In my book, Exploring Nature With Children, I strongly encourage you to find a ‘special nature spot’ to explore on a regular basis with your children. Getting to know a place allows you to build a relationship with that place. You know the birds that visit, the bulbs that push through the frozen earth in spring-time, the fiery colours of the trees in Autumn, you become a specialist in your own wee corner of the world.
I do, however, recommend visiting other places too. Broaden your horizons every now and then, add some variety to your nature journals, learn about different places and eco systems.
Here is a list of ideas of places you may wish to visit:
- Your own garden: Changes in plant growth, soil types, visiting creatures, fruits and vegetables produced, records of new plants ‘weeds’ and medicinal plants.
- The seashore: Tidepools, tides, birds, dunes, other wildlife. Be sure to bring home a collection of seashells to observe over the coming weeks.
- Mountains: What is the mountain called, and why? To what range does it belong? How tall is it, and how are mountains measured? How are mountains formed? What plant and animal life makes its home there?
- A local woodland: How old is the woodland? What trees grow there? Follow the seasonal changes, observe the woodland as a whole, or focus on just one tree. What other wild life is dependant on the woodland?
- A pond or river: Is this body of water seasonal, or there all year ’round? How is it fed? What vegetation grows on its banks? Record all the creatures you see. Take samples of the water, observe with a microscope, and find out about what you see.
- The sky: Look up! What do you see? Observe weather patterns, precipitation levels, cloud cover. Where does the sun rise and set in relation to your home? How high in the sky does it climb? What constellations do you see in the sky. Do they change? Observe the moon, record its shape & position each evening. What happens if you observe later in the evening?