#30DaysWild Day 13 – Ashing Lane Nature Reserve

(With Daddy in a full day of meetings, mummy not feeling 100% and the minis still at full energy levels, Day 12 was… well… let’s just skip on to Day 13 shall we?)Day 13

We may not have baked banana bread but one lockdown bingo box we can tick is finding a new beauty spot on our doorstep.

Despite living only about seven miles away from Ashing Lane Nature Reserve for about as long as it has existed we only discovered it by doing a Google search for a new woods to explore at the beginning of lockdown.

One of our favourite places to go, Chambers Farm Woods, had proved lots of other people’s favourite place to go too and we wanted to find somewhere a bit easier to maintain social distance.

The mix of woodland and meadows which also features a pond and a lake has afforded us several varied visits both before travelling restrictions were put in place and after they were relaxed again.

Today the information boxes had been refilled by Nettleham Woodland Trust volunteers and we followed the 20-point family nature trail (also available to download from their website) that led us to more areas that we hadn’t walked through before including past a willow tunnel and nearby a roe buck deer sculpture.

The reserve has quickly become one of my favourite natural places to visit around Lincoln and today was excellent for seeing shapes in the clouds, spotting bees and butterflies, picnicking and finding lots of different bright summer colours in between the plentiful foliage.

The access road isn’t great, narrow and exceedingly bumpy the closer you get to the small car park, but it’s also accessible via footpaths and bridleways too.

Today’s trip ended in a slightly distressing way however as my husband suddenly had a severe hayfever attack which rendered him virtually unable to see but don’t worry, we didn’t “do a Cummings” as I drove home instead.

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#30DaysWild Day 11 – A bear hunt on the West Common

Day 11An attempt to find another different place to explore for a walk than our usual lockdown routes led us to Lincoln’s West Common today.

Whilst probably not the best place for a pushchair which was very quickly taken back to the car, and due to its openness not great for hide and seek, it did turn out to have good bear hunt opportunities however.

With Willow spotting a patch of mud on the way in she was quickly squelch squerching through it reciting Michael Rosen’s words.

And not long afterwards we found a good spot of swishy swashy grass too with the cycle path providing an imagined river to splish splosh in.  Sadly we didn’t come across any caves with bears in though.

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt has long been a household favourite – click here to see Willow reciting and reading the well-loved story and it’s so lovely to hear that Michael Rosen is starting to recover from the virus.

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#30DaysWild Day 10 – Daisy Made it

Day10Looking at a soggy cow through our car window was about as wild as we got today – not a sentence I would have ever have predicted I’d write when starting this blog I must admit.

Usually a trip to our local ice cream farm Daisy Made would include an opportunity to interact with a small collection of animals including pygmy goats, rabbits and guinea pigs and seeing the cows from afar as well as enjoying the play areas alongside guzzling down one (or two) of their vast range of dairy ice cream flavours.

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Today, of course, it’s just the drive through that’s currently operating with a reduced selection but it was still just as yummy and we were at least able to wave to one of Daisy’s friends on the way in.

And we did also watch a CBeebies Maddie’s Do You Know episode on iPlayer all about snails (and tractors) because, of course, you can never know too much about our spirally friends.

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#30DaysWild Day Nine – Starmers Pit and butterfly crafts

Day9Today was much more like I’d always intended taking part in #30DaysWild to be.

In between drizzly drops we made a dash to get out of the house and discover a new natural space.

Not far out of Lincoln city centre, Starmers Pit is a five acre fishing lake that’s right next door to Sainsbury’s.  My husband remembers walking around it as a child but I have only previously looked over it from the supermarket cafe.

Good for seeing exposed tree roots, skimming stones and tickling family members with a feather, the minis enjoyed climbing, balancing and scaling the heights of “hills” (known to those with less imagination as small mounds) and it was definitely a much needed escape to some fresh air, open space and lush natural surroundings.  It may be surrounded by housing estates and the retail park but, cocooned in the green, we were transported away to a much wilder feel for a short time at least.

