Tag: nature play (Page 1 of 29)

Autumn Outdoor Activities – Fun In All Weathers

I love all the seasons, and I am not sure I favour one more than the others.  However, when the seasons start changing and moving on, I am always ready for a change and love what the next one might bring – especially now that we live somewhere that has four distinct seasons!  So, now that autumn is well and truly here, we have made an autumn outdoor activities list of all the great things you can do during this fantastic, beautiful season, that sees a bounty of colours and changes.

Our Autumn Outdoor Activities List:

1.Have a leaf fight:  It would not be autumn without this on our autumn  outdoor activities list!

2.Catch falling leaves:  This is so much harder than it looks and can keep little ones amused for ages on a walk.

3.Look for conkers then head home for a good old game of old fashioned conkers.

4.Go blackberry picking – It would not be autumn without making an autumnal blackberry pudding.

5.Collect different plant seeds that you see out and about, or from the garden, to plant in the spring time.

6.Pick apples:  This is an easy one for our autumn outdoor activities.  Walking around our island with dogs (my own business that the children accompany me on after school finishes at midday) people have such an abundance of fruit from their gardens, that they leave them in boxes at the end of their drives to help yourself to.  The children love this!

7.Sunset picnic:  This is one of my favourite autumn outdoor activities now the sunsets are much earlier.  They are very spectacular where we live, so we light a campfire and watch as many as we can, admiring the light show.

8.Sunrise picnic:  Don’t panic!!  With the sunrises getting later, and a little night before preparation, this becomes quite feasible with the get up times of younger children!!

9.Count the leaf colours on a walk.

10.Fly a kite.

11.Go pond dipping and see what is going on at this time of year.  We have an abundance of dragonflies which are memorising to watch.

12.Go on a fungus spotting walk.  These are beautiful (be careful with touching and eating) and you could even draw a few when you get back home.

13.Jump in leaves….a good old favourite!

14.Autumn Camping:  Providing you take enough layers for the night, some of the day temperatures can be quite balmy at this time of year, and the sunsets very dramatic.  On the plus side, with the sun rising later, your little people are less likely to have you up so early as during the summer months (I think it was around 0430 we woke this summer).

15.Collect leaves, and then go home and make a collage or a “leaf person/animal”.

16.Collect fir cones, and then head home to decorate them in glitter 🙂

17.Have a campfire: Read about how to make a campfirecampfire problems, and ways of cooking on a campfire.  We also have lots of easy and tasty campfire food recipes.

I hope these have given you some inspiration of some autumn outdoor activities you can do now that autumn is well and truly under way.  Also ways to have fun in the outdoors whatever the autumn weather throws at you!!

Autumn Outdoor Activities - Fun In All Weathers, Autumn fun, autumn play, outdoor play, nature play, www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

 

Inspiration Wednesday – Children In Nature

Inspiration Wednesday - Children In Nature, quotes, inspirational quotes, outdoor children, nature play, www.mammasschool.co.uk

Inspiration Wednesday – Let Children Explore

Inspiration Wednesday - Let Children Explore, Home education, nature, natural world, outdoors, outdoor play, nature play, www.mammasschool.co.uk

Get Your Vitamin N – June Outdoor Activity List

Back in February, I started uploading a monthly outdoor activity list which you can access under the freebies tab. You will need to subscribe to the blog and you will be sent an email with the password to access the freebies tab.  It is now time to think about the June outdoor activity list, which can be accessed under the freebies tab 🙂    If you don’t have the password, don’t worry, subscribe to the blog and you will be sent it in your confirmation email.  Signs of summer should be emerging now, and here in Sweden we have just 2 weeks left of school until we can enjoy the long, lazy, Swedish summer life 🙂

Any form of getting children into the outdoors is a good one.  Whether it is a gentle potter around the back garden or a good old hike for older ones across the countryside, if it is for 5 minutes or 5 hours, the benefits can still be reaped.  You don’t need to climb a mountain, a little dig in the garden is perfect too.  As the author Richard Louv famously suggests, we should be using vitamin N (N for nature) as treatment for nature deficit disorder.

That is why each month, at the start of the month, I am adding onto the freebies page, a list of 10 activities to help inspire you to head out there for your dose of vitamin N with your little, or not so little, people.  These are some of the things I do with my three to give me some direction and an aim for getting them out there, which often helps everyone’s frame of mind.  So head over now to the freebies tab and check out the June outdoor activity list.

