Mamma's School

Home Education Adventure

Tag: Nature based learning (Page 1 of 3)

Flower Pounding – Nature’s Art

flower pounding, nature's art, art with nature, outdoor art, flower art, www.mammasschool.co.ukFlower pounding is a very effective way of doing art with nature.  My trio love doing this because it so easy and very effective.  We also love seeing how our results change over the course of the four seasons.

 

 

 

 

So what supplies are required for flower pounding?

Very few?!  Any shape or size of cotton based material…plain is better as your results will be more visible.  You need to bear in mind that whatever you choose, the material needs to be large enough to place the flowers on one side and then fold in half.  You then need to pick a good selection of flowers and leaves.  When we pick our leaves for flower pounding we look for ones that would make good patterns.  For example, bracken with their fronds are good, or something similar.  With the flowers anything with a good solid colour will work well.  Then you just need a hammer.

Now you are all set to go….

Place your material flat, and start laying your leaves and flowers onto one half of the material.  You can either do this randomly, or think about the end result you would like and put more thought it into it.  My trio are all about the colours and patterns at the moment, so lay them out randomly.  You then need to fold the other half of the material over the top so the foliage is covered by the material.

 

Now you tap, tap, tap very gently with your hammer.  Too hard or fast and the hammer will shred the material.  Make sure you are firm enough though to see the colour coming through the material.  Go over all the edges of the leaves and flowers to get the best definition results.  You also need to do this on a firm surface.  As you can see we have chosen our garage floor, rather than the lawn (too squishy with all the moss!), or the decking (didn’t want hammer shaped dents all over it!!).  Once you think you have finished, open the material up and brush off the “crumbs” of the foliage, and you will be left with a lovely colourful pattern.  One of ours turned out very much like a butterfly but this was completely accidental!!  Nevertheless the children were very happy it did 🙂

 

 

 

The Cotswold Farm Park – A Day on the Nation’s Favourite Farmers’ Farm.

Heading to a farm for a spring day out, a few days before Easter, is always such a lovely thing to do with the family.  On a recent trip back to the UK, we were staying with my parents who were keen to treat their children and grandchildren to a day out at Adam Henson’s Cotswold Farm Park.  His father first started the farm back in the 1970’s to try and help some rare breeds, and since then he has taken over this rather famous place.  It is growing all the time and has become very successful.  We headed off to enjoy a slightly cooler, but still dry, spring day on the farm.

There is a lot to do there, and if you are a local, it is worth a few visits there to make sure you have seen everything.  We started the day with a tractor safari around the farm.  This was a good way to get our bearings and see what things there were to do, and where it all was.  It was a very informative ride, as the driver told us about the history of the farm and the breeds they have as we went round.

As you can imagine, there were babies everywhere!!!  They have a large lambing barn, and they are keen for you to be able to experience as much as possible, so if are lucky you can see a live birth.  My father was, and he watched some triplets being born.  One didn’t make it sadly, but he was able to see mum settle in with her other 2, and by the time we got there, they were only 20 minutes old.  The trio were slightly confused by the pink tinge of the newborn lambs, but after a brief biology lesson, they’d learnt something else.  It was so lovely being able to get so close and to see so much going on.

The trio were very involved; stroking lambs, kids, holding bunnies and chicks, admiring piglets, tickling guinea pigs, and bottle feeding the lambs and kids too.  They loved being so hands on.  We’d also bought 4 bags of animal feed, and there was a very good walk around the fields of the farm, allowing us to stop and feed the animals along the way.  The majority were hand fed, but the cows had a little chute that you poured the feed down into their trough.  All the animals were so docile and very friendly.  The most laid back farm animals I have ever seen.

It was a really lovely day out, very hands on, and the trio learnt a lot too.  We could easily go back though and enjoy it again!!

