Hey Mummy are massive fans of nature. Educating and exploring the great outdoors with kids has so many benefits for children. Katy and I have both found our five kids are happier, easier to entertain, more communicative and generally calmer if they are outside or interacting with natural things instead of looking at screens. My favourite family activity is to avoid crowds, shops, noise and electronic forms of entertainment and get out into the woods. My three boys all love climbing, exploring, drawing, rolling and loosing themselves in imaginative play when we are out. Don’t get me wrong if I were to ask them if they would like to go for a walk the answer would most definitely be no from all three but once I have got them out and ignored the initial complaints the boys could not be happier.
I also try to bring as much nature into our home too as I think it’s good for us all. Plants, flowers and natural wood all features in the house, and as long as it is warm enough we live with doors and windows open to access the garden.
Each year one thing which has been a massive hit with all my kids and all the children that come round is to get a delivery from www.insectlore.com . They are a company that aims to give children a friendly, hands-on introduction to insect metamorphosis, entomology and life-cycle learning. We annually order their ‘caterpillar-to-butterfly’ kits but now they also have, ladybird, ant, stick insect and silkworm kits all of which we have enjoyed over the years. It’s a wonderful opportunity for the children to watch the process of metamorphosis in their own home. It’s awesome, eco-friendly and we all enjoy being a part it!
After ordering your live caterpillars they arrive in a box to be opened immediately, 4 to 5 tiny caterpillars start to eat the food that has been specially developed for them. (FYI, if you are squeamish, you don’t need to handle them at all or let them out of the pot they come in with the food.) Over the next week or two your children watch them double then triple in size daily until they are ready to chrysalise. At this point the caterpillars hang from the lid and form their cocoon. Then you carefully transfer the lid into the butterfly garden, which is a netted viewing carrier, where your butterflies will soon emerge.
It’s an amazing natural process to be able to watch in your own home. The boys are fascinated daily by the changes that are taking place. There is always great excitement when the caterpillars move onto the next stage in the process. When they have emerged we have a few days of enjoying the butterflies, feeding and nurturing them until they are ready to be released. We have done this in the garden, at home or the boys have taken them to school to release with all their friends.
I am a firm believer in children benefitting from learning in different environments not just in the school classroom. In our house and garden we all enjoy family fun with science of all sorts. There are so many websites with ideas for experiments at home that kids will love. You don’t have to buy kits that are all ready prepared (although there are some fantastic kits available). It can be just as fun using household items to create experiments, reactions and projects that support your children learning.
Here are a few I use regularly.
PS. This is not a paid for post, we just really rate it and wanted to share.