The aim behind the ideas for the June outdoor activity list for getting vitamin N is that they are all very simple, so shouldn’t put you off.  And if you need a little more convincing about the ideas where mud is involved, head over and have a read as to why mud and dirt are worth all the extra effort 🙂  Vitamin N can be achieved without sitting in the middle of a forest, wild camping, and hunting for your supper!!  It can be achieved by just stepping outside your front door (or back door), into whatever awaits you out there.  Welcome in the long summer days using our June outdoor activity list to guide you for ideas.

 

I am hoping that through these activities you make a lot of happy memories, have fun together, and enjoy being outside.  If you need more information about an activity on the list, I have blogged about doing most of them, so if you type in a few keywords in the search box, you should then be able to get some more information, or see what we have done in the past.

Let me know how you get on with the June outdoor activity list in the comments below, I will love hearing about your experiences.  You can also share your experiences on social media too, it will give others ideas and I can keep up with what you are all doing.  Use the #fridayoutdoorfun on your Instagram  photos, and don’t forget to join in with our Friday outdoor fun thread on Facebook (every Friday). And if the children have got mucky, then join in with our Mucky Mondays thread (every Monday) over on Facebook .  Go and have fun in June 🙂June Outdoor Activity List, June activities, June outdoors, outdoor activities, summer activities, Vitamin N, outdoorplay, nature play, www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

 

Our Summer Bucket List – Long, Lazy, Days

It is the start of a new season, and time for us to reveal our Summer Bucket List.  We have enjoyed doing the activities on our spring, autumn and  winter ones, but we are looking forward to wearing less clothing out in the sunshine, and enjoying the VERY long, slow Swedish summer days and holiday.  School is out for the summer on the 15th June, so not long to go!  So let’s see what’s on our list for the season of summer.

Our Summer Bucket List:

  1. Celebrate midsummer 
  2. Make a strawberry cake 
  3. Lie on the grass and listen to the birds
  4. Go strawberry picking
  5. Go raspberry picking
  6. Go blueberry picking
  7. Make a daisy chain
  8. Paddle barefoot
  9. Go wild camping
  10. Swim outdoors
  11. Collect pebbles to paint at home
  12. Read stories outdoors
  13. Go crabbing
  14. Make some beach art
  15. Go on a hike
  16. Make some air dry clay figures
  17. Go and visit the älg/elks again
  18. Explore lots of the islands in our archipelago 
  19. Play in a stream
  20. Raise our own butterflies from caterpillars
  21. Play on beaches
  22. Paint with special paints that develop in the sunshine.

I hope we have given you some fun summer inspiration with our summer bucket list (just click on the links if you need further help or information about them) and let me know if you try any of them and how you get on.  Enjoy and have fun!

Our Summer bucket list, summer activities, summer, summer outdoors, www.mammasschool.co.uk

Campfires – The Basics & Tips

We get a lot of enjoyment out of making and using campfires as part of our outdoor experiences.  It adds an extra sense of adventure to our outdoor trips, whether hiking, camping, or just visiting a beach to play, and in the cooler months it makes our meal break a very cosy one.  I haven’t always been happy with fires though and learnt a lot through forest school back in the UK before we moved here.  Since then I have tried to carry on the experience of eating by a fire as the children loved it.  I have learnt a lot over the last 12 months and I thought I might share some basics and tips to help you get started, or give you more confidence if you are new to it.

How To Build A Campfire:

  1. You will need some supplies first!  This is what we use with a lot of success:  Newspaper, cotton wool, Vaseline, tiny kindling (very small twigs, or we prefer silver birch bark we have shredded), bigger sticks (thumb width), and larger wrist sized logs.  Don’t forget to sign up – you will then get the password to access our freebies page, and you can see what is in our fire starting kit!
  2. Build a tepee like structure:  Small amount of newspaper in the middle, with some cotton wool on top (that has a bit of Vaseline on – this helps light the fire).  Then place the kindling around that in a tepee shape, then the larger sticks around that, and then the bigger logs around that.
  3. Our stacking system:  This is a system we use very effectively for our campfires so you could give it a go too.  It doesn’t go so high as a tepee structure so is easier to pop a grill over to cook on.  We place the smaller sticks in a crisscross square shape, placing a loosely crumpled piece of newspaper and cotton wool with Vaseline on in the middle.  Then place a larger log across the top of the stack.
  4. Once the fire is lit, make sure you top up the fuel before the flames die right down to get it really going at first.  If it dies down too much, you need to try blowing under at the glowing embers to get the flames going again.  Once it has calmed down a little you are ready to cook on it 🙂

