30 Days Wild: Day 20-Broomsticks

Following on from our magic days earlier in the week Alice had requested a broom for her beat baby cuddly toy to go with her wand. I did most of the construction today but once she’s been shown how to do something she’ll usually give it a go later in the week. So between downpours we managed a quick craft job in the garden. These are easy to make and you can make them on the go if you carry a bit string.

I collected up one thicker stick and a pile of thinner sticks and cut to the same length. I then wrapped it in florist wire to keep it secure.

Then to neaten it up and keep the look of a broom I wrapped it with twine.

Then the two of them went flying back and forth around the garden. She did lots of ‘flights’ jumping off the slide.

Then she helped out as the feeders were looking empty.

Though we moved off fast as we were looking to be swarmed.

I hope you enjoyed our simple craft for today. A good little bit of stick play for the imagination.

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30 Days Wild: Day 19-Animal rescue

Well, yesterday was National Picnic Day but the weather was horrible so I’m glad we went out the day before. So we’ve had a wet day inside. Alce was kindly gifted a new kids kindle by her granddad. Part of the deal is you get kids unlimited in the first year giving you access to lots of children’s books. We’ve read through lots of the National Geographic kids books. Alice particularly liked the underwater ones while I liked the one on bees. She’s taken some of it in as she was telling me later how some bees are social and some are solitary. Though struggling to say solitary.

Then it seems to have been a day of animal rescue. The bees are very washed out so needing a sugar water boost.

We have had a seagull chick fall out of the nest. This happens pretty much every year. They are not about to win parenting awards. The advice is to put back on a roof if possible and see if the parents are feeding them. I’m not sure this one will be long for this world but we’ll see. Alice is excited to check in on it.

During lockdown, the environment bill is being discussed. It is looking to be pretty weak on any long term commitment to the environment. The RSPB have set up a form to message your local MP. My local MP Graham Stuart has never responded to me in several years of messaging him about various issues. But I figure more and more people are becoming environmentally aware so any pressure placed on MPs will let them now they need to prioritise.


It just takes a minute to complete and the more people who do it the more of a message it sends.

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30 Days Wild: Day 18-Picnic on the beach

Wednesday is one of our busiest days. Amy has lots of lessons currently and we visit the eco pantry on a Wednesday so we thought we’d squeeze a trip out at dinner time and eat our dinner down on the beach. With a sea fret coming in, grey clouds and shops now open we thought it might be quieter on the beach again.

The clifftop garden is all in bloom now and looking great. Tons of poppies and geraniums and red hot pokers standing out.

Amy regretted not bringing the macro lens out.

Alice favours the red poppies but there are lots of colours now out.

And lots of insects appreciating it.

We’re able to walk along the beach staying a distance away from people and find a spot for a picnic. I’ve talked about it before but eating outside is always nice. It gives that extra feeling of an occasion and the fact that all three of us could make it out was lovely.

As you can see we were able to social distance just fine. There were still quite a lot of people towards the town end but quiet enough I didn’t feel on edge letting Alice play. I needed to go home to get a few bits sorted but Alice and Amy carried on along the beach a bit to look for treasure.

It was nice to get down to the beach again. We haven’t gone for a few weeks since the lockdown rules were relaxed as it had got too busy. The seafront garden has come on a lot and the wildflowers along the cliff edge have all changed in just month. Good to see.

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30 Days Wild: Day 17-Wetland walk

Alice was very keen to go and feed the ducks today but the main Mere access is currently closed, so we went for a walk across the fields around the mere. Hornsea Mere is the largest natural freshwater lake in Yorkshire and is surrounded by grassland and patches of woodland.

We can’t get close enough to feed the ducks this way but there was plenty of other wildlife even on a dull day. The grassland and buttercups were filled with buttercups and moths. I think these were chimney-sweepers, a day-flying moth. Very similar to the small blue butterfly which I think were also out.

And a number of these brown beetles around.

Alice was eager to get ahead.

The dog roses in flower along the edge of the field.

We made it across several fields but plenty of snacks were needed along the way.

I spotted a few orchids along the edge of the path. I’m not certain on ID, possibly a marsh orchid but it’s not something I’ve spent much time on.

Then we stopped off on the way back along the old railway track.

Alice was keen to look for the fairy doors placed along there last year.

A nice walk out. The chimney sweeper moths are a new discovery along with the orchids so that was quite exciting. Alice asked if we can take mummy another day so hopefully, she enjoyed our stroll. I was a bit grumpy on the way back as the council and local busybodies are starting to tidy areas up now lockdown is being eased. Several areas of town have had the mowing reduced during the lockdown and they’ve been stunning. Filled with poppies, daisies, grasses, buttercups and the bees and butterflies have been loving it. All gone now. All spaces no one walked through so no need to be mowed. Even in the middle of a mass extinction, people want tidiness over beauty. So sad. I don’t know how many more years I’ll get to enjoy the Mere before it gets ruined but I hope it gets left for many years.

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30 Days Wild: Day 16-Drawing outside

Today we took our phonics outside and practised the letters we have covered so far using chalk to practise writing.

And some wild drawing.

Followed by a butterfly.

