Tag: Nature curriculum (Page 1 of 6)

What Is Nature Based Learning – Tips To Get Started

What is nature based learning?  Nature based learning is a form of learning and development via the immersion in nature, which also has underlying conservation values as well.  It develops a life long connection to the natural world for the children, and puts nature at the centre of their learning.  I will go into the benefits of nature based learning another time, and you can find ideas for nature based learning here, but today I just want to give an overview of what nature based learning entails. 

Many authors have helped increase the awareness of the fact that children should be in the outdoors as much as possible.  One of my favourite reads about this topic is Richard Louv’s “Last Child In The Woods”, you can check out my other favourite outdoor reads here. In addition to this, the popularity and provision of things such as Forest Schools and Nature Preschools have also increased.

As a previously home schooling mum of three, we chose to base our learning around nature as much as possible, and I saw the benefits with their enthusiasm which then naturally lead to better and more fun learning experiences.  Nature draws most children and excites them to learn.  We would either learn about specific nature based topics, or we used nature as an accessory to another learning topic.  However, you will find that nature topics use a range of educational skills that are needed for their learning development.

What is Nature Based Learning & Tips To Get Started:

  1. Get outdoors!!  Take all subjects into the great outdoors.  Think of the outdoors as your classroom.  Be committed to getting outdoors in every season (however brief depending on your climate extremes!!), and invest in good outdoor gear to achieve this 🙂
  2. Nature props:  If you can’t be outdoors, bring nature indoors with you, and use it as props to aid your learning, still basing your subject around the presence of nature.
  3. Immersive experiences: Provide experiences which can be immersive and very hands on.  One of the main principles about nature based learning, and why it is so effective, is because of the interaction children are having with nature.
  4. Environmental activities: Taylor your learning activities with your local environment in mind, and change the types of environments you are visiting too, to broaden the experience.
  5. Pace setting: Let your child set the pace….don’t hurry or rush them.  Allow them time to explore and ask questions, and the direction the learning takes may even change!  It’s absolutely fine to have a plan, but allow for it to change and be encouraged by the learning that happens due to having the flexibility to do this.  

Good Resources For Nature Based Learning:

  1. A Nature Curriculum:  The nature curriculum we have used 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 extension activity ideas too. We used the topic as the theme for our week, and followed the ideas for our journaling, and one fiction book.
  2. The Almanac:  This is a yearly guide (so we are now using “The Almanac, A Seasonal Guide to 2018” by Lia Leendertz) that connects you to the months and seasons of the year through activities such as exploring the night sky, foraging, feast days and seasonal eating, and a few other subjects too. 
  3. Spotter books are a good place to start when exploring an environment, and can help identify what you are looking at as well.
  4. Forest Schools are springing up all over the place.  If your child is school aged or not home schooled (so you can’t attend this on a weekly basis), they very often have weekend/holiday activity days as well.
  5. There are lots of books out there as well for background reading about what is nature based learning.  I have already mentioned that I have written about my favourites  in another blog post 🙂

What is nature based learning in terms of how much or how little?  The great thing about nature based learning is that you can do it as much or as little as you want.  You can either take on a few learning activities or craft ideas, or you can immersive yourselves and your little ones into it completely and base their whole learning experience on this method.  You can pick and mix to find the balance that works for you, your children, and your family as a whole.

In the future I will write about the benefits of nature based learning, and nature based learning ideas, but in the meantime you can check out our  Nature Based Learning Category  for inspiration.

What is nature based learning - tips to get started, tips for nature based learning, nature, outdoor classroom, nature curriculum, forest school, www.mammasschool.co.uk

Ronneby Naturum – A Nature Based Learning Haven

Ronneby Naturum is set inside Ronneby Brunnspark – a huge outdoor nature area, with many walks, woods, play parks, ponds, and a swimming pool.  The nature centre itself literally took our breath away.  It is filled with fantastic exhibitions for both young and old, but what grabbed our attention and made it so great for the trio, was that it is so interactive, hands on, and there is nothing out of bounds to little fingers that like touching everything!  We have been to Ronneby Naturum a few times now, and one rainy afternoon we spent the entire time in there together with our nature journals, merrily sketching away.

As you enter Ronneby Naturum you immediately come across a very striking and visual exhibition (see the photo!) about lynx in Sweden.  My three just stood their gawping!  We have moved to a country with wildlife that really grabs their imaginations; bears, wolves, wild boar, älg (moose), and lynx are just some of what is here.  However, these are all very hard to see in real life, especially with three young children who give the wildlife plenty of warning that they are approaching, with their noise levels 🙂  So, to walk in and see this life sized lynx was fantastic, and really brought it home to them what is lurking out there.  We spent some time learning about them and looking at the areas where they live around and near us before being drawn further into the centre.

