough this afternoon for over two hours at the kitchen table.

IMG_8789If you are lucky too, you will be rewarded with a very quiet lunch preparing half hour 😉 as they all stripped their waterproofs and wellies off, and plonked themselves on the sofa, asking for stories on the CD player!!

 

 

 

Whilst, I’m not naive enough to think that all of my troubles, or anyone else’s, will be washed away by a walk in nature, immersing oneself in it for a few hours certainly made me feel more like myself.  Our little lady commented on the way back how much Jack would have enjoyed that as it was such a long walk…although last week when geocaching with him, he did get a little confused as to why we disappeared into bushes for such long periods of time!!! 🙂

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Our Jack in his first few days with us 12.5 years ago xxxx

 

Day 28-Play, Play, Play!

TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_28It’s short and sweet today, due to me feeling a little more than just down in the dumps!  The children have had one of those amazing completely unstructured days that sees them use every scrap of paper, sellotape, and string that exists in the craft supplies, tell stories to each other in the pop up campervan tent, beat off the baddies with sticks away from their campfires in the garden, and finish the day by bouncing in a heavy downpour on their trampoline 🙂  After an emotional rollercoaster ride since Saturday morning, it was just the kind of day they needed.  So, their random act of wild, was embracing the outdoors we have in our back garden, using their imaginations within that space, and completely enjoying whatever the elements threw at them with the sort of abandonment that only children have, and us adults are very jealous of.

 

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Day 26-Climbing Trees & One Last Family Outing.

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IMG_8728With our furry friend and companion now not eating and mainly sleeping, we decided to take one final family outing to one of his favourite spots, the beach.  This required some creativity with his transport method, as he now hadn’t moved himself for at least 24 hours.  We dug out the twins buggy that we’d hung onto for last weekends wedding, and took the bottom seat off.  This meant the top one could lie completely flat (something we’d never done having had a twin sat underneath it!), loaded it up with towels, and Jack fitted rather cosily into it.  The back of the buggy is completely open, which allowed him lovely views with which to watch the world go by, feel the fresh air, and smell the sea.  He was settled and comfortable, and enjoyed his outing.

On the outing our trio found a lovely climbable tree that they spent a long time investigating, having fun and getting their random act of wild in 🙂 A bit of fun and sunshine in an otherwise emotionally intense day.

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Day 25-Looking after our not so Wild Nature.

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It’s been a tough one today, getting up to find our 12 and a half year old Border Collie, Jack, suddenly couldn’t walk anymore.  So we’ve not been out in wild nature today, just chilling and looking after our own little bit of nature back in the home, giving lots of TLC and cuddles.

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Jack has always been slightly unique, in that I’ve never known a dog to have so many things go wrong, but not only that, just really random things.  He wouldn’t eat as a young puppy and adolescent, he’s had tonsillitis, he’s stood on one end of a stick and the other end has sprung up slicing through fur, skin, and muscle, needing surgery, and he’s had a broken leg from putting his foot in a rabbit hole, to name a few.  This time last year, we noticed he had started shuffling his back feet, and losing his balance occasionally.  He was then diagnosed with the doggy version of MS.  However, his degeneration has been very slow, and only recently he has been falling over more.  So although we knew this would happen one day, to go from trotting out for his evening business one night happy, to not being able to walk the next morning and too tired to bother about anything, was a great shock to us.  He hasn’t been able to move all day, so we’ve been feeding him some treats (yes, sausage and ice cream were up there, but even those he only had a few mouthfuls of), the children have joined me in pipetting water into his mouth, and we’ve all spent the day doing our activities around him in the kitchen, whether that’s Lego, cuddles, or just cooking.  Tomorrow we plan to try and get him into the bike trailer comfortably and push him down to the beach, a favourite spot of his, to give him a change of scenery and some fresh air, and one last family trip, before Monday morning arrives with, what I fear, will be a very hard decision we will have to make 🙁

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Day 24-Forest School & Meadow Sweeping.

