Taking it easy with Exploring Nature with Children
I don’t know about your house, but everyone in my house has that lazy spring feeling. No one wants to sit for any bookwork. Everyone wants to spend time with other people…preferably outside in the sunshine…eating ice lollies.
As playdate organiser and chauffer, the prospect of meeting up with others for a day outdoors is a little daunting. I haven’t had to do a lot of driving over the past 18 months. I have had to make a lot of decisions regarding my family’s health and happiness and I’m a little bit tired of making decisions (read completely fatigued). I am missing my lockdown walks now life is returning to something like its old self – giving these up is taking a toll on my mental health. And I’m feeling all anxious about the serious lack of any bookwork being done because we’re all so tired, the work is slow going, and now we’ve got people to see and things to do. I just can’t see how this all used to fit into our lives or how I will shoehorn it all in again!
So, I’ve made one decision for the month of June, one plan that I’m hoping will help me simplify decisions and stack my needs for friendship and outdoor exercise. And I’m sharing it with you, so you have even less to think about if you’re feeling the same.
Habit stacking – nature walks with friends
I can hear the groaning as I type this. But hear me out. Going on a nature walk with friends stacks exercise and socialising. BUT ALSO, if you’ve got a copy of Exploring Nature with Children (ENWC) then you can tick those boxes too (if you don’t know about ENWC can you even call yourself a home educator?)!
The next three weeks are Bee Week, Blossom Week & Summer Solstice week. Arrange for a nice walk with friends each week and prepare to throw just a few simple items in a bag so you can tick those boxes.
Walk somewhere you can collect pinecones. Throw some yellow yarn or string in your bag and wrap up those pinecones as you walk, or at the end of your walk if you’re finishing with a picnic or garden play. At home, you can also add eyes and wings if you wish and hang these little lovelies in the garden or from the ceiling as from.c_to.z did. This is enough for the littlies, but if you have ENWC then you can read all about bees and enjoy a lovely poem and a piece of art, ticking lots more boxes for older children. If you are wrapping up your walk in the garden, you can also fill your cup extra full with a good deed and make a simple #beewateringstation with an old tray or plate, some stones and some clean water.
Walk where you can pick elderflower blossoms. You definitely want to wind your way back to a garden for this one. With blossoms, boiled water, two lemons and honey or sugar, you can make this refreshing elderberry cordial from raising_up_wildflowers! Again, for the older children, you can read about the difference between blossoms and wildflowers (a whole other ENWC week) plus more scientific information, enjoy a poem and a work of art. Make sure your guests get their own cordial to take home and your good deed for the week is done!
Summer Solstice Week
Walk anywhere you like. I highly recommend an evening walk on a nice day, complete with a picnic tea to round up a ‘month’ of walks with a little something different. If you can get your hands on some #solarpaper for making fun art creations using the sun, that would be a good time to read through your ENWC information before tucking into your picnic. Solar paper pictures could then be made into cards for friends and neighbours wishing them a happy solstice … ticking yet more boxes.
If your children pick wildflowers on any of your walks, press them between kitchen roll in the centre of a heavy book. If you’re feeling more energetic than I am, these beautiful wildflower lanterns from raising_up_wildflowers would be a lovely addition to your summer solstice celebration.
Exploring Nature with Children
This is just a note to say, ENWC has so much more to it than science explanations, poems and art. There is more in-depth scientific information if you invest in the Handbook of Nature Study as well. There are book lists and a myriad of extension activities for each topic too. It’s such a great place to begin or review life science information with all other subjects woven in for good practice. For the purposes of this post, I’ve just focussed on what’s open-and-go about ENWC for us box tickers who are just.so.tired.