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I am so pleased to have reached 45,000 followers on Instagram!
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To celebrate, Raising Little Shoots is having a flash sale.
Use code: FLASH20 for 20% discount on any of the products in the shop. Valid until the 4th of December
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Happy exploring!

DECEMBER NATURE NOTES

I hope that this Nature Note finds you well! 

Many of you are new to Exploring Nature with Children, and are joining us for the first time this month. Please jump right in, it’s a lovely time to get started with the habit of nature study and journaling.

If you began back in September, my hope is that you and your child are enjoying your studies, and learning about the natural world around you.

“Never be within doors when you can rightly be without.”

Miss Charlotte Mason

It can be a challenge to get out of doors in the colder months, so take every small moment as a victory; those moments certainly add up over the years! Look at this quote as an encouragement, rather than as words to beat yourself up with.

For those of you who are using Exploring Nature With Children, the weeks fall as follows:

2nd ~ 8th Week 1: Christmas Plants Week

9th ~ 15th Week 2: Bird Study Week  

16th ~ 22nd Week 3 Winter Solstice Week (The Solstice falls on the 22nd)

23rd ~ 29th Week 4: The Twelve Days of Christmas

The following week will be a break week.

There’s a free calendar for the year to download here.

As always, please work the weeks to suit your own circumstances best; these are just my own suggestions!

If you’re over on Instagram, do pop over and say hello! The Instagram page is very much about community; think of it as your virtual home school co op! Our community uses the #exploringnaturewithchildren hashtag, & also specific weekly hashtags to enable you to connect with other families working through ENWC this year

Seasonal notes:

Are you following the annual Raising Little Shoots nature themed Advent Calendar this year? Beginning on December 1st, through to December 24th, I will be sharing daily Advent posts: an unfolding of the Christmas Story in scripture, and an activity for the day. The activities will be mostly nature-based, with a few special, festive activities here and there, to add a little Christmas magic.

We also have the Winter Solstice to look forward to this month. The arc of the Sun is at the minimum point for the northern hemisphere at this time of year, the Sun being at its lowest in the sky. After the ‘shortest day’ of the Winter Solstice, the days will begin to grow longer again, and we are on our way back to summer time! 

And then we are upon Christmastide! A lovely Christmas carol that you may wish to share with your family is The Friendly Beasts, in which the story of the nativity is told to us by the animals who were present. I believe it it is of French origin (please do let me know if you know different!)

Here’s to a happy December. Happy exploring!

Advent | Day 1

Thank you for joining me for the first day of our nature-themed advent calendar!

Today’s Reading

Isaiah 9:6-7 ESV

For to us a child is born,

    to us a son is given;

and the government shall be upon his shoulder,

    and his name shall be called

Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God,

    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

 Of the increase of his government and of peace

    there will be no end.

Today’s Activity:

This coming week in Exploring Nature With Children is all about Christmas plants, so take some time today to enjoy some nature-themed Christmas carols with your child. (The links open to YouTube)

The Holly And The Ivy

The holly and the ivy,
When they are both full grown,
Of all trees that are in the wood,
The holly bears the crown
O, the rising of the sun,
And the running of the deer
The playing of the merry organ,
Sweet singing in the choir.

The holly bears a blossom,
As white as lily flow’r,
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ,
To be our dear Saviour
O, the rising of the sun,
And the running of the deer
The playing of the merry organ,
Sweet singing in the choir.

The holly bears a berry,
As red as any blood,
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ,
To do poor sinners good
O, the rising of the sun,
And the running of the deer
The playing of the merry organ,
Sweet singing in the choir.

The holly bears a prickle,
As sharp as any thorn,
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ,
On Christmas Day in the morn
O, the rising of the sun,
And the running of the deer
The playing of the merry organ,
Sweet singing in the choir.

The holly bears a bark,
As bitter as the gall,
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ,
For to redeem us all
O, the rising of the sun,
And the running of the deer
The playing of the merry organ,
Sweet singing in the choir.

The holly and the ivy,
When they are both full grown,
Of all trees that are in the wood,
The holly bears the crown
O, the rising of the sun,
And the running of the deer
The playing of the merry organ,
Sweet singing in the choir.

O Christmas Tree

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree!
Thy leaves are so unchanging
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
Thy leaves are so unchanging

Not only green when summer’s here,
But also when it’s cold and drear.
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
Thy leaves are so unchanging!

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
Such pleasure do you bring me!
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
Such pleasure do you bring me!

For every year this Christmas tree,
Brings to us such joy and glee.
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
Such pleasure do you bring me!

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
You’ll ever be unchanging!
A symbol of goodwill and love
You’ll ever be unchanging

Each shining light
Each silver bell
No one alive spreads cheer so well

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
You’ll ever be unchanging

Deck The Hall

Deck the halls with boughs of holly,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Tis’ the season to be jolly,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Don we now our gay apparel,
Fa la la, la la la, la la la.,
Troll the ancient Christmas Carol,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

See the blazing Yule before us,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Strike the harp and join the chorus,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Follow me in merry measure
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
While I tell of Yuletide treasure,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Fast away the old year passes,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Hail the new, ye lads and lasses,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Sing we joyous, all together,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Heedless of the wind and weather,
Fa la la la la, la la la la la la la la

I would also like to make a gentle suggestion to all reading this today; why not begin an Advent journal to record the precious moments of advent? It need not be a fancy affair, indeed a simple lined spiral bound book can easily be carried around with you and does not have that off-putting tone that expensive, purpose-made journals have, with their pristine and perfect pages! Just take a moment each day to record a memory. I promise this will be a treasure in years to come.