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We have had another fantastic morning at Forest School, learnt new things, and even squeezed in a couple of sneaky geocache finds!  This morning we started in the meadow, and did some meadow sweeping.  This was fabulously easy for little people, yielding plentiful results, thus keeping their attention and interest, which in turn meant more learning.  It’s as easy as waving a net over or through long grass, and then tapping the residents into a bug pot for a bit of a closer inspection.  We had lots of various willing participants, and the children could use the laminated reference cards to see exactly what they had caught.  Not only in general terms, for example, a cricket, but in more specific terms finding out what type of cricket.  We had a lovely little juvenile cricket that was happy to wander around on our hands for ages, meaning we could get a really good look at him, and he would happily be passed into the children’s hands so the could feel the tiny tickle of his feet and get a real close up look of him.  In fact we had to put him on a plant in the end, as he wouldn’t hop off!

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After some sustenance of hot chocolates and biscuits, it was time to try the craft of making recycled paper with flowers and leaves in.  Shredded waste paper had been soaked in water, some white, some pink, and some green.  Flowers were place onto a grill with the gooey mash on top.  Water was then pressed, squeezed, and rolled out, to eventually reveal some very pretty paper.  It was hung up to dry while we headed off for our campfire.

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IMG_8693On today’s campfire menu it was toast.  The hazel stick ends were peeled, then bread threaded through the end.  This was held in the flames until toasted nicely, at which point children could add various toppings to their feast.

We also took a cheeky look at our new geocache app, and were delighted to see two, 300m each way of the parking place, that we could hunt for.  This was the boys first experience too, and it was a good one with both caches containing swap items.  They were also much easier than yesterdays for the children to spot, and we didn’t look like we’d just been dunked in a river!!  I also let them fill out the geocaching challenge in the National Trust book of 50 things to do before you are 11 3/4, as all three had now done it.  So, for day 24 lots of wild experiences….new mini beast hunting skills were learnt, new nature craft skills were learnt, new outdoor cooking skills were learnt, and our new skills of geocaching were practised and the twins were introduced to it 🙂

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Day 23 – Geocaching.

TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_23I have wanted to give this a go for a while now, since I saw it on the National Trust’s list of 50 things to do.  So for our random act of wild (very wild at times!) we downloaded the app, and headed off into the country park next to where we live.  Our little lady’s school friend was off school due to polling, so they came too, making a merry gaggle of 5 plus a wobbly dog. (Thursday is Mamma’s day so the twins were in nursery for the day).  My map reading is notoriously bad, so I was a little apprehensive we’d actually discover any of these, but I needn’t have worried so much about my orienteering skills, as the app is fantastic, more the undergrowth required to be beaten into submission to get to them!  Geocaching is an activity or pastime in which an item, or a container holding a number of items, is hidden at a particular location for GPS users to find by means of coordinates posted on the Internet.

IMG_8634There are different difficulties of routes that are graded on the app, and there are various types of caches, also annotated on the app.  We didn’t manage to look for any caches with contents in today, as they didn’t seem to be in the area we had chosen for our 2 hour bimble, but the three girls did seem to get addicted just by finding the log books in the couple we did locate, and I think it’s fair to say we were all hooked (except maybe the dog who was beginning to think we were bonkers, scrambling around in undergrowth in the same spot for ages, and making him walk through grasses taller than him where he totally disappeared!).  This image is of one of the caches, and the first one we found…we were amazed at the very real stone at the bottom of the blue barrel is in fact a fake, and hides a cache inside it!!  Steep learning curve as to how well these things are hidden.  The cache that we found hanging in the tree involved pushing on through long grasses (thigh height that wellies did nothing to prevent a soaking from, that then absorbed slowly down the trouser leg to the socks in the boots!!), followed by trying to wiggle in through brambles!  Despite all this discomfort, the girls did remain in high spirits, thoroughly enjoying this adventure 🙂

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We returned home after 2 hours of fresh air, time in nature, and outdoor play with a hint of adventure mixed in.  What could be more wild than being surrounded by undergrowth taller than you at 8 years old?!

IMG_8647You can just see the tops of the 8 year olds’ heads (there is a blonde one well camouflaged between myself and our little lady!) That’s how much in the undergrowth we were!