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In the evening we made a folded paper butterfly following instructions found on Twinkl.  Another activity meant to be completed on Day Six and only just realised today but it’s also far from the only butterfly we’ve made during lockdown.  Since making one was part of her home learning a few weeks ago, Willow has been very keen to keep making images of the colourful insect in many different ways.

Wearable wings cut from cardboard and decorated with pointillism techniques (to tick two home learning boxes at once), cutting out the shapes from fabric offcuts to decorate a flag, folding an origami butterfly, painting half an outline to fold and create a symmetrical picture, sticking tissue paper on a cut-out outline to create a stained glass effect window hanging, colouring and sticking together the insect’s life cycle and sewing and stuffing a felt Kitty Kay kit have been some of our craftier lockdown activities.

If you can think of any other butterfly crafts we can try then please let us know in the comments below!

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#30DaysWild Day Eight – World Oceans Day

Day8bTo mark World Oceans Day – which this year is calling on world leaders to protect 30% of out blue planet by 2030 – we started off the day by finding a Go Jetters episode and an Andy’s Aquatic Adventures episode on the iPlayer before switching over to YouTube to watch some songs about the world’s five oceans.

Thanks to Twinkl printables again we labelled the five oceans – Arctic, Atlantic, Indian, Pacific and Southern – and did some fishy-themed addition and under the sea-themed subtraction.

Whilst my five-year-old’s take away from all this was that her favourite oceanic creature is a mermaid, she is hopefully at least aware of how blue our planet is and my seven year old did have quite a positive reaction to the Go Jetters episode, switching off any lights that had been left on unecessarily to save energy.

Later in the day one of the butterfly activities I’d planned for day six was finally realised.  A more enjoyable form of bedtime procrastination led to Willow performing a puppet show (using Twinkl printables) of The Hungry Caterpillar.

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#30DaysWild Day Seven – More snails, spirals and volcanoes

IMG_2783Willow had probably one of her favourite breakfasts ever this morning as we made more edible snails.

Still no molluscs were harmed in the making of them and they were a lot more simple than yesterday’s baking efforts.

As suggested on the White Rose Maths website to accompany its The Snail and the Whale activities, these snails just involved a mini wrap, chocolate spread and a knife.

The chocolatey treats didn’t last long on the plate but I think she took in the spirals she’d created at least a little before ingesting them as quickly as possible.

We also took a look at where we can find spirals elsewhere in nature including fossils, galaxies, tornadoes, whirpools and fingerprints.  Then we tried discovering spirals at home and found a fridge magnet, her hair curls and a toy ice cream topping.

After cutting out a springy spiral and doing a snails’ quiz (thanks to Twinkl printables) and drawing her own spirals, hopefully we’ve suitably engaged in the subject at least to reception level – we might leave Fibonacci for another day.

We also finally had an attempt at the vinegar and baking soda volcano experiment today too.  After declaring we were going to do it we discovered we didn’t have that much vinegar left after all but there was no going back at that point.  It may have been a little bit of a damp squib in the end but there was at least a small eruption and I think we’re going to tick that box and move on…

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#30DaysWild Day Six – Snails

DaySixHaving revisited The Snail and the Whale for my five-year-old’s home learning I had also done a quick search for other snail activities for us to try out.

Thanks to How to Montessori for including the recipe Baking with Kids – Easy Mini Cinnamon Snails on its website we spent the morning making some marshmallow-eyed molluscs.

MatissesMagicalTrailIn the afternoon we turned to Twinkl educational resources again and labelled the parts of a snail followed by reading a new book for us.  Matisse’s Magical Trail by  Tim Hopgood is a tale of an inspirational artistic snail and was recommended accompanying reading on the White Rose Maths website which Willow’s home learning was sourced from.

Twinkl’s website also made us aware that today was the 10th Butterfly Education and Awareness Day (BEAD) organised by the Association For Butterflies so I had planned several butterfly-inspired activities too but the “determined insistence” of our seven year old in requesting we inflate our new paddling pool inside the house rather overtook the rest of the day and we only got as far as coronating Willow with this lifecycle crown but she is always happy when her regal inclinations are acknowledged.