How To Put Out Campfires:

  1. Never leave a campfire before it is fully out as it may harm the environment and wildlife.
  2. Let the firewood all burn down to ash, and spread the ash and embers out a little
  3. Gently pour on some water slowly.  We carry extra water for this, to make sure we can always put our fires out. Or if we are by water we take a bucket with us.
  4. Mix the embers up with a stick, allowing the water to infiltrate more, and bring anything that is still glowing and alight underneath to the surface to be dowsed with water.
  5. Pour on a little more water; you will hear hissing doing this and produce smokey steam (watch where you are standing!).
  6. Again use a stick to spread the embers out and stir water in.
  7. Keep repeating until you are confident nothing is still alight/glowing.

Some Rules For Campfires:

  1. Use fire pits where you can, or carry a lightweight and portable stove with you.  By using provided fire pits, or carrying your own stove, you are helping to protect the habitat of creatures in the area that you have decided to cook in, plus reduced the risk of fire spreading.
  2. You need to consider any fire dangers for the time of year (e.g. is it very dry?) and bear in mind any local restrictions.  You don’t want to spread your fire.
  3. Take only wood from the ground, never from the trees, and gather it from a wide area.  You don’t want to remove everything from one small area as it has a job to perform in the ecosystem providing nutrients and habitats.
  4. Allow your wood to burn completely down to ash, and then spread them out when you are extinguishing your fire.
  5. Put out a fire with water not dirt,
  6. Avoid building your fire on rocks as it will scar them.  Also, if near coastal water that covers them after you’ve been and gone, when the water rapidly cools the rocks it may cause them to crack.
  7. Never leave your fire unattended, it is a fire risk and a hazard to any inquisitive animals.
  8. If you have moved any rocks, for example to make a bit of a wind break, make sure you return them to where they were.
  9. Make sure you take all your rubbish home again, to avoid harming animals and the countryside.

I hope these tips will help you to either give campfires a go if you haven’t before, or help you get more confidence if you are a newbie.  They really add to the outdoor experience and are so cosy to be around.  They also help teach children basic bush craft and outdoor skills (whether that be lighting a fire, looking after a fire, or thinking about nature and the environment when using a fire).  However, they must be made and used responsibly and always thinking about safety and nature.  Don’t forget to check out our outdoor cooking recipes for inspiration for what to cook on your campfire!!  We have lots of ideas both savoury and sweet, so go take a browse and enjoy them 🙂

Campfires the basics and tips, campfires, how to make a campfire, campfire rules, outdoor cooking, camping, hiking, www.mammasschool.co.uk

Bare Feet – 7 Reasons to Let Your Children Have Them!

Bare feet….my trio love having them!!  But why, as grown ups do we tend to shy away from letting them do it?  Conformity?  Our adult brains weighing up the consequences of dirt and injury?  Why do we stop it so much when it leads to a child feeling so free and less encumbered?  As my little lady says, she “loves sinking her toes into chocolately mud”!!!  I now bite my tongue and let them get on with it (within reason…I’m not about to let them trundle over areas with broken glass or anything!).  Let me see if I can persuade you too with the following seven reasons 🙂

1. Our feet used to be just fine walking bare.  Shoes can change how they function, and also damage them, as well as have knock on effects on ankles, hips, knees, and backs.  Going with bare feet allows the feet to develop the way they are meant too.

2. It’s a sensory experience and makes children happy to experience all the pleasure from that.  My children love squishing and squelching the mud through their toes.  They like warm soft grass to tickle their toes and they can feel it like a bouncy cushion.  They love feeling warm sand on their bare feet, and wetness from puddles.

3.  Going with bare feet increases the body’s and foot’s strength.  We worry about injury and illness to the feet, but in fact going without shoes can aid us prevent these more (within reason!).  Increasing the foot’s strength can prevent injury, and toughening up of the skin of the foot can give it more protection.  In fact, shoes provide the perfect environment to grow and trap more fungus and bacteria.