Our bumpy concrete isn’t the easiest for drawing on. I maybe need to get some jumbo chalks to make it a bit easier.

After dinner, we headed out for our walk.

Plenty of wildlife to be found.

And a walk through the secret passage.

We found a few woodlice in the den and Alice was fascinated and watched for a good few minutes.

Whereas I was more interested in this little beetle.

And a couple of bees back in the gardens. The hardy geraniums still bringing them all in. You can see the proboscis in action here.

And another getting stuck in.

Alice was a good little helper we planted some fresh lettuce and sprouts and netted so it doesn’t all get chomped by the birds this time.

And Alice helped with wheeling round brown waste to the compost. I’m taking out lots of forget-me-nots and aquilegia now they are spent to give the plants more space and airflow around them.

A good bit of work achieved in the garden together. Lots shooting up now we’ve had some rain and sun. A few areas too congested and in need of thining more. I’ll need to look at getting out with Alice to get it ready for our dahlias from seed which are shooting up now.

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30 Days of Wild: Day 15-Spells

Having made the stick wands I thought we’d carry on with the magic theme and have a go at spell books and some time in the mud kitchen on potion-making. Alice had started playing this at the den and when we returned home so I was looking to extend her play with a few more ideas.

We started with the wonderful book spells by Emily Gravett. This book tells the tale of a little frog who finds a spellbook and dreams of being a handsome prince. Each page is split in half and can be turned to make different spells. The illustrations of lovely. The book design with the half pages is playful and the story is funny. It’s a good starting point for any magic lover.

I did a bit of prep work on this project preparing some special paper to make a spellbook. I used two special spray paints to give the paper an aged effect but you could easily use tea bags or buy the paper that already looks aged.

I then folded to construct a book.

I’ve said before that I like to introduce tasks through letters. I thought this one would suit a scroll. Children often really buy into messages delivered this way. They are no longer doing a job for you. They are doing it for the person you’ve suggested whether that be a fairy or messages from the teddies. So long as you buy into it they go along with the silliness. So the plotline I created was that the witch had accidentally cast a spell on her book and she had made all the spells vanish. She needed our help to write some new spells.

Then I engaged in a bit of roleplay pretending to hear a noise upstairs. She went upstairs to investigate and found the scroll delivered by the owl. She can pick out her name and the pictures are so she knew who it was from. She really bought into this one talking about the witch and how she was a good witch and adding lots of extra detail to the character of the letters sender.

Back downstairs we worked on one spellbook together with me modelling a few examples to spark her own imagination.

Alice came up with lots of wonderful ideas of her own for spells.

She had a good go at copying a few words as well as writing lots of numbers for quantities for ingredients. So we got lovely mark-making, imagination and maths from this part of our play. I particularly like her frog.

It kept her attention for a good while and she filled two books with spells before taking her book off to find her wand and cauldron.

All kitted up we headed out. Alice was keen to find a stick as she felt Amy missed out on a wand yesterday. She found one quickly and got a basic wand constructed.

She had a good play around the den making her spells.

And then a bit of a rest and a snack together.

Amy took some spectacular bee photos with the macro lens.

Mine less so, but I was using the mid range lens rather than the macro.

All in all a magical adventure out. The fact that Alice referred to it as an adventure when we returned home makes me feel I did something right.

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30 Days Wild: Day 14-Stick wands

I was asked yesterday if I’d like to feature as a guest blog on Little Acorns website. They are an online shop selling nice open-ended wood toys. Lots of nice toys for young minds to explore. They are looking to feature several dad’s blogs about 30 days wild and they asked if they could feature my Ladybird Maths blog. So, it’s up on their site. It’s nice to know the blogs are being read and even nicer that people feel there worth sharing.

For tea earlier in the week we made our own pizzas with bases we got from the eco pantry at Alice’s nursery. They’ve carried on opening it during lockdown with social distancing in place. The eco pantry gets given food from the supermarkets that for various reasons isn’t going to be sold. It’s either about to go out of date or the labels were done wrong or they’ve just got too much of something. It would contribute to the problem of food waste. So for a pound a visit we get to choose 7 items. These schemes are massively useful for helping the environment as it means perfectly good food doesn’t go to waste, so more food doesn’t need to be sold in its place.

Alice enjoyed the process of making it though she was fussier about eating it.

Then we started yesterday with a quick craft job. We had a pile of circles left from our fish plates and I’d mentioned we could make a very hungry caterpillar.

Then Alice decided she wanted to make a chrysalis and draw a butterfly.

A nice little picture.

Then as the rain was looking like it would hold off and the wind had died down we made it out for a walk. We found a delightful little hoverfly straight out the door on the ferns.

On the walk to the park, we spotted plenty of wildflowers in the wall that borders the park.

Ivy leaved toadflax scrambling along the wall.

I think this is yellow cordalis, a member of the poppy family.

And a tiny Asplenium scolopendrium in the wall.

One of the activities I’d had at the back of mind for 30 days wild was to play stick wands and we found a perfect stick as we entered the park.

The meadow area is still in full buttercup glory mode.

There are still lots of ladybird larvae to be found.

And a few moved onto pupa.