The Cotswold Farm Park, Rare breeds farm, children's farm, farm day out, farming, www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

Country Kids

Spring Pond Dipping – Watching Nature Wake Up After Winter

We are back into our Nature Curriculum again now that spring has started to arrive, and nature is finally waking up here in Sweden.  It seemed a nice idea, on such a sunny afternoon, to head down to the pond to do a spot of pond dipping and pond studying.  The weather has been so sunny, less windy, and dryer, so we even took our nature journals with us to do outside while we had our subjects there to study.  Sure enough once we arrived, we could see all the ice had melted, the sun was warming the water nicely, and instantly we could spot frogs swimming around and playing peekaboo on the surface.  My three were really excited.

The frogs were literally suspended in the water, very still, enjoying a good old sunbathe in their pond.  They were so funny, and very easy to see.  They were huge!  We were convinced we may have actually been looking at toads, but then spotted they did in fact have webbed back feet, making it more probable these were in fact frogs (along with a few other pointers).  Our little lady managed to help me catch one to get a closer inspection, and then she headed back to the pond, and came back with a tadpole/nearly frog specimen to examine too.  At this point, having done something that resembled more fishing than pond dipping, all thoughts of pond dipping went out of the window.  My trio had more than enough in these 2 fine specimens to keep them busy for a few hours!  I had hoped to locate some frogspawn, as last year we didn’t manage this either.  I thought as it had only just stopped snowing a week ago, and we still had freezing temperatures until a few days ago, we might have got lucky.  However, the parts of the pond we could access (very dense woodland surrounding it), didn’t give us any sightings of frog spawn.

We retreated a safe distance from the pond, and found a nice clearing to sit in.  No such thing as a nice ready made pond dipping platform here, as nature is left to its own devices so you need to blend in with it to study it!  We got our nature journals out and our pencil cases, and started sketching the two specimens we had found.  We chatted at this point about what they were, whether they were frogs or toads, and the main differences about them.  We also discussed the way they lived and their habitat as well, making notes in our journals as we went along (well, I added it in for the mini men, who will benefit one day!).  It was so lovely to be finally back outside sketching again in the sunshine, even if we were still well wrapped up.

After a while, the children headed off to climb trees while I lit the Kelly Kettle to make a warm drink.  They were going to have a warm drink and marshmallows while we read this week’s book (“By Pond and River” by Arabella Buckley) and this week’s poem (“A Friend in the Garden” by Julia Horatia Ewing).  

Today we had such a lovely time watching nature waking up after the long very cold Swedish winter, and already, just a week on from our last snowfall, nature is already very awake!!  The children loved being able to see such fine specimens so easily, and also were very pleased to catch a couple themselves (all specimens were gently returned afterwards).  They learnt so much this afternoon as the sheer pleasure of the situation was motivating, and the hands on experience will not be easily forgotten, and all to the background music of sea eagles calling to each other all throughout the afternoon 🙂

Spring pond dipping, pond study, frogs, pond life, spring www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

 

The Nature Curriculum we use is, “Exploring Nature with Children. A complete, year-long curriculum”. It is a beautifully written framework, written by Raising Little Shoots, and can be found over at https://raisinglittleshoots.com/ It suggests a topic for the week, and then provides some background information and suggestions for nature journaling and outdoor exploring. It also provides a comprehensive suggested reading list (fiction and non-fiction) for each week, plus a poem and a piece of art to study. There are extensions activity ideas too. We use the topic as the theme for our week, and follow the ideas for our journaling, and one fiction book. What we have been doing from the curriculum can be found on our curriculum overview post. The craft, science, maths, and English ideas we have researched ourselves to fit in with the theme 🙂 This makes a learning a lot more nature based.

 

Country Kids

Wooden Nesting Box-How to Make a Bird House.

Our little lady came to us one sunny morning, having decided she would like to build a bird’s nesting box for our garden.  I have always been an advocate of letting children use tools such as saws, drills, and hammers (under adult supervision), so I thought this was a great little project for her to do….but not so great for me.  It involved measuring and being precise, so over to Dadda went the project!

