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10 Ideas For A WILD Child Experience Whatever The Weather This Summer

Posted: Friday 21st July 2017 by evaphillips

The summer holidays can feel long and activities can be expensive. Here are some of our ideas for cheap and free ways for the whole family to go WILD across Birmingham and the Black Country whatever the weather this summer.

Do - try and set aside some old clothes that you really genuinely don’t care how dirty they get. Let children get muddy, it’s good for their creativity, their sensory learning and their immune systems!

Do - model ideas for children who aren’t sure about getting sweaty and muddy. There is a lot of societal pressure on young people to look and behave in very specific ways, give them time to overcome this conditioning. Most children soon overcome their reluctance, especially if they see the enjoyment their adult gets from running their fingers through the mud to create patterns or enthusiastically finding materials for wildlife hidey holes.

Don’t - turn everything into a ‘learning activity’. Give children space to discover and explore their own interests and develop their own natural curiosity. Support their efforts to find out more but learning through play is valuable as an activity in itself

Don’t - try to extend an activity beyond the time it is naturally fun. Small doses are more likely to result in a request to do it again!
 

1. Make art whatever the weather! Put a piece of paper in a tray or box and sprinkle paint powder over it in beautiful patterns. Take it out into the rain, just long enough for the drops to spread the paint without waterlogging and tearing the paper. Let it dry out and admire your raindrop creation!

Alternately have a pack of sun paper ready and arrange natural objects on them for gorgeous prints - just follow the instructions

2. Go for a walk along a local canal, can you spot signs of Muntjac deer or rare water voles? What animal tracks and signs can you find? 

3. Go butterfly spotting at Portway Hill Nature Reserve – there are lots of rare species here and July – August is the best time to see them. Download our spotting sheet and see how many you can find.

 

4. Rain never stops play in nature. Put on your oldest clothes and delight your kids by taking them to play in the mud – just remember to bring an old towel and a bin bag to sit on for the drive home! Some children will jump right in while others need a little encouragement. Use your fingers to make patterns, make handprints on trees, use sticks and leaves to build mud sculptures and let your child take their own time.

5. Build a survival shelter! Enjoy a story in your shelter together, even better make one up! Why might you have to build a shelter in the woods? Who would share it with you? How would you feel if you had to sleep there?  

6. Does your garden have hidey holes for wildlife? Check out our activity sheet for how to make your garden welcoming - you could even make a mini pond!

7. After rain is a great time to spot snails. Get down close and see the beauty of these mini beasts. Can you find a yellow shell? Or an orange one? A swirly one? What direction do the swirls go? Can you find a (very rare) anti-clockwise swirl? Check out how to carefully mark shells so you can spot them again a few days later…

8. Go on a bear hunt! Plan a walk that goes through lots of different environments, woods, parks, waterside, uphill, downhill… What sounds can you hear? What sounds can you make? Can you imitate the bird calls? Is there a bear you have to run away from! Walking side by side with your child instead of sitting face to face helps them open up about their life. My best conversation with my 7 year old are when we walk (yes I have to listen to a LOT of incomprehensible stats about pokemon first, but hey, it matters to him!)


9. Go to one of the Trusts free family activity days around Birmingham and the Black Country – or join one of our volunteer groups. Putting back into your community makes you feel good inside and the exercise makes your body feel good too.

 

10. Can you forage for snacks? Wild blackberries and crab apples are delicious freshly picked and are readily available in August. Do you dare make nettle soup? Remind children not to eat fruits a responsible adult hasn’t okayed, but joyous blackberry stained mouths turn a good walk into a great one. And if you can refrain from eating them all while you're out and about a homemade blackberry crumble is utterly delicious!

 

Have a great summer! - We'd love to see your WILD adventures - email eva.p@bbcwildlife.org.uk
 

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