Another favourite was a transparent operational bee hive, which had an entrance/exit to the outdoors.  This was so good for the children to watch the bees so close up.  The emphasis is very much on being able to interact with exhibits.  This may take the form of sticking your hand into a container “blind” to work out what’s in there with just a written clue, feeding the fish in the tanks, pressing buttons to hear various animal/bird sounds (twin 1 can never resist a button so he was in his element), or just picking up and handling various exhibits that are laid out.

In our county (Blekinge), we are surrounded by water, with islands everywhere making up the archipelago we live on.  So, naturally there is a big exhibition about the coast and the marine life around our area.  The older ones can learn more about the geology, the biodiversity, why it is such a sensitive area of nature, and how we can fish or sail whilst protecting it.  Part of this exhibition is a sail boat which the children can board and pretend to sail the high seas.  It has moving parts to handle, sails to move, and benches to lift, under which reside very cute and fluffy cuddly mice and seals.  This was a revelation to us being allowed to climb on board such an exhibit, and when the staff saw my good old English reservation about children clambering over exhibits, they came and said the children must climb all over it!

The “lab” is another highlight of Ronneby Naturum.  This is a separate little room that you can lose yourself in for a good few hours!  It is full of stuffed wild animals from the forests, and exhibits you can pick up and handle.  Anything from snake skins, to stag beetles, to animal bones, animal antlers, and a whole heap of samples you can examine under one of the microscopes in there.  There are also a couple of aquariums in there.  It is such a lovely place, with so much to see, and it is also very cosy!

I thoroughly recommend a visit to Ronneby Naturum (but check the opening times first as they alter drastically day to day, and season to season).  You can easily spend a day in the park, with a visit to the naturum as part of it.  You can wander the woods blueberry picking in the early autumn, have lunch on one of the fire pits, and feed the ducks also.  There is also an ice cream kiosk serving delicious tasty treats too 🙂  Plus there is no charge for the park or its naturum.  Ronneby Naturum is a place we will be returning to many many more times.

Ronneby Naturum, Ronneby Brunnspark, Nature based learning, nature, home education, www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

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

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 Equinox Picnic-Celebrating the Vernal Equinox

The Spring Equinox Vernal Equinox www.mammasschool.co.ukThis week it has been the spring equinox, otherwise called the vernal equinox.  So, we deviated away from our nature curriculum to have a closer look and some fun with this instead.  So what is it?  It is technically when spring starts.  It is termed an equinox, as all over the globe day and night is roughly equal in length, being 12 hours each.  We are in the northern hemisphere so have the spring equinox, whilst in the southern hemisphere they are experiencing the autumnal equinox.  The day and night length is not an exact science, and it has a lot more to do with marking key times in the astronomical cycle of the earth.  In a year we have two equinoxes (autumn and spring), and two solstices (winter and summer).  There is a lot of other detail I could go in to, but I’m keeping this at the level I am teaching my trio 🙂  The spring equinox has for a long time been celebrated as a time of rebirth, and there are many lovely festivals experienced around the world to celebrate it.  So we decided to have our own little celebration, a picnic!

The trio and I thought it would be a lovely idea to head over to the west side of the island to watch the sun set.  It’s now setting at about 6pm (bang on its twelve hour day/night cycle), and would be one of the last times the children would see the sunset until the autumn.  I love my children dearly, but I equally love their bedtimes as I am exhausted by 7pm, when the house falls calm and quiet!!  There will no doubt be the odd time between now and the autumn where they will stay up, but I wanted to be sure they definitely caught this sunset.  We knew there was a well positioned fire pit, so we packed up some food to cook, and headed over.

The weather was not totally on our side though.  It was a very blustery (and cold as usual!) spring evening, with quite a bit of cloud around.  When we arrived though, the sun was peeping through the clouds and the wind dropped a little.  We lit the fire, and I got cooking, while the children got playing.  This was going to work well being a family too, as Dadda’s bus has a stop on the island a 5 minute walk from where we were.  So, I messaged him, and he said he’d join us, getting off at that bus stop on the way back from work.  We enjoyed the hot food, followed by a dessert of toasted marshmallows, and then the wind really picked up!  Once the wind picked up, we ended up hiding behind a boat hut to protect us a bit as it was very strong!

There’s a girl in there somewhere!

We waited until the sun had set, peeping out from behind the hut to watch it, then packed up our things and headed home before we blew off!!!

 

Country Kids

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.

Bird Maths and Writing Practice

The mini men have been using bird maths and writing themed ideas for their learning this week.  There are lots more ideas out there (check out my Pinterest board  https://uk.pinterest.com/mammasschool/nature-curriculum-birds/ for more ideas as well as craft ones too!).  Both boys have a limited attention span for more traditional types of learning exercises, so we choose 3 or 4 and don’t do too many repetitions for each one!  It is more about enjoying the learning experience at this stage, and anything they pick up along the way is a real bonus.  Twin 1 is loving his writing practice and thinking about words, and yet gets a bit silly and giddy with his maths.  Whereas twin 2 finds the process of writing very tedious (but still likes reading/looking), and absolutely loves anything to do with numbers, and finds them quite easy too at the moment.  So we have 7 or 8 bird maths and writing practice ideas for you.