 

So before I go into the nitty gritty about the actual nesting box build, I want to explain a little why I feel it is important for children to be able to handle these adult tools.  Mine have handled them previously doing crafts at forest school, under the supervision of forest school leaders, and also at home to build simple things under my supervision.  In fact they have a box in the garden, full of wooden, a box of nails, and three short handled hammers, just for their use.  Using such tools will require co-ordination, and having a project to build requires the use of creativity and imagination, not to mention using skills such as measuring.  Using the tools gives the children responsibility and they learn to behave accordingly, and it heightens their sense of awareness as consequences for lack of it are more serious.  Plus they lead to a real meaningful experience, it’s tangible, memorable, and the learning that comes from such an experience is immense.  With all that in mind, I sent her off with her Dadda to construct their nesting box.

First of all they drew up some basic plans.  The little lady explained the shape she wanted to have, and Dadda helped her measure, and show her how to draw a plan to work from.  Then they set off into the garage for two days.  It is a good time of year to be building this as the birds around us have just started nesting.  We are really hoping for some visitors.  In our previous garden in the UK, the only garden birds we had were oversized pigeons and starlings, but here we have such a vast variety.  Plus the wildlife surrounding us is so rich and diverse.  We have woodpeckers 100m away in the wood, herons 200m another way, and I’ve come home to see a sea eagle looking very out of place in our garden tree!!  They found some old wood in the garage and set sawing the component parts they required.  Once they had all of those, they needed to drill a front door for the home owners, and then hammer the lot together.  We have placed it in a tree near our very successful bird feeder, hoping to draw attention to it!

Both the little lady and Dadda were very proud of their “scandi” nesting box!!!  I hope we have spurred you on with our post to let you children wield a “grown up” tool or two to complete a little project 🙂

Wooden Nesting Box -How to Build a bird hows, children's woodwork, childrens carpentry, www.mammasschool.co.uk

Play Is Learning-Let Them Play!

“Play is the highest form of research.”

(Albert Einstein)

As parents, we are under pressure (both from ourselves and society) to ensure that our children do not miss out on anything, and succeed in everything.  Consequently, this has led to the normality of scheduling our children’s days, quite often, from the moment they wake, until the moment they collapse into bed.  The activity that loses out in all this way of living, is play.  Simple, free, and unstructured.  As parents, we like to know that our children are doing well, succeeding, and see progress.  It validates that we are doing a good job, our children are being given opportunities, and as parents we are being proactive and encouraging.  But what if we have got this all wrong, and have gotten swept away with the notion that this is what our children need?  What if I told you life could be a lot more simple, cheaper, and less stressful for everyone.  After all, those activities all cost money, parental time in taxi driving and support, and a lot of hurrying up in the process to get everywhere.  I’m going to go through the evidence now of why we should let them play, and more importantly, why play IS learning, and we should just trust the process more.

Children are not designed to be sitting still in confined spaces, and they often learn a lot better while they are moving.  As grown ups we need to think outside the box more, and view any play space as a learning potential space.  Play can happen anywhere, and so that means learning can happen everywhere.  One of the big things about play is that there are no rules to follow or curriculum, the child can just follow their interests.  Then there is much more motivation to carry on with the subject, and they are more receptive to the learning opportunities.  For the older ones, there are no negative associations with play.  It’s not school “work” or home “work”, so they are a lot happier.  If something is fun, a lot more is being absorbed and taken on board.

Art, craft, and creating is an especially positive form of play for children.  It has been shown to make their brains grow, and provide an environment for creativity and the expression of feelings.  However, this needs to be child led and unstructured.  Leave the supplies out and let them get on with it.  Letting the child lead in all types of play is the key to getting the best learning from the experience of play.  Children are always experimenting in their play as well, with various objects and solutions.  They measure, they pour, and they make various potions and solutions.  This is them naturally doing science as play, and it really does work.  I found my daughter once in the bathroom, surrounded by bubbles and her younger twin brothers, blowing different solutions through different shapes, having a blast learning what worked and what didn’t work.  Not only was she learning, but she was teaching too.