See you tomorrow for more advent fun.

Christmas Plants | Exploring Nature With Children

Next week in Exploring Nature With Children is ‘Christmas Plants Week’.

Here are some helpful links to get you going:

Exploring Nature With Children is an open and go curriculum. To make it even easier, I have created a free calendar for you to download. There’s a direct link in my profile.

Happy exploring!

Supplies| A Nature-themed Advent Calendar

Here is a list of supplies you will need to follow along with the nature-themed advent calendar, which begins on December 1st.

Please feel free to follow along each day, or dip in and out as you please.

If you would like to share your days on social media, please use the hashtag #RLSadventcalendar

Week One

  • A journal in which to record your thoughts & memories about this season of Advent.
  • Your nature journals, or heavy paper for sketching, plus your sketching materials of choice (watercolours, coloured pencils etc)
  • A selection of Christmas books to read aloud. Some of our favourite nature-themed Christmas stories:
  • Ingredients to make play dough:
  • 300g salt
  • 360g plain flour
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 250ml warm water
  • optional extras:
    • Cinnamon & ground ginger (1 tsp each)
    • Peppermint essence (a few drops) and red food colour dough
    • Food colour & glitter. Here is a biodegradable option, for those who would like to consider the effects of micro plastics on the environment.
  • A favourite Christmas film

Some of our favourites:

  • Ingredients to make hot chocolate.
  • Candy Canes
  • Secateurs, or robust scissors
  • Old newspapers
  • PVA glue
  • Small paintbrushes (ones that you do not mind using with glue; the glue will spoil them somewhat.)
  • Lots of glitter! Here is a biodegradable option, for those who would like to consider the effects of micro plastics on the environment.
  • Cotton thread

Week Two

  • Your ‘Mother’s- journal’ in which to record your thoughts & memories about this season of Advent.
  • Garden wire
    Garden twine
  • Bird seed to top up your feeders
  • Ingredients to bake your favourite Christmas treat
  • Dark-coloured crayons
    White paper (printer paper is ideal)
  • Glue
    Scissors
    Metallic marker
    Blank cards and envelopes (or make your own cards from folded coloured cardstock.)

Week Three

  • Your ‘Mother’s- journal’ in which to record your thoughts & memories about this season of Advent.
  • Large sheets of paper: I like to use brown wrapping paper, lining paper is another option.
    Poster paint
    Small cookie cutters (festive ones will be extra special!)
    Potatoes ~ you can see where this is headed 😉
  • A pencil
    Felt-tip markers or poster paints
    Metallic marker
    Varnish or PVA glue & a suitable brush (non-essential)
  • Ingredients to make hot chocolate.
    Candy Canes
    Your nature journals, or heavy paper for sketching, plus your sketching materials of choice (watercolours, coloured pencils etc)
  • Ingredients to make a favourite mulled drink (If you wish to follow my recipe, you will need a bottle of apple juice, a cinnamon stick, a couple of cloves, and an orange.)

Week Four

  • Your ‘Mother’s- journal’ in which to record your thoughts & memories about this season of Advent.
  • Ingredients to make hot chocolate.
  • Wild bird seed, suet balls

We’re almost there! Don’t forget to subscribe to the website, so as not to miss a day!

Weather Week | Exploring Nature With Children

This week in Exploring Nature With Children is ‘Weather Week’.

Here are some helpful links to get you going:

Exploring Nature With Children is an open and go curriculum. To make it even easier, I have created a free calendar for you to download. There’s a direct link in my profile.

Happy exploring!

A Nature-themed Advent Calendar

Over the last few Advent seasons I have shared a daily, nature-themed Advent calendar. So many of you let me know how much you enjoyed it, that I have decided to run it again this coming Advent.

Beginning on December 1st, through to December 24th, I will be sharing daily Advent posts: an unfolding of the Christmas Story in scripture, and an activity for the day. The activities will be mostly nature-based, with a few special, festive activities here and there, to add a little Christmas magic.

On November 23rd I shall post a list of the supplies that you will need to stock up on, in preparation for the daily activities.

Please feel free to share to spread the Christmas joy, and be sure to subscribe to the blog so as not to miss a day!

Lichen Week | Exploring Nature With Children

This week in Exploring Nature With Children is ‘Lichen Week’.

Here are some helpful links to get you going:

Bill Oddie Goes Wild: Lovely Lichens (BBC video)

Beautiful Lichen sketches, by Claire Kathleen Ward

Getting Started With Lichen Dyes by Alissa Allen

Rare Lichen: a living legacy of WWII

Please note that lichens are a very delicate structures so should be collected responsibly.

Happy exploring!

Moss Week | Exploring Nature With Children

This week in Exploring Nature With Children it is ‘Moss Week’.

Here are some helpful links to get you going:

Happy exploring!

Fungus Study Week | Exploring Nature With Children

This week in Exploring Nature With Children is ‘Fungus Week’.

Here are some helpful links to get you going:

I have made the decision to remove the reading recommendation for the Story Book of Science for this week. It contained some information that could be quite dangerous if followed, so I have decided it best to remove it from the recommendations.

Exploring Nature With Children is an open and go curriculum. To make it even easier, I have created a free calendar for you to download. There’s a direct link in my profile.

Happy exploring!