I am struggling with the cold at the moment; really struggling. I’ll be the first to admit that I am not enjoying this weather as much as I normally do, and I don’t know why; maybe it is the mundane routine of every day, or the fact that we are so busy I am unable to muster the energy for outdoor ramblings whenever we have a rare free afternoon? All I know is that when our winter Woodland Trust Nature Detectives passports arrived through our letterbox the other day, they could not have come at a better time.
A and E have been Nature Detectives for well over a year now, and I look forward to their seasonal activity packs arriving every few months (every season, in fact!). These contain some stickers, a newsletter (with extra challenges and information), and a booklet (passport) packed full of activity inspiration for the coming weeks. As A and E are currently in separate age brackets they receive different booklets and I really like this as it means we get lots of extra ideas; though the activities are predominantly the same, some are differentiated to make them easier for the littlest members, and some (particularly the craft activities) are actually different.
A large focus of this month’s issue seems to be sticks, and so obviously the activities began with a stick scavenger hunt. In this E (age 2) was challenged to find fat, knobbly, smooth, thin, long and short sticks, and A (age 3) was challenged to find smooth, hairy, short, curvy, deer antler-shaped, and moss- or lichen-covered sticks. We did pