Tag: Stay Wild (Page 1 of 10)

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

Tromtö Nature Reserve and Puzzle Geocaches

Going along with the resolution of  exploring Sweden more, we headed off for our week’s hike through Tromtö Nature Reserve.  I had a peek on the map last night and there were quite a few geocaches round this route, so we took our loot and headed off.  This is a large nature reserve and it will take a few visits to explore it thoroughly.  Today we decided to walk the route that followed along the sea, but it can circle round through the woods (the loop is too big for my three in an afternoon, it’ll be a day’s trip).  Then there are loops, taking in an old manor house.  Stag beetles are in plentiful supply in these woods, but it’s a little bit chilly to see them at the moment.  We need to return at dusk in the summer to hear their drone like noise.  The footpaths were well marked, and the terrain was varied (sea or woods) with beautiful Swedish views to admire.


There are 6 basic geocaches throughout the reserve, and four multi caches.  So we ear marked 2 to do.  What we discovered was so lovely.  They were puzzle caches….in beautiful wooden puzzle boxes.  Luckily the 2 we chose I managed to get my ancient brain cranking away to work out how to open them.  This type of geocache container we have not come across before and they were so pretty.  Thank goodness we managed to get inside though, as children are less forgiving to fail at the last hurdle!!  I have already made a mental note to take Dadda back to do the other four as recent activity says they are harder to open.  They are official Swedish geocache containers though, and it does add an extra dimension of brain power to the treasure hunt!  We all really liked them and the idea (as long as we could open them!!).

Since getting back home I’ve come up with an idea for my little lady and one of her best friends.  Before we left the UK, they placed, in our local country park, a geocache called BFF.  I thought we could research how to place one here (that’s going to take a while in Swedish!) on our island as there are only three basic ones, 2 of which we have not found yet, and 2 multi caches.  Then, when her BFF comes out to visit, they can place it somewhere together 🙂

Week 16 Nature Curriculum – The Winter Sky

What a fantastic week we’ve just had to study this subject.  When the temperatures stay well below zero all week, and you get bright winter skies so that you can see spectacular sunrises and sunsets, mixed with howling icy winds, plus snow flurries, you can feel you are truly experiencing winter.  For the nature journal activity this week we sketched a picture of the winter sky, choosing to depict a sunrise we had seen on our picnic.  We also wrote factual information about the sunrise such as time, date, place, temperature, and the weather conditions.

 

We didn’t need any encouragement to snuggle up together with this week’s suggested story, “The Story of the Snow Children” by Sibyl Von Olfers.  However, we added a few of our own stories into the reading session too.  We have our lovely “Moomin and the Winter Snow” that we felt was very appropriate with the snow falling all day outside, and then we have a lovely “Children’s Atlas of Weather” as well.  We didn’t read all of this (a bit heavy for the twins!), but we read and chatted about what was relevant to this week’s topic.  The pictures were really good as they kept the twins interested in the subject even when they didn’t quite get what the little lady and I were talking about.  We read 2 poems.  The first one was the suggested poem “A Winter Dawn” by Lucy Maud Montgomery, and the second one was “January” by Elsa Beskow, as it was our first week doing the nature curriculum in January.

The extension activities for the week were really good, especially for our little lady’s maths skills.  We needed to make a very basic rain catcher, measure the rain, and then make a bar chart to show the rainfall at the same time each day.  It wasn’t really a very rainy week, but we did get some!  The other graph we did was measuring the temperature at 8am every morning and plotting this onto a line graph.  Our little lady was learning about minus and plus temperatures, as well as how to plot them onto a graph.  She really enjoyed making these graphs.  Our rain catcher had to be wedged on top of our well between the handle on the lid and a brick so it didn’t blow off in the high winds we were having all week, but so that it was still accessible for any rain! So this week, not only has she learnt to plot and draw 2 different styles of graphs, but she has also learnt about labelling, adding units of measurements and scale, and plotting onto them.

The little lady also wrote a poem about the winter as one of her extension activities.  This is something she finds quite difficult, so I am really pleased that she tried, and then put it into her nature journal with some illustrations 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Sunrise Picnics and Sunset Views.

This morning, as part of our nature curriculum extension activities, we had planned to watch the sunrise and eat a breakfast picnic whilst doing it.  What we hadn’t planned was the -9 degree temperature plus strong winds (making it very bitter), and high tides and flooding (making our lovely jetty spots a no go for sitting on as they were all under the water!).  I think we made the most of it though.  We wrapped up in all our layers, we took heated pain au chocolats and hot chocolate with us, and we sat on roll mats, inside sleeping bags 🙂  We just about managed 25 minutes!!  It was lovely though.  We timed it perfectly just getting settled as the sun started to peep over, and the trio munched happily until the sun had risen well.  By then their hands were numb (with ski gloves on), their smiles frozen fixed in place, and there was a slight whimpering wish to clamber back into the car!!!  Our southern end of the country is a lot warmer than the rest of the country, but we moved here to experience four seasons in their entirety and I feel we are getting the chance to do that.  

The plan for suppertime was to have a sunset picnic, but we decided with the sun setting and the temperature having not risen any higher all day, one meal outside was probably enough, and 2 might be pushing it….especially trying to eat pasta off a fork with ski gloves on!  So, we just went to enjoy the spectacle instead 🙂  We weren’t disappointed, with the sea freezing now and the ice creeping further from the shore, it was really lovely to look at, and very wintry!

These last three photos, show birds flocking together.  However, we were just too far away to get a good photo, and when they were doing their best aerial stunts, the camera couldn’t pick them out as they blended into the dark background of rocks and trees.  It was mesmerising to watch though, and now we know they do this at dusk in this spot, we might head back again, this time making sure we are closer in time for dusk 🙂

 

Nature’s Playground & Microscopes.

Now our severe windy storms of the past few days have passed, life in the outdoors can return back to a more normal routine, without fear of a tree falling on our heads.  One of my priorities at the moment is refining the twins’ cycling skills.  We put them on 2 wheels back in November where they just took to it like ducks to water.  However, like everything they do it was at 100 miles an hour, plus they had no stopping or starting skills, preferring to ride into a bush to provide the slowing down mechanism!  Our island is quite small, and sometimes it seems a bit silly to be driving somewhere on it, like the beach right at the other end. However, it would take us a long time to walk there and back.  So, if I can get them riding more safely before summertime, it could become a possibility to cycle there instead.  My aim is for them to practise starting, braking to a stop, and not whizzing off zig zagging out of control everywhere!  So today we headed down a wide track that we pretended was a road, and also practised staying on the correct (right) side of it….as you can see from the photos we still need to make progress in that area!!  It was a good start though and I just need to get them out more often. I use big sister as a pace setter, who when told not to whizz off actually doesn’t, and they are not allowed past her.  It takes quite a bit though to summon up the energy to take both speedy little men out at the same time!  We will get there though.

This afternoon we headed back to one of the best natural playgrounds I have ever come across, the main feature being our favourite tree that you can climb inside. The children spent a good while climbing the tree and the massive boulders, while the Kelly Kettle boiled away to make hot squash and we toasted some marshmallows.  I love this place.  The water is very calm and shows great promise for the warmer months in being a place where we can base ourselves on a rock all day, trying to catch mini beasts in nets, and wade around the shallow fjord.  The children love scrambling over the rocks, and climbing the tree.  They can climb up, across, and through the inside.  It is amazing for imaginative play adventures too.  Today, there was an extra play treat for them in the form of huge thick ice areas to break, pick up, throw, smash, and examine.  Oh, and the views aren’t too bad either 😉 You can’t help but smile, relax, and let nature restore some energy.

Once we were back home I had promised our little lady I would help her get to grips with her new microscope that she had got for Christmas.  We spent time learning (relearning for me!) how to obtain samples, make up sample slides, and then the best ways to view them.  We looked at various thread types, synthetic and non synthetic, onions, hair, and a sample from the inside of her cheek.  I think it is safe to say she is not only fascinated but hooked.  She is now equipped enough, hopefully, with the skills to get this out and indulge whenever she fancies, just asking the odd question, and it is something she can learn from and enjoy….now I am off to learn about the sewing machine!!

 

Holding onto the sun!

Unstructured Play Time & Scandinavian Parenting

As a family and parenting duo, we are big advocates of providing unstructured play time, and this is even more important now that our little lady is off school for her holidays, and over what can be such a busy festive time.  We have found that unstructured play just seems to recentre our trio, and I know I have mentioned the topic in previous blogs, but I felt it was time to devote a whole post to the subject.  This is not only an ethos we follow with regard to their play, but also their learning, and I have drifted more and more away from structured learning methods since our little lady gave up school in the UK at the end of March, and it does seem to have paid off hugely.  Both in terms of learning enthusiasm and motivation, and also in progress.  Especially with our mini men who are now grabbing pens and writing “letters to post”, as well as signs, and just generally writing!  Something even 8 weeks ago, I wouldn’t have seen them choosing as an activity over something else such as sofa parachuting!  

There have been a couple of books I have read that have really supported this change in our parenting style and our enthusiasm for unstructured play.  “The Idle Parent” by Tom Hodgkinson is well worth a read, with a bit of humour thrown in for good measure.  “Simplicity Parenting” by Kim John Payne is another resource that is hugely informative, and one I keep by the bed to dive into to remind myself of things as and when I need to.  The last one is extremely popular at the moment, and one that I wholeheartedly agree with.  It is “The Danish Way of Parenting” by Jessica Alexander and Iben Dissing Sandahl, and whilst it is based on the Danes and their ways of living, this book could be written about the Swedes, and provides many of the reasons why we have chosen to bring our family up in Scandinavia and enjoy their lifestyle and culture.  Have a look at the website www.thedanishway.com and check out the secrets to raising happy children, who in turn become happy adults 🙂

The part I want to discuss in this post though is the importance of play…unstructured play that is child led.  Play is a very important method of learning (and one of our major reasons for boycotting UK schools).  Our little lady turns 9 in February, and yet here in Sweden she has only missed one year of school, and currently goes mornings only, which leaves children here, like other parts of Scandinavia, huge amounts of time to do what children do best….PLAY!!  Play decreases anxiety and increases resilience, something we have experienced first hand with our little lady.  She used to worry about everything…the perfect candidate to fall apart over moving country.  However, she now takes everything in her stride, has the confidence to put us in our place when we get things wrong, and above all has not only moved countries, but started a new school without speaking the language, mid term, and slotted in perfectly!  She may now be back in school, but she still has plenty of time to play, and takes full advantage of it.  The last 8 months have seen a huge improvement in her ability to go off and get fully immersed in some sort of imaginative play whether it be with Lego, dolls, trains, or something crafty.  As for the mini men, they are much more suited to the idea of playing full time until they are 7, as they are not designed to sit on their bottoms, in neat uniforms, being unquestioningly obedient…it’s just not in their DNA.  It doesn’t mean they are unruly, or naughty (although there is some of that 😉 ), it just means that they are being 5 year old boys.  We have not asked them to be square pegs trying to fit into round holes. We are letting them be themselves.  Even when they do start school, the Swedes, like the Danes, are focusing foremost on helping children be secure and happy in themselves, and have good self esteem…..all done through play.  They make this the priority.  Skills such as reading all level out in the end.  Why push them before they are ready?

This unstructured play needs rules for us grown ups too….we can only intervene when absolutely necessary.  This is something that would earn me a lot of parental black looks (from random strangers) in parks in the UK.  I would let my boys run up slides, providing there was no one waiting to come down.  I wouldn’t helicopter over them up a climbing frame while they swung from one arm, testing and learning their limits.  But I had to put up with a lot of burning ears and feeling like the worst mum ever, doing what I knew was right for them.  It also goes for disagreements too….now, I am well practised at this, as having a pair of twins there are a lot during their play, but by standing back and just offering guidance, I am teaching them to negotiate (even if it reaches screaming level sometimes), some self control (really crossing my fingers with this one!), and hopefully compromise and adaptation to various situations, with a little bit of decision making thrown in.

We don’t just stay indoors at home with conventional toys either.  Play can take place in many places.  My trio love turning rocks into pirate ships, beaches into small world play, and trees into climbing frames and finding natural playgrounds.  We found the academic pressure in the UK too much (and we were grown ups!), and the system was just teaching our children to think a certain way, rather than using their own initiative and problem solving skills….which play allows them to do.  In the UK we are trying to educate 4 year olds to fit into a country’s system now, that in 12 years time will in all probability be completely different!

The photos I have used in the post have been taken from today’s walk, where a dog chased two little boys (our little lady tried to do some of the walk on all fours), and they could see Octonauts in the fjord 😉  Imagination everywhere!!  And while they play, play, played this morning……I achieved this………….

See….there are benefits for the parents too 😉

Explore Inside a Tree!

This is one of the National Trust’s 50 things to do, and was our mystery story telling place….we found it totally by accident, chasing our sunrise.  It was an amazing tree, and I love the colour of the winter sunrise on the bark.  You could climb up onto a sheltered platform inside the trunk, and then from there you could head up inside a large vertical branch split slightly open, or along a couple of large horizontal branches.  One of these was then broken to create a bridge to a large boulder on the floor.  Such a fantastic natural playground.  We headed out there, with our three story books, flasks of hot blackcurrant squash, and M&S chocolate biscuits (courtesy of Grandma’s visit the other week, apparently no one can have Christmas without a box of these 😉 !!!).

Our little lady emerging out of the inside of a large branch

If you look carefully our little lady is clambering up the inside of the back of the tree

We had such a cosy time reading inside the tree with our picnic, and we had some amazing views too.  We will definitely be returning, and another thing ticked of our 50 things to do list 🙂

Nature Curriculum Week 15 – Winter Solstice.

Somehow, even with an international house move, we have managed to get a week ahead of ourselves, and I am not quite sure how!  However, we have carried on with this “next week’s” subject, and it will give us a little slackening off time over Christmas (along with our belts!).  The Winter Solstice was our festive activity for the day as well as our topic. Our days are fairly short here now, so it was a lovely topic to do, following on nicely from our sunset walk the other afternoon.  I started the day by taking the mini men to watch the sun rise on the east side of the island.  This isn’t as horrific as it sounds, as the sun doesn’t come up now until around 0830, so we were already wrapped up from the school run, and just continued on once the little lady had been dropped off.  They’ve never sat and just watched the sun get up before.  They were enthralled, and we sat on another peaceful jetty watching it calmly.  A fantastic way to start our day (which always goes at a hundred miles an hour and very noisily!).

After we had collected our little lady from school, we headed to the south of the island to look at the low midday sunshine.  We sat on a rock overlooking a calm fjord, and chatted about how low the sun was in the sky, how little time it was around for (sunset was about 1520 today), and how the winter sun cast a lovely different light on the surroundings.  We also discussed and looked for signs of winter, and made a list of the things that reminded us of winter.

We then went off to a special place to read our books that we had chosen for this week to compliment the topic (alongside the suggested one).  I will reveal more about the location in another post, but it was a very fun place I had discovered with the boys in the morning, chasing our sunrise.  It was so fun we knew we had to bring the little lady back to it as well or I’d be getting an earful!!

The book for the week was “Dear Rebecca, Winter is here” by Jean Craighead George.  It is about how winter is coming from the moment the days start turning shorter back in June, and how nature responds with birds following the warm sun to the other side of the world, and other animals getting cosy for hibernation.  We complimented this with a couple of our own though, for a good outdoor story telling session.  We like the book “The Bear Snores on” by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman.  This is a cute book about a brown bear asleep in his lair, and then some cheeky animals have a little party in there waking him up……..The last book we read was “Moomin and the Winter Snow”.  This was another appropriate book about some of the characters going off in search of winter sun, and the Moomins, amongst others, bedding down for the winter.  So a lovely bunch of stories, which my three loved listening to (it’s one of the few ways you can get the twins to stop moving, they love sitting and reading together!).

On returning from our outdoor story telling session, we sat down and drew the things that reminded us of winter into our nature journals, along with sunrises, sunsets, and their timings.  We read our poetry for the week and looked at the suggested piece of artwork.  We finished the day off with a lovely, if not a little noisy, candle lit supper 🙂  It’s been a lovely day and the nature curriculum has helped guided us to enjoy a lot of beautiful skylines and scenery.

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.

St Lucia and Sparkles.

Today, on December 13th, all over Sweden, there are annual candlelight processions.  The children are dressed in white gowns, with red sashes, and a wreath of candles is placed upon their heads.  There is a special song that is sung, amongst other ones.  The idea behind this mythical character is that she has the role of bearing light in the long, cold, dark, winters.  As we are learning fast here in Sweden, there is also another type of bun/cake to go with this celebration.  They are called lussekatter, and are made with saffron, so have a peculiar flavour to them, but are very tasty.  On offer is also the pepparkakor (small thin ginger biscuits), all swallowed down with yet more glögg!  Our trio got to experience all this at their various schools today as well.  Our little lady’s year 5’s (11 and 12 year olds) did the procession and singing for the rest of the school.  The St.Lucia had a wreath of real candles on her head, and the procession of children around her were all bearing a real candle too 🙂 If we ever move back to the UK, we are going to be a health and safety nightmare as life here seems to exist very happily without such interference all the time!  We are much preferring it, but it still gets a bit of getting used to seeing 11 year old girls, hair flowing with a wreath of candles on their heads!!  Our mini men sang St.Lucia related songs to the smaller children in the förskola.  All three ate lussekatter, pepparkakor, and drank some Julmust (a Swedish Christmas soft drink that is VERY sweet!).  Once they returned home, I had bought freshly baked lussekatter to try with them for our fika in the afternoon.  So, today we have all learnt a little more about Swedish culture and experienced another tradition.  Even Dadda got to be part of it, with children going into his work place dressed up and singing.