The den area had been moved around a bit again and Alice decided she was going to make potions with the grass seed heads.

Then using a bit of florist wire we added a few found items to her wand.

And she cast lots of spells.

Across the bigger of the fields a sea fret was blowing in. Possibly as a result of Alice’s spells and potions.

Back at home we looked at adding to the wand from the craft box. A bit of ribbon, a flower hair slide and some string around the handle for ease of grip.

A pretty snazzy wand.

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30 Days Wild: Day 13-Plate fish

Alice has been talking about Uncle Richard who works at the Deep a lot this week. And as we live by the sea I felt we should really do a few more 30 days activities around the sea. We started off by reading the beautiful story of the rainbow fish. In the story the rainbow fish has many glittering scales and he learns to be kind and share his scales. I thought it would be nice to make one of the fish he shared his scales too.

We started by using a plate and cutting off most of the edge just leaving a little bit for fins. We got a triangle out for a mouth which we saved for a tail.

We then painted the whole plate. Alice wanted hers all red. If you are doing a job like this get the big brushes out, otherwise the interest goes before they’ve even finished the first part. Then you end up dealing with a sulky child who doesn’t want to do the craft activity you imagined would be wonderful.

We had some sticker eyes to choose from in the craft box but you could use googly eyes, draw it on or cut a circle of white.

We then used a circle hole punch to make lots of scales in colours Alice picked. She then glued them on around her fish.

Then once it had all dried we put the tales on. I think they were pretty effective for a simple craft where Alice could do most of it unaided. She’s happy with it but still more excited for eating our gingerbread from the day before.

We’ve got a few more wet days ahead so looking at a few more days of sticking close to home. So looking at a few more activities inside and in the garden. Got a good list of ideas ready though so should be fine.

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30 Days Wild: Day 12-Butterfly gingerbread

I’m going to start my day off with an activity for the grown-ups and older children. We are currently in food trade negotiations with the US. It is well known that the US has appalling food standards, selling food that would never be declared fit for human consumption in this country or raised in conditions that don’t meet our standards of animal welfare. Sorry US readers but this seems to be something that is uniting people in the UK across the political spectrum. They don’t want lower standards of food shipped in. For me, the sticking point is that the US still makes use of neonicotinoids which have been linked to Honey-Bee colony collapse disorder. We’ve made great steps forward in the UK we banned glyphosates in the garden. We banned Metaldehyde slug pellets, though it was sadly overturned. So we don’t need anything that could reverse this process. There are several petitions on the go trying to stop our government weakening our environmental standards during these trade negotiations.

Pesticide action network has set up an easy form for you to email your local MP stating you want safeguards in place during these trade deals. You can change the message if you want to personalise it or you can leave it as it is. Only takes a few minutes to show opposition to what will undoubtedly be a disastrous deal for the already weakened UK environment.


So having talked about the environmental side of food trades now so baking. Having failed at the bee buns earlier in the week I thought I’d go back to basics and do some gingerbread butterflies for our 30 days act of wildness today. Amy showed the other cutters though so we’ve got flowers, hearts and stars for good measure.

Alice has been very interested in space recently and made lots of comments about the star.

“The sun is a star. But it’s not this shape. It’s round”

So we had the conversation about how this is just how some people draw them as if they are shining but she was right. Stars should be round. Contrary Mary that she is.

I used a recipe for gingerbread from one of the bake-off cookbooks designed for festive ginger baubles. I think the recipe was intended to give you enough gingerbread for the whole family and visitors for the whole of December. But that will give us plenty for taking out on our 30 days adventures. Snacks are a vital part of any trips out with a young child to avoid tantrums. Luckily these taste a lot better than the bee buns as we’re going to be eating them for the rest of this week and next.

Then once cooled we moved onto a bit of decorating.

Then the agony of choosing which one to have.

They went down well. Very tasty.

Alice has enjoyed the fruits of her labour if nothing else. Hopefully, the wind and rain will die down for us a bit for us to get back out even if we do have to wrap back up. for now, I’ll enjoy bird watching out the window. I restocked the feeders with Haith’s sunflowers and had multitudes of blue tits, goldfinches and a chaffinch in the garden. Great to see.

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30 Days Wild: Day 11-Flower card

After a busy day previously and as it was pretty gloomy and wet outside I settled on a quiet day. Alice was keen to make a card for the staff at her nursery. So, I thought we could use the pressed flowers from earlier in the week. We selected a card and an envelope to construct it.

Alice arranged the flowers on the card and we put it in a laminating sheet.

Alice waited eagerly for the sheet to come out.

Alice wrote and drew inside her card.

She’s starting to want to know how to write different words, so I’ve introduced ‘love’ to her. Her fine motor is excellent but still trying to encourage her to mark make more and attempt writing what she wants to put down.

Then we assembled her laminated flowers onto the card with her special tape and she drew some extra flowers for good measure.

I hope the nursery like it. She spent half her time in forest school and half the time in the nursery and she loved it. The staff there have been wonderful and both me and Amy will be sad to see her move up into school having missed the last few months with the staff she loved so much.

For more 30 days ideas check this year’s contents page and the ideas pages.

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