My trio love their Lego and their puzzles.  Once adults open their eyes a little more, we can understand that these toys are providing opportunity to learn about shape, size, order, and logic.  All really important skills.  We also encourage our trio to play games, such as happy families, with each other.  As well as the interaction with others they get from not using a screen, they are learning to take turns and share.

A lot of our play is in the great outdoors.  This environment not only increases strength, flexibility, and coordination, but it increases the use of imagination.  There are no toys with a predefined use in the middle of a forest.  A stick can be a sword, a broom, or a wand 🙂 Imagination is the key factor for play to be effective.  There are less boundaries, less rules, and a lot more freedom for them to explore in the outdoors.  It encourages the use of natural learning tools and resources to learn.

Play is learning let them play play www.mammasschool.co.ukSo, I am going to be a little more specific with what exactly they are learning now, just in case you are still sitting on the fence about the importance of play versus practising those spellings one more time.  Children are learning to problem solve and be more creative.  It gives them more enthusiasm and therefore more motivation to learn.  They have more curiosity stemming from a natural interest and ability to be able to follow their interests (not something grown ups have predetermined for them).  It can increase their confidence levels which are required to help them engage in new experiences.  They develop their concentration levels further.  Nothing can interrupt some imaginative play scenario that is going on between an Octonaut and a dinosaur!!  It reduces their stress levels – this one I want to just talk a little more about.  Due to their fight or flight pathways being activated in play (which is the same pathway that stress activates), they get exposed to stress (in a pleasant way), which then makes them less responsive to stress, and they are able to regulate it more effectively.  Just look at the amount of emotional disorders that are now present in people’s lives…….as children’s classroom/homework time has increased, along with more scheduled activities in their lives too, so has the amount of anxiety and depression disorders.

In conclusion, parents and schools need to give children more provision for play…not adult let, or guided play activities, but child led and unstructured  time.  We need to trust that this is better for them than more homework after a full day in the classroom.  We need to trust the learning.

“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning, but for children play is serious learning.  Play is really the work of childhood.”

(Fred Rogers)

Play is learning-let them play, unstructured play, play is important, play www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

 

Make a Flower Press – A Fun Way to Collect Nature’s Craft Resources

Flower pressing is hugely popular with my trio.  My little lady has a bought flower press (long before I became acquainted with sawing and drilling as something to let children use), but my mini men have to resort to a home made one of which we will show you how to do here.  Once you have pressed and preserved your pieces of nature, the ways to use them are limitless.  My trio love making and creating, and now we finally have a few flowers peeping through after the long, dark, and cold Swedish Winter, I am having to control their enthusiasm somewhat or else I’d have no flowers left in the garden!!  Flower pressing is the vogue in our home!

To make your own flower press you need to have the confidence and trust in your little people to let them wield some “grown up” tools.   I want to explain a little why I feel it is important for children to be able to handle these adult tools.  Mine have handled them previously doing crafts at forest school, under the supervision of forest school leaders, and also at home to build simple things under my supervision.  In fact they have a box in the garden, full of wood, a box of nails, and three short handled hammers, just for their use.  Using such tools will require co-ordination, and having a project to build requires the use of creativity and imagination, not to mention using skills such as measuring.  Using the tools gives the children responsibility and they learn to behave accordingly, and it heightens their sense of awareness as consequences for lack of it are more serious.  Plus they lead to a real meaningful experience, it’s tangible, memorable, and the learning that comes from such an experience is immense.  I kept this very simple for my double trouble, with no precision or measuring required…I had enough on my plate making sure they weren’t nailed to their own designs!!

