Nature book club: Review-Moon

For the last month or so Twitter has had a new hashtag hour #naturebookclub. Currently, this is taking part on Sundays 6-7 pm. It’s a growing community and I’ve seen some great recommendations through it. As a teacher and a parent I’m finding I recommend picture books a lot, so I thought I would look at reviewing some of the children’s books I’ve enjoyed, both at school, and with Alice.

Moon-Britta Teckentrup

Alice goes through phases, much like the moon, of being obsessed with the moon. We have to check out the window in the morning and at night to see it’s still there and how big it is. So, I thought she would probably enjoy this book. The book doesn’t have a running story as such. It goes around the world showing different landscapes describing what happens. On each page, there is a cut out of the moon. As you go through it gets bigger and then wanes. This is the main reason I’ve used it for education, to discuss the phases of the moon. It isn’t detailed in the text but as you go through the book you can talk about wider subjects. Alice was asking whether the animals were nocturnal the other night for example.

The illustrations are gorgeous, despite being toned down as it’s night time they are still entrancing. Much like the illustrations of Eric Carle, they are basic looking but lovely and a lot of work will have gone into their construction. The illustrations and text describe moonlit settings around the world showing a wealth of animals.

As with many of the best children’s books coming out now, it can be enjoyed by both the adult and the child as it has a poetry to it alongside the gorgeous illustrations. As a story about the night, this does tend to be one we read in the evening. I’ve read it with Alice, then she’s often wanted to look through it by herself. That’s always a good sign that it has engaged with her on some level. She will sit talking through the pages. She’s at that lovely pre-reading level of making up her own stories to the pictures but is also starting to know some letter and sounds and is pointing them out.

So, I hope you’ve enjoyed my little review and possibly feel inclined to check out nature book club. I would also recommend ‘tree’ by the same author that shows the life of one tree through the seasons. It’s another stunner.

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30 Days Wild: Idea 14-watch a webcam

This week has seen plenty of rain and while that has stopped me getting out I know it puts many off. So today a quick idea that can be done from the comfort of your armchair. Sit back, put your feet, make a cuppa, or something a bit stronger if you prefer and put on a wild webcam.

There are many on offer.

It can make for interesting viewing though at one point when I was hoping to watch puffins I found myself watching common gulls on the other side of the country when I’ve plenty out of my own window. I’ve used some of these in school and have found kids often like the concept of the webcam so it’s a nice one to try with them. They might not like it but it might give you five minutes less of paw patrol.

Hope you find something to enjoy and are finding peace with 30 days.

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30 Days Wild: day 12-bug hotel

For day 12 of 30 days wild, I am encouraging you to get out and build a bug hotel. There are loads of ways to do this and it is great fun. It makes for great fun with the kids. Alice helps maintain mine and I’ve made ones in school as well. By building you potentially create a home for hedgehogs, toads, bees, woodlice, beetles and many more.

For an easy option stack pallets. Fill with wood, sticks, leaves and grass cuttings to provide opportunities for many species. Here is one at our local community Floral Hall.

Mine was made with bricks and decking tiles. The bricks were largely free from Facebook. The decking tiles about a tenner for the lot. So, it isn’t a great expense for a solid structure for the garden.

Alternatively, you could buy ones to hang from the fence. Some of the commercial varieties have issues with splinters and tubes too small or too big for local insect life so read advice and try and buy quality. Increasingly, we get gifted bug houses. The most recent was this nice butterfly house. My butterfly houses have only ever attracted spiders but it isn’t doing any harm having them on the fence.

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30 Days of Wild: Idea 3 Hug a tree

Today’s wild act is a very quick one. Although it still comes with many benefits. Get out and touch a tree, give it a hug. If you don’t feel like giving a tree a hug you can gain benefits from just watching. Just having trees in sightlines can improve depression, health levels and concentration. But getting the feel of the tree has been shown to help encourage mindfulness and build your connection with nature. Then take a moment to watch the life on the tree.

If you fancy doing something extra you could try and work out the age of the tree. On average a tree in an open space grows 2.5cm a year. Bring your tape measure out and see if you can work the age out.

 

I hope you’re getting involved in 30 days. Let me know in the comments what you’ve been up to.
https://themindunleashed.com/2013/07/tree-hugging-now-scientifically.html

https://inews.co.uk/news/environment/how-hugging-trees-can-give-you-a-natural-high/

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30 Days Of Wild: Idea 1 painting stones

A simple idea to kick off my ideas for 30 days wild that only requires a little bit of preparation of finding a stone beforehand. Now taking stones from the beach is illegal and the craze for painting rocks last year drove my wife crazy as we were seeing people taking bucket loads of stones from the beach. So there have been campaigns to decorate and then return the rock to the beach. The kindness rocks project shows lots of nice ideas of people writing messages onto their rocks. The artist Jackie Morris is in the habit of decorating and returning rocks with her lovely spiral Celtic Maze designs in gold. If you plan to do this as a teacher with your class please source the stones responsibly.

For some reason, Alice doesn’t like to keep her rock painted. We’ve painted the same rock multiple times over the last month and she’s then wiped it. But never mind she’s enjoyed it.

I’ve done a simple design to sit on top of the bug hotel in the garden after a varnish. I may do an equally simple bee design next to go alongside this.

Hope you’re all getting involved with 30 days wild and have enjoyed your first day.

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30 Days Wild-sign up time

It’s that time of the year again when I start preparing for a month of wildness. I originally set up this blog in support of the Wildlife Trust’s 30 day days wild initiative. Through June the WIldlife Trusts encourage you to do one wild act each day. This can be as simple as cloud gazing, finding something blue. Or you may actually get out to a reserve or go on a day out in nature. It is a great way to connect with our natural world. Connecting with nature in this way has been shown to improve happiness, reduce stress and make you more mindful of the world around you. But mainly it’s good fun. There isn’t any pressure to do something every day but there are basic enough ideas you should be able to manage something.

I signed up for the school pack. This comes with some lovely ideas on large cards. There is a pack of information, posters, stickers and a colouring wall sheet. Alice wants to steal the wild teacher badge from me so I don’t know how long I’ll manage to hold onto that.

People who have followed the blog for a while will know I’ve taken part for several years now. Earlier in the year, I was asked if one of my previous wild acts could be used in a book the Wildlife Trust was putting out for 30 days. The book is now out. 365 days wild by Lucy McRobert lists lots of ideas, as the name suggests, of things to do through the year to connect with nature. The book has been put together well. Attractively designed, it features many photos and details of the wild acts. It’s a book you can settle down to read or just flick through to get inspiration.

I’m proud to have a small entry within the book from my previous years taking part in 30 days wild. I wrote a haiku as one of my previous wild acts. There is a description of how to write a haiku and then my little effort at the bottom of the page. The family have taken the mick that it was just this small entry, but then they’re not published poets like I now am. Took me at least two minutes work.

30 Days Wild is great fun to take part in. There are great online communities through Twitter and Facebook sharing their efforts. I highly recommend signing up.  Never been a greater need to show appreciation for nature.

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Cheerio bird feeder

This week we were sent ideas for feeding the birds from Alice’s nursery. This has made a good follow up to doing our RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch. She wanted to make the heart so a raid of the garden box and her craft box gave us all the materials we needed.

  • Garden wire
  • Wire cutters
  • Cheerios (other brands are available)
  • String

First, we cut a length of wire and made a bend so the hoops wouldn’t fall off.

Then the cheerios can be threaded onto the wire.

Then we added the string for hanging and bent it into a heart shape.

Alice seems happy with the result. A nice little ten-minute activity with the little one.