Bird maths and writing practise pre school learning sensory nature learning learning creative learning www.mammasschool.co.ukKicking off the bird maths and writing practice ideas are the writing/reading exercises.  My double trouble respond really well to sensory learning.  So, this tray of bird seed with a swan feather to write with, was a perfect attention grabber.  We have heaps of random feathers lying around the house, so it was nice to use one!  I would say a letter, and mix it up with capitals and small ones, and they would have to draw the letter in the tray of bird seed with the feather.  They don’t tire of this kind of exercise so quickly, so we get a little bit more practice done.

One thing we are spending quite a lot of time on at the moment, to assist with their reading, is thinking about the letters that words start with, and then recognising them written down.  I drew some key word pictures (which they did very well to recognise!), and they had to match the picture to the correct word.  So we had egg, bird, nest, wing, and tree.

 

 

We then went on to practise their writing using the key words.  First of all they traced them a few times, before writing them independently.  The boys are working at recognising that each letter comes in 2 forms, big and small.  After they had practised writing the words, we used the first letters of our key theme words to practise writing the letters in their pairs.  This is where mini man no.2 struggles to keep going, where it gets a bit repetitive, but he did persevere.

 

Next up was the maths practice, starting with basic counting and writing numbers without a prompt.  They had to count a line of birds or eggs, and write the quantity that there was in the line, at the end of it.  This task is now very achievable for them in the numbers 1-10, so I now need to start upping the numbers we are using in the next few weeks.  However, it is lovely to see (and very reassuring) I have actually managed to teach my 2 wiggle bums something!

 

The theory behind the next task is trying to help them learn the numbers in word form as well as number form.  I am sticking with 1-10 numbers for a while in this task, as it is really stretching them to spot a number in its word form.  Today we just stuck to English words too.  It again helps with their reading, thinking about the word sounds, so it serves a cheeky dual purpose 🙂

 

 

The final exercise for our bird maths and writing was addition and subtraction, mini man no.2’s favourite.  I had hoped to do this with chocolate eggs as props.  Back in the UK I could have guaranteed that these would have been on sale since December 26th! However, here in Sweden there is not one sign of Easter chocolate yet (which is actually quite nice, not to be seamlessly transitioning from one festivity directly into the next)!  So I had to come up with another bird related idea, less interesting but they never knew about the first idea, so they were OK!  We added and subtracted my badly drawn eggs, but both seemed perfectly content and engaged with the idea!

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Bird Watching Adventure to Almö


Nesting bird watching outdoor play nature play exploring nature www.mammasschool.co.ukOur theme for the week is nesting birds.  With this in mind, our hike this week needed to be in a good spot for some bird watching.  We have a nature reserve on Almö which is not too far.  This is a long strip of land, and about half way down there is a bay with a good view of an island that is a protected bird area.  The perfect place to do some bird watching.  There is a hiking route that runs the length of Almö.  We have hiked the top third, and the bottom third independently, but never the middle third (always been a little too far for little legs, and being a linear walk, we have had to turn around to walk back at about the 2.5km mark).

The map shows the length of Almö, and the red dot (where we were stood at the time) is roughly where we stopped for our bird watching, hot food made in a fire pit, and a lot of play in nature’s playground!  Just below the red dot on the map is the ringed island that is the protected bird area (one of many in the area).  There were a few information boards around as well, that would help us identify anything we saw.  We have been lucky to see sea eagles in the past, there was even one in our garden tree looking very out of place when I returned from school once (there is a lot of wildlife around us, and we do get to see a wide variety very easily), but today, everyone was hiding!  The children did have fun using their binoculars though, even if mini man no.1 was pointing them into the sea rather than at the bird island!

After hiking to the spot, and then bird watching for a while, it was time to enjoy some hot food.  My little lady helped with the food preparation (guarantees it gets eaten with less fuss!), while I lit the fire.

The children then let off a lot of steam climbing trees, clambering over rocks, finding nature made fortresses to play in, and trying to persuade me that we really could take the largest stick ever home in the car.  It always amazes me how little energy they sometimes have whilst actually walking, and then when we stop, they have enough energy to climb Mount Everest! We stayed put for about an hour, just letting them immerse themselves in nature and their own imaginary and creative outdoor play – the best type there is!!

Much fun was had by all, lots of energy was burnt off, and our bellies were full!  The only hiccup was that we didn’t manage to locate the only geocache in the area (a nano one), but that’s to try again another day 🙂

nesting bird watching outdoor play nature play exploring nature www.mammasschool.co.uk

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