You can be more precise and measure your wood etc, but we sawed roughly 2 same lengths of wood.  You need 2 pieces for each flower press.  Then drill holes through (at least 4), and insert screws and nuts (wing nuts would look nice, but we used whatever we had in our odd screws box).  Make sure you cut 4 pieces of cardboard that are the size of the wood, to place between the flowers that require pressing, and you are all set to go flower pressing!

This whole project can be done outdoors in its entirety but we had drizzle today, so headed indoors for the painting and cardboard adding!

In the past our little lady has made book marks, collages, and greetings cards, all using the flower pressing method.  Today though she was utterly engrossed in her own idea of a nature guide.  She pressed various spring flowers from around the garden.  Then she stuck them into a journal she had made from cutting paper and taping the sheets together.  Then she added a flower to a page, and using a gardening book, wrote a little piece about each flower!  This was all her own initiative and she passed a whole day away immersed in her little project.  I think she will add to it as the seasons progress as well.

Flower Pressing, flower press, how to press flowers, make a flower press, pressed flower crafts www.mammasschool.co.ukMake a flower press, flower pressing, flower pressing craft www.mammasschool.co.uk

Mini Pond Installation-An Easy Guide to Make a Fun Pond.

Reading a link-up post on another blog ( http://www.acornstem.co.uk ), I discovered there was an easy way to add pond life to our garden.  We could make a mini pond.  My trio love pond dipping, and AcornSTEM’s post was fantastic with its step by step guide.  It was a real incentive to try and do this myself.  I researched it a little more first, and came across the RSPB’s own guide “Create a Mini-Pond”  https://ww2.rspb.org.uk/get-involved/activities/give-nature-a-home-in-your-garden/garden-activities/createaminipond/ .  It reassured me that it was a good time of year (spring) to make one, as we’d see it develop quite fast in the next few months.  It can be made at other times of the year too, but it would mature more slowly.  So, I got my thinking cap on for a tub that could be our pond, and planned to do it the next day with the trio.

I found an old bucket with a broken handle that we didn’t use for anything, and thought that would be perfect for our mini pond.  We then needed to choose a location.  There were a couple of factors that needed to be considered with this.  First of all it doesn’t want to be in a place where the sun will shine on it all day long, so sometimes sunny, sometimes shady is good.  Secondly, it needs some vegetation around it.  So if there is none when you plant it, be prepared to pop some in afterwards.  The vegetation will provide cover and perches for wildlife.  Our mini pond area has some old tree stumps around it, and is in a newly made flower bed.  So, although it is a work in progress, there are imminent plans to grow things there once our weather in Sweden warms up a little (you can see our spring bulbs just peeping through).  Thirdly, it needs to be in a safe place, as even a small body of water can be a hazard for small children (she says with a massive old well in her garden!).  I have placed ours somewhere where the trio aren’t supposed to walk (a flower bed) with perches in the form of the tree stumps to provide a more mental barrier to it as well.  We dug our hole, and stuck our bucket in.  We left it sticking out a few centimetres so any mini beasts that are land dwellers, shouldn’t accidentally bimble into it.

We have a lot of rocks in our garden, so I sent the trio off to find 3 or 4 large ones to place in the bottom of the pond.  This will give any mini beasts some hiding places and cover if they require it.  Next in was a large stick/branch reaching up from the rocks, out onto the tree stumps.  This is an emergency exit for any land dwellers that do accidentally stumble into it, so they can climb back out again.

It then needed filling up.  You can do this with tap water, but it will take longer to be colonised due to the treatment it undergoes.  Luckily we have a water butt full of water.  I also want to shift the said unsightly water butt from its current location, but am unable to due to the fact it keeps filling up with water, and I haven’t got round to scooping it out yet!  Today we made a start on scooping the water out, and carrying it over to our mini pond.  Do not be tempted to fill it with pond water from another pond, as you are making those mini beasts move house!!

