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We all know that kids love being outdoors, playing amongst nature and wildlife if possible.  Too many children in today’s world don’t get enough opportunities to spend time out of doors and close to nature.  Studies show that kids who play outside are healthier, happier and smarter as a result of their experiences, so getting your children off the couch, away from the TV and out in the open is essential from time to time.  Here’s an idea for a great outdoor activity that the whole family can enjoy.

When you’re on an outdoor treasure hunt you’ll find all sorts of things, whether you’re looking in your own back garden, in a park or out and about in the woods or on the seashore.  Wherever you are and whatever you happen to find, it’s all a great learning experience for kids and parents alike.  First of all, you need to give the children a list of things to look and listen for: fairy garden

  • Look for something round
  • Look for the smoothest thing you can find
  • Listen for a bird call – do you know what sort of bird it is?
  • Find something that smells – something that smells good and something that smells bad
  • How many different colours can you see?
  • Turn over a rock or a log – what can you see underneath it?
  • How many different types of leaf can you collect?
  • Find a seed – from a plant or a tree
  • Look for a place where an animal could hide
  • Collect a load of things that you could use to make a fairy garden

Each thing that your child finds represents a new learning experience.  Talk to your child about how seeds grow into new plants or trees.  Take some of the seeds home with you and plant them into pots to watch them germinate and grow.

Discuss the insects you’ve seen – what they eat, where they live, how long they live.  Teach your little one that insects are important too – they pollinate flowers so that fruit can grow, they break down vegetation into new soil, they are the cleaners of the outdoor world.

Listen to the birds with your little one and see how many different types of bird call you can hear.  Set up a bird table in the garden and put out some nuts and seeds that will attract the birds so that your child can watch them on a regular basis, learning about what they look like, what they eat and when they fly away.

Take some paper and crayons with you on your adventure and show the children how to make bark rubbings on trees.  Discuss the different types of bark on the trees in the area and collect a leaf or two from each one.

When you get home from your adventure, gather all the treasures you’ve brought home and make a little fairy garden in a pot.  A couple of seeds, some moss, some stones and twigs should be all you need for this, along with a small model house for the fairy to live in.  Fill the pot with compost, place your treasures on top and wait for the seeds to grow.  If you’re a little impatient, then buy a small plug plant to plant in there for some instant interest.

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