It’s hard to want to go outdoors for some fresh air at this time of year, when it’s so cold, and feel confident with wildlife watching. So we’ve put together some easy-to-try tips that will get the most out of your family nature walks this year, as well as some nature activities for kids, so they can learn while they stretch their legs. What do you need to start nature spotting?• A notebook and pencil• If you’re exploring the coast or other terrains, you may need sensible footwear and a waterproof jacket.• Binoculars are not essential but they do enhance bird watching for children. A good size for general bird watching is 8x30.• Again, a magnifying glass is not essential but it can help you see insects and small animals in detail.• Small containers can be used to collect specimens such as old shells and feathers to take home, but remember not to take home living things!• A good wildlife guide – we’d recommend British Wildlife Handbook and British Wildflowers and Trees Handbook for a general overview of wildlife watching and nature activities for kids.
Ideas for nature activities for kids• Identify species with the help of fact files from a wildlife guide – or draw our own pictures first and then write notes!
• Use a container to carefully scoop up a mound of dirt or water from a pond and study what’s inside.• Collect leaves, twigs and other objects that you can take home to create a nature picture.
• Pick a colour and try to find as many different types of wildlife of that colour and write down each number.
• Kids can write down their experiences of what they saw, what they could smell, hear, touch etc. on their nature walk.
• Find different leaves that have fallen, bring them home and stick them to paper. Try to label them with the type of tree they are from by looking at a wildlife guide or on the Internet.• Make a bird feeder and then make notes of the different species of birds that visit.
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