After that was all done, we decorated around it with some more of our surplus rocks, and now will just sit back and wait to see if it starts teeming with life!  Hopefully, in a few weeks I will have a positive update for you!

 

 

 

Make a mini pond make a pond instructions gardening garden wildlife pond life www.mammasschool.co.uk

************************please be aware that even small bodies of water provide a hazard to young children, so do not leave them unattended with the mini pond*****************************************************

Thimble and Twig

Slippery Snails Art and Craft Ideas.

Slippery snails art and craft ideas snail craft snail art www.mammasschool.co.ukWe have been studying snails in the Nature Curriculum.  Slightly hindered by the snow on the ground, so admittedly it has been mainly theory based.  However, it hasn’t stopped us enjoying some snail art and craft.  We had lots of ideas, but just did three.  I have to rein myself in sometimes as there is so much I want to do with them, but that makes it all a rush, rather than a chilled afternoon creating.  Check out my snail pinterest board for more ideas

https://uk.pinterest.com/mammasschool/nature-curriculum-snails/

 

 

Our first idea was spotty dotty snails.  There was paint in tubs on the table, and each one had a cork in.  The children then made snails by dotting various colours of paint with the corks 🙂  I love (and so do they by the way!) using alternatives to paint brushes, just to show them that thinking outside the box is fine.  You don’t have to paint with a paint brush because that is they way everyone usually does it.  They loved the results, and we had three very different pictures, depending on how they had decided to use their corks.

Our second idea involved using paper plates for shells.  First of all the trio drew a snails body on cardboard before cutting it out.  Next they decorated the paper plate shell in any way they desired, before gluing it onto the body.  We used pipe cleaners for antennae.

slippery snail art and craft ideas snail art snail craft www.mammasschool.co.uk

The final craft was using Hama beads.  These are very popular in our home, and ours are out and used almost everyday.  It is very rare for Dadda and I to go up to bed and not find some sort of Hama bead creation gift left on our pillows by any one of the trio.  This one is our little lady’s creation…all her favourite colours!!

I hope you have enjoyed reading about our craft ideas, and will have a go yourself 🙂

 

Spring Crafts-9 Sunny Spring Craft Ideas.

Spring crafts 9 sunny spring craft ideas spring equinox www.mammasschool.co.ukHaving had the spring equinox on Monday 20th March, we have used this as our theme this week.  So all our crafting has been spring crafts.  Lots of lovely fun sunny spring craft ideas, to make us feel that we are finally saying goodbye to our long winter (and hat wearing).

 

 

 

The first of our spring crafts is a finger painted garden.  You first need to do the background.  A band of green on the bottom, a thin band of yellow above, and a wider band of blue above that for the sky with fingerprints.  You can then add thumbprints in a variety of colours for flower heads.  We have also added some dots of contrasting colour in the centre of some of ours, as well as a few random stems.  All our smaller dots were done with cotton buds.

Next up we have fork flowers!  My trio loved doing this, as they love using anything but brushes to paint with.  We painted some green stems with brushes, and then added different coloured flower heads with forks dipped in paint.  Sometimes I think these crafts are quite simple for our little lady who is 9.  However, she loves doing them, and that is the main thing.  She is learning to think outside the box a little, and then she stays on at the table being creative more at her level with everything she has just learned.

Our third craft is a very effective hand print tree.  We brushed our hands in brown paint (created by mixing red and green as we don’t have brown!).  We then did a hand print on the paper that served as the branches and tree trunk.  Next we used ear cleaners to make the blossom effect.

 

 

 

Continuing with the blossom theme, it is spring after all, our next piece was similar but using a different technique.  This time we painted a brown branch.  Then we used the bottom of a fizzy pop bottle, dipped in paint, to make the blossom print marks.  This was the first time we had used pop bottles to paint, and it was very effective.

 

 

We then went onto some spring mini beasts. We cut a leaf from green card, that we had drawn on.  We then stuck pom poms onto the leaf to make our very own hungry caterpillar.

