Whatever the weather with Wild TotsNovember 29, 2015 • Get Outdoors
Martha Rose is Education Officer for Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust and is the co-ordinator of the Wild Forest School project, which received generous funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery this year. Martha has been a Forest School Leader of 5 years and regularly gets her two children to test out ideas. Here are some of the activities they have been enjoying recently.
In my experience, young children love to get outside and explore, whatever the weather. At my weekly Wild Tots preschool group, the children are always raring to go, and are generally much better dressed for the weather than their parents!
As long as you have the right clothing, there’s lots of fun to be had outdoors, at any time of year. But in case you’re not as keen as your little ones to brave the elements, here are some ideas to tempt you outside this winter.
With all this stormy weather we have been having, it’s the perfect time of year to make the most of the wind.
If you are visiting a park, or are lucky enough to have some suitable trees in your garden, then start by looking for seeds that are dispersed by the wind. The most well-known are the “helicopter” seeds of Sycamore and Maple trees. Most will have blown onto the ground, but there should still be plenty to pick up.
Gather handfuls of the seeds (making sure the two “wings” are detached from one another) and throw them into the air – see how many your children can catch, and help them to throw some as well. Height is an advantage here, so find something to stand on nearby, such as a bench or climbing frame. Other seeds to look out for are Ash “keys”, which you will see hanging down in bunches from the trees, and Hornbeam seeds (but not as common).
You can also experiment with flight at home by making your own Maple Seed Helicopter out of paper and card.
Shop-bought kites are too big for young children to fly on their own, but why should they miss out on all the fun? My Wild Tots really enjoyed making bat kites out of thin card.
Although the instructions say to attach the string to the underside of the bat, we found it worked better if it’s knotted to the wing tips. Once the kite is ready, tie it to a length of willow or another bendy stick. If the stick is held upright the kite will fly through the air behind a very happy running child!
The only down side to these is that they are not waterproof, so for damp weather you could make one out of a used plastic bag, using the template on the Muddy Puddles activity sheet.
Lastly, blowing bubbles is great fun all year round, but particularly impressive when they fly away at such speed. If the wind is strong enough, children will find that they don’t even need to blow – the wind will create the bubbles for them.
See more about The Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust #EveryChildWild Campaign here!
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