After school we traipsed off into the woods to collect pine cones as supplies for our festive activity of the day.  We were going to take them home, dry them out, and make decorations out of them.  Their haul was put on the table with paints, brushes, glitter, and festive shaped sequins (snowflakes, angels, fairies, and stars).  I then stood back and tried to keep my mouth shut and sit on my hands while the house was liberally glitterised!!  I like to give them a free reign as much as possible with their creations, but my OCD part can just see all the clearing up that will be required (especially with all three getting creative with the stuff), and I need to work hard at not intervening or commenting to do things the neat, tidy, and grown up way!!  They, as predicted where glitter is involved, had a lovely hour decorating their pine cones.  They are currently drying, and then tomorrow we will attach the necessary bits to make them into things like tree decorations (they each have a small tree in their rooms they decorate), or glittery cone mobiles etc.

Sunsets and Stargazing.

For the month of December I am trying to do something festive each day with our trio.  We aren’t managing everyday, but we’ve managed a lot so far….we have decorated the tree and house, the trio have written their letters to Father Christmas, they have received emails from Father Christmas, we’ve made extremely glittery Christmas cards for the grandparents (that have been posted so will decorate their homes in one move when they open the envelope!), we have done festive face painting, we’ve made winter treats for the birds, and we have watched the Polar Express movie.  Today we were due to have clear skies, so I wanted the children to be able to watch the sunset, and then have a star gazing walk, using their torches afterwards for a bit of added fun.

I have a book called “The Geography Book” and it is full of “activities for exploring, mapping, and enjoying your world”.  This is the first time we have dipped into it, as previously I was following the UK curriculum guide for science, geography, and history, but I have decided to drop that as my guide now (as we no longer live there!), and use more flexible means for enjoying subjects now, that also have a little bit more imagination involved too (I’m not really an ideas person, so a book like this really helps me).  I decided that the activity of finding Polaris (the north star) would be quite a Christmassy adventure, as well as getting a bit of learning done on the sly!  We can also tick “a star gazing walk” off our National Trust 50 things list too, and it will be the first one one those we have done since moving here.

In the morning, while the trio were at their various schools for the morning, I had headed out on an hour long recce to see if I could get the north west side of the island to link up its footpaths following the coast line, and whether it could be walked by three little people, on icy rocks, at dusk.  My conclusion was it could be, and I returned cheeks glowing and fingers numb ready to try it out later with them.  The reason I wanted to head to that side of the island was to watch a sunset in the process too.  This meant we could have a lovely walk with the skies changing, sit and watch the sun go down (whilst freezing our behinds to a wooden jetty), then walk back looking at the stars (with some help from my star gazers app!!), and then when little legs got really tired, we still had the torches to have some fun with!

So, having retrieved the trio from their schools, we had a quick lesson in the theory behind what we were going to do (having learnt the numbers 11-20 in Swedish first).  We chatted about the earth’s axis and poles, and how stars are seen in different places in the sky as the earth turns.  We also briefly talked about the Southern Cross.  We learnt about Ursa minor and major and how to locate the north star by using them.  Then it was time to put on all our layers, and head out into the freezing dusk on our adventure.  We had a really lovely 2 hour adventure.  We found a remote jetty to sit on and watch the sun go down, looking at the sky’s colours change vividly.  It was even more dramatic with the reflection in the still waters.  I know we’ve seen more colourful sunsets since we’ve been here, but this was the first one where we’d sat with the clear view out to sea.  Then we set off on our star hunt.  We located what we’d been talking about, as well as seeing Venus.  So I thought that was pretty good for starters for the little people.

On our way back I did a job I’ve been meaning to do for a long time and that is sort library cards out.  A library card gets you access to all the libraries in the Kommune, but the children are done through the school, so our little lady already has a card (most communities libraries are based in the school, like ours).  The mini men work off my card I discovered, which is fine by me, as it means my wallet isn’t bursting with 4 library cards, just 2!  That done, and books selected we headed home to light the fire and warm up!!

I found this old hidden lookout today. All blocked up, but it is the second thing I’ve found on our small island like this. I found a small pill box on another occasion.

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