4.  Going with bare feet helps proprioception (spacial orientation from stimuli), and also vestibular development.  It is due to the direct connection between the child (via their feet) and the terrain they are walking on.  How many times has your child tripped over due to their footwear?  Footwear can hinder our nervous pathways and we gain more of them from having bare feet.

5. You can feel connection with nature more 🙂 I am a big one for wanting children to connect to nature more, for reasons I go into more depth elsewhere on the blog. Have a look at the following links:

http://mammasschool.co.uk/parenting/outdoor-play-children-natures-sanity/

http://mammasschool.co.uk/parenting/healing-nature-relying-beach-work-magic/

http://mammasschool.co.uk/outdoor-adventures/wild-camping-children-sweden/

6. Children feel freer…..anything’s possible when you feel free and less encumbered.  Life is more enjoyable with a feeling of freedom!

7. It’s a researched and proven stress buster!!  So, what are you waiting for, kick off those shoes and socks and get out there and enjoy a bare feet life with your little people 🙂  We have a lot to learn from them!

Bare feet - 7 reasons to let your children have them, barefooted, go with bare feet, www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

Inspiration Wednesday – Play In The Dirt

Inspiration Wednesday - Play in the dirt, Dirt, Outdoor play, nature play, mud, dirty, www.mammasschool.co.uk

Get Your Vitamin N – May Outdoor Activity List

Back in February, I started uploading a monthly outdoor activity list which you can access under the freebies tab. You will need to subscribe to the blog and you will be sent an email with the password to access the freebies tab.  It is now time to think about the May outdoor activity list, which can be accessed under the freebies tab 🙂    If you don’t have the password, don’t worry, subscribe to the blog and you will be sent it in your confirmation email.  Spring should be well under way now, and I hope that even we in Sweden may have chased the snow away and stopped lighting log fires in the evenings to keep us warm!!

Any form of getting children into the outdoors is a good one.  Whether it is a gentle potter around the back garden or a good old hike for older ones across the countryside, if it is for 5 minutes or 5 hours, the benefits can still be reaped.  You don’t need to climb a mountain, a little dig in the garden is perfect too.  As the author Richard Louv famously suggests, we should be using vitamin N (N for nature) as treatment for nature deficit disorder.

That is why each month, at the start of the month, I will add onto the freebies page a list of 10 activities to help inspire you to head out there for your dose of vitamin N with your little, or not so little, people.  These are some of the things I do with my three to give me some direction and an aim for getting them out there, which often helps everyone’s frame of mind.  So head over now to the freebies tab and check out the May outdoor activity list.

The aim behind the ideas for the May outdoor activity list for getting vitamin N is that they are all very simple, so shouldn’t put you off.  And if you need a little more convincing about the ideas where mud is involved, head over and have a read as to why mud and dirt are worth all the extra effort 🙂  Vitamin N can be achieved without sitting in the middle of a forest, wild camping, and hunting for your supper!!  It can be achieved by just stepping outside your front door (or back door), into whatever awaits you out there.  With spring well under way there should be lots to see, hear, smell, and touch easily now.  A sensory pleasure for the mind, so it is a perfect time to head into the outdoors to see what you can discover, using our May outdoor activity list to guide you.

 

I am hoping through these activities that you make a lot of happy memories, have fun together, and enjoy being outside.  If you need more information about an activity on the list, I have blogged about doing most of them, so if you type in a few keywords in the search box, you should then be able to get some more information, or see what we have done in the past.

Let me know how you get on with the May outdoor activity list in the comments below, I will love hearing about your experiences.  You can also share your experiences on social media too, it will give others ideas and I can keep up with what you are all doing.  Use the #fridayoutdoorfun on your Instagram  photos, and don’t forget to join in with our Friday outdoor fun thread on Facebook (every Friday). And if the children have got mucky, then join in with our Mucky Mondays thread (every Monday) over on Facebook .  Go and have fun in May 🙂

May outdoor activity list, Get your vitamin N - May's 10 vitamin N ideas, vitamin N, nature play, outdoor play, www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

Inspiration Wednesday – Embrace The Dirt!

Inspiration Wednesday - Embrace The Dirt!, benefits of mud and dirt, dirt, mud, children and dirt, muddy children, dirt is good, mud is good, www.mammasschool.co.uk

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