Calendar of Firsts: Week 49


Christmas trees count as nature study, yes?

We also enjoyed our first snow this week!

Christmas Plants Week: Exploring Nature With Children

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

Here are some helpful links to get you going:

Happy exploring!

Nature-Themed Advent Calendar ~ Supplies

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

Week One

  • A journal in which to record your thoughts & memories about this season of Advent.
  • 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)

Week Two

As for week one, plus the following:

  • 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! **I have received a comment from a reader asking me to remove glitter, due to the effects of micro plastics on the environment. Here is a biodegradable option, for those who would like to consider it as an alternative**
  • Cotton thread
  • Garden wire
  • Garden twine
  • 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 selection of Christmas books to read aloud

Week Three

As for week one, plus the following:

  • Bird seed to top up your feeders
  • 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
    • Glitter & food colour
  • 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.)
  • Ingredients to bake your favourite Christmas treat

Week Three

As for week one, plus the following:

  • A pencil
  • Felt-tip markers or poster paints
  • Metallic marker
  • Varnish or PVA glue & a suitable brush (non-essential)
  • 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.)
  • Wild bird seed, suet balls
  • A favourite Christmas film

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

A Nature-Themed Advent Calendar

Over the last couple of Advent seasons I have shared with you 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 last year’s 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 22nd I will post a list of the supplies you will need to stock up on, in preparation for the daily activities.

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

Christmas Gifts For Nature Loving Children

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It’s that time of the year, when I get to share some ideas for smashing presents for nature-loving children. I hope it helps to give you some ideas for nature-inspired gifts.

We are a diverse bunch here at Raising Little Shoots, with readers from around the globe. Please note that some of the selections may not be available world-wide.


Fox table lamp from John Lewis


Perfect for a child’s room, this beautiful Red Fox Wall Hanging is made from reclaimed wood by Pine Needles and Pins.

Be still my beating heart! Fairy House Kit by GypsyRaku

Brittany has very kindly offered a 10% off coupon to you for anything in her Esty shop: GYPSYBLOGGER10

A lovely sandpit, many of which can be purchased with covers to keep the sand in good, clean condition.

A bug hotel from FlotsamJetsamCrafts

A beautiful stocking present, this Allens Hummingbird enamel pin is from The Knothole Tree


Bushcraft Knife Choice for Children and Young People by Barry Smith. This is a smashing article on choosing the correct knife.

Handmade Curly Maple pen or pencil for your child’s nature journal by Exquisite Ink

Their own quality tools encourage children to be diligent in their work. Gardening equipment from Myriad Online

Depending on your climate, you could give your child their very own fruit tree! Here is some information to help you

And perhaps the ultimate gift: Their own greenhouse!



Woodland Play Set by Happy Nature Kid


This is a real favourite! The Big Book of Bugs by Yuval Zommer

The beautifully illustrated Bug Bingo


For your wee one who loves to pretend: Giraffe Ears Headband and Giraffe Tail Set by oKidz

Stilts by Myriad Online


Inspiration for hours of creative play! Tree Blocks Forest Friends by Treemagination

Skipping rope from woodforgeuk



Child’s Hiking Pole

A tent and the promise of an adventure! The family tent buying guide.


2018 Guide to the Night Sky: A month-by-month guide to exploring the skies above Britain and Ireland We have used these books for several years. Highly recommended.


The 5 Best Telescopes for Kids – super article to help you chose your child’s first telescope.

Bring the night sky into your home by shining a flashlight through these coins towards your walls or ceiling. Wooden Constellation Coins by From Jennifer


Annual Pass for a local aquarium.

Sea Life UK Annual Pass

Riding lessons. Here is good advice on choosing a place to learn.


Red light torch for watching wildlife at night time

Audubon Bird Caller Necklace from Lil Bellies

Why not combine the bird caller with this gorgeous book of North American birds? My Book Of Birds


And perhaps this beautiful birding journal from Tanglewood Hollow

I do hope that this list gives you some inspiration for Christmas gifts for your wee nature sprites.

Happy exploring and a Merry Christmas!


Calendar of Firsts 2017

The New Year arrived before I was ready, but we had a beautiful, restful day, with the sliver of a crescent moon visible in the day-time sky, along with bright, beautiful Venus!


The feeders in the garden have been busy; Blue tits, Great tits, Ruben the Robin, Sparrows, Blackbirds, and a friendly pigeon who does his best to feed there.

We have had some wonderful, freezing weather with bright blue skies, whilst today is extremely foggy. Rose is out at the stables, I hope she doesn’t lose her way i the fog when she rides out!


As you can see, I have begun my new Calendar of Firsts. I have yet to washi-tape the page edges though! Have you begun your journal yet?

Wishing you all a smashing, nature-filled year!

Happy exploring


Calendar of Firsts Flip Through


It seems ever such a long time ago since I began my Calendar of Firsts back in January. But the year has rolled on, and each week I have added my observations about the natural world around me.

This morning I sketched my last entry: Week 52: Hoarfrost on Holly, and a Moorhen.

I have created a flip-through video so you can see all the nature happenings that I have recorded this year, and I do hope that you will consider keeping your own Calendar of Firsts (whether illustrated or not) in 2017

Wishing you a happy and peaceful new year!



Calendar of Firsts ~ Week 51


Week 51 The penultimate week of my Calendar of Firsts.

That same story as the last few weeks, weatherise. Lots of rain and some frosty mornings. Breathtaking sunsets and sunrises. The Monday morning sky was half deep, but bright blue, half a glorious lilac-purple tone. The waning gibbous moon sat like a plump, cut diamond on a velvet cushion. We have a few sprigs of Mistletoe hanging in the hall way, so before I hung it up, I painted it and Rose cut open a berry to investigate the sticky insides.

And this is Christmas week! Such joy!

What’s happening in the natural world where you live?
Happy exploring!

Calendar of Firsts ~ Week 50


Week 50! I am definitely on a countdown to the end of the year, and consequently, the end of my Calendar of Firsts.

Lots and lots of rain here again this week. And gorgeous sunsets and sunrises. I chose to paint the plump, ripe Ivy berries in the garden, and also the full ‘Moon before Yule’. It was quite a windy morning and the clouds were scudding along at quite a rate. We have also had some lovely Collar Doves visit the feeders this week, which was a joy.

What’s happening in the natural world where you live?
Happy exploring!