 

 

They enjoyed making a caterpillar so much, we stuck with that mini beast, and created one from a paper plate.  We cut a section of paper plate rim and decorated it.  The trio then styled a face/antennae to their fancy, and stuck it onto the front of the plate.

 

Naturally, having done caterpillars, they wanted to move onto butterflies, so we did just one today (lots and lots of ideas!!).  My trio each drew a butterfly shape on card.  They then cut this out.  They painted one side and folded it in half to make the pattern across all of the wings.  We then sliced the top portion of a bendy straw, to pull apart for antennae, and glued the rest of the straw into the middle of the wings.

The penultimate idea for spring crafts was an egg carton flower.  We cut a four section of cups from the carton, each painting theirs to their own tastes.  We stuck a bright pom pom in the centre, and a straw as the stem.  Easy peasy!

 

 

 

The last of our spring crafts ideas was to actually use a little bit of nature itself and do some nature threading.  We collected various items from around the garden, and used a needle and thread to thread them together.  The trio made their various creations, and then we used them to decorate their bedrooms for a few days.

I hope you have enjoyed reading about our spring crafts, and have as much fun doing them as we did 🙂

Spring Crafts 9 sunny spring craft ideas spring art fun www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

 

Thimble and Twig

Nature Curriculum Week 25 – Snails.

Snails nature learning www.mammasschool.co.ukThe month of March in the Nature Curriculum, is a difficult one for us.  Everything is still very much still asleep here in Sweden.  The temperatures are still below freezing, and snow is still falling from the sky.  There are signs that spring is on its way with more daylight hours, and a lot more birdsong, but it takes a lot longer to get going here!  So, I juggled the weeks around, choosing to do snails this week, as I thought we could find some.  Well, I was very wrong!!  I have done a lot of research for extension activities (see my pinterest page https://uk.pinterest.com/mammasschool/nature-curriculum-snails/ ) but we couldn’t do a lot of them without an actual snail!!  So, we have done the theory and a little bit of craft (blog post to come), and we have tried our best!  Luckily all three children remember snail races and other activities we did late last spring back in the UK, so all is not lost!

For our nature journals we sketched a picture from an image on the computer, in the absence of a real model!  We looked at a snail’s anatomy, their habitat, and their diet.  We learnt about how they move and travel, and the best fact was that they had little tongue like organs covered in tiny razor teeth like things to grind their food up!  The children learnt they have no backbone (invertebrates), and belong to the phylum mollusc. They learnt that the large foot the snail has, places them into the gastropod class.  The trio also had a printed off snail diagram to label (the twins and I did it together due to the lack of reading skills, but they enjoyed the process of labelling).

This week’s fiction book is “The Adventurous Snail” by Dick King Smith.  We are enjoying the tale still as it is a longer story and needs to be read in a few sittings.  We also dug out Julia Donaldson’s “The Snail and the Whale” which is a firm favourite for all three of the children.  The poem this week was “Snail” by Langston Hughes.

We have still learnt quite a bit about snails, but we were unfortunately unable to do any practical work with them.  We’ve still had fun though with what we have done 🙂

 

 

The Nature Curriculum we use is, “Exploring Nature with Children. A complete, year-long curriculum”. It is a beautifully written framework, written by Raising Little Shoots, and can be found over at https://raisinglittleshoots.com/ It suggests a topic for the week, and then provides some background information and suggestions for nature journaling and outdoor exploring. It also provides a comprehensive suggested reading list (fiction and non-fiction) for each week, plus a poem and a piece of art to study. There are extensions activity ideas too. We use the topic as the theme for our week, and follow the ideas for our journaling, and one fiction book. What we have been doing from the curriculum can be found on our curriculum overview post. The craft, science, maths, and English ideas we have researched ourselves to fit in with the theme 🙂 This makes a learning a lot more nature based.

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