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#30DaysWild Day Five – More volcanoes

DayFiveWe spent a lot of the day waiting for a dry spell to conduct our second volcano experiment but it wasn’t to be.

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Instead we turned to educational resources website Twinkl again and made a 3D cross section model, labelled a picture of a cross section and, with the added help of a globe, looked at where some famous volcanoes are located around the world.

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#30DaysWild Day Four – Rubbish and Dandelions

DayFourWe did manage to get out for a walk today before the rain started and, despite having to negotiate a bit of a meltdown from the eldest before we went, it was definitely worth it, even if only to see my three year old happily and wonderously stopping to boing a leaf strand of a bush as we walked past it.

On the way out my five year old posed for her regular lockdown photo of putting the bin out (or in, in her case) in her ballgown (#ballgownbinsout).  Up until now she’s been very focused on which princess to be and which accessories she has to go with the dress and, of course, what she needs to get post-lockdown to complete the look.  Today, however, she obviously had a bit more time to ponder the experience on the ensuing walk and it led to questions about why we have our rubbish taken away and what happens to it.

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Having tried our best to explain in between outside distractions and having to retrieve our three-year-old from many of our neighbours gardens, we watched several YouTube videos on the subject to help further (or actually) explain when we returned home.

CBeebiesRubbishOne of the best ones was CBeebies: Ask Anything – What Happens To Rubbish? as it starts with the reasons we can’t keep it all in the house – “You can stuff it down the back of the sofa, But it’s going to be a bit of a squeeze, It’ll start to get smelly when you’re watching the telly, And the remote control is going to smell like cheese” – and mentions the possible negative environmental aspects of the different ways in which we deal with its disposal through landfill, incineration and if it gets in the oceans, emphasising that recycling is the more sensible way to go.

DandelionLifeCycleOne other fascination for my five year old that has grown from previous lockdown walks has been the numerous dandelions she’s spotted, and helped to disperse, along the way.

As well as investigating the real things outside, we also previously watched a timelapse video on YouTube of the yellow flower closing up and transforming into the fluffy seedhead.  Today’s rainy afternoon meant we finally got around to looking at and filling in the Life Cycle of a Dandelion worksheet I’d printed out for her from Twinkl.  The educational resources website rather fabulously offered accounts for free to parents attempting home learning during lockdown and has plenty of nature-inspired material on there to take a look at if you think your minis would be interested.

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#30DaysWild Day Three – The Snail and the Whale

DayThreeAfter many days of glorious sunny weather today took a turn for the more inclement – guess which minis are due to be surprised tomorrow with the not-so-perfectly-timed arrival of a new paddling pool…

Fortunately we always have a well-stocked bookshelf to turn to and The Snail and the Whale by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler is a particular favourite.

TheSnailAndTheWhaleBookIt’s possibly not the most apposite reading material for sharing during lockdown when our wanderlust starts with yearning to be able to leave our own suburban estate never mind sailing across the seas to experience “shimmering ice and coral caves,” “shooting stars and enormous waves” and gorgeous “golden sands”.

But I do get my bonus point for it being connected to my daughter’s home learning suggested by her school to use with some maths activities – it seems we shall be looking at spirals in the next few days.

After a reading we also watched the animated adaptation of the story on iPlayer.  Before watching this for the first time last year I’d never really focused on the more perilous parts of the pair’s journey (apart from the speedboats and beaching of course), in awe of the snail’s opportnity to experience those “far-off lands”.  But the adaptation further highlights the dangers the seagulls provide never mind the “zigag lightening” or “sharks with hideous toothy grins”.  Peril is never mild to my five year old so she definitely picked up on these points which, seeing as the dangers are one of the things she has to count, is useful and perhaps a reminder that we definitely are safer at home at least for now.

It is, of course, a beautiful story of friendship, wonder, our interdependence and how even the smallest of the small can be mighty – especially if their trails leave a message in particularly nice joined up handwriting.

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