After a change of clothes, lunch, and some maths it was time to head off to our little lady’s extra dance classes in town, in preparation for her exams.  We got into town, and with a little time to spare, I turned the geocache app back on, and sure enough there were one or two within our range, so off we headed!!  We discovered a small one hidden behind some sort of telecom cabinet….no undergrowth or wet legs involved in this one.  To my little lady’s delight it was one with “things” in too, besides the cache log.  She spent a few moments investigating, signed the log, but decided not to swap anything, happy she’d made yet another discovery.  Tomorrow, we are going to try it all over again where we do forest school, so the mini men can have a go, and then I will let them all fill out their National Trust books with their findings 🙂

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Day 22 – Bees

TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_22Today saw a much needed return to our local home education group’s monthly meet up.  We have only been once before, and that was prior to our little lady finishing school, just to touch base and meet some people that were moving in the same direction with their children’s education.  This is something I need to get us to this more often as it is in a perfect environment for us (escaping would be hard for the mini men, lots of space, and outdoor area, plenty of children for ours to socialise with, and parents for me to talk to).  However, weighing that up against the fact that the weather is generally gorgeous on average one day a week, and it seems to have coincided with the meetups so far, and my plan to have my children outdoors in nature as much as possible, has seen me not be quite as regular as I would have liked us to have been.

IMG_8625Today there was a visit by a bee keeper to chat to the children.  I knew that this would be something that our little lady would love, and we decided to go, between trips out to kennels to pick up our dog, and a brownie trip to a mini railway!  Surely this could definitely count towards our 30 days wild?!  The mini men really surprised me too, by keeping quiet the whole way through, and really listening.  In this image, the queen bee can be seen with the white spot on her.  There was a lot to take in, and it seems like quite a complicated occupation to me, but a very interesting one.  The children were delighted too at being able to taste the bee keeper’s own bees’ honey (even mini man no.2 who doesn’t like honey is now a convert).

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Afterwards the children did some bee related art and craft whilst wandering up to the bees in their showcase and examining them in their own time and way.  Much to twin 1’s delight too there were scissors and sellotape…..these 2 items are his passion at the moment and he sat very quietly absorbed in snipping, pulling and cutting (and not sticking anywhere really) pieces of sellotape.  Important dexterity learning going on though!!

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Day 21 Chilled Days & Sunography.

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The day after bringing a family of 5 home from a trip away, involves a humongous amount of washing, so for that reason, the day was always going to be home based.  However, it turned into a lovely relaxing day with the children (and washing), that couldn’t have been any better had we planned it.  After doing the housework tasks, and our little lady’s maths and English, we all headed into the garden.  I needed to tackle our jungle a little, while they naturally padded out after me like three sheepdogs, to enjoy whatever the garden offered them for the day.  Soon there was a hive of activity with the toy pans and utensils, cutting petals up and mixing them into pixie dust (the mini men!) and perfume (the little lady).

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For our random act of wild today, I had invested in some sunography paper (solar powered photography), and had been waiting for a dry day for them to use it.  The idea was to collect different shaped leaves from the garden, place them on the paper (securing with stones on top), then leave it to the sun to do its work.  After a while, you then rinse the paper in water and a vivid blue print appears, as if by magic.  We were all fascinated (even though only one mini man had done it, I think the other one will next time as he was intrigued).

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It was from here, the day became even more successful and child led.  I wanted to use some new workbooks for writing, counting, and phonics with the mini men, but wanted to do them 1:1.  I was doing it with mini man no.1 and I was suddenly aware, that our little lady had set up a phonics game for the other twin in the garden (one she had made up), and she was teaching him!  Next she followed that with a numbers game for him.  So when I swapped twins for the workbooks, she collared the next one to play her games 🙂 double the learning for them!

During the afternoon I needed to potter around doing more mum jobs and reading with the mini men.  Just pausing for a moment to work out exactly what the trio were up to, I found them again fully immersed in their own little worlds.  Our lady and mini man no.2 were busy hammering and nailing an obstacle course together, while mini man no.1’s fascination with sellotape continues and he spent a delightful hour just “snipping”, stamping and sellotaping.

I always dread a day heavy with grown up jobs and tasks but today I loved doing it all to the background noise of their activities, although I may be very low on sellotape now, and rather drowning in rose petal water perfume 🙂

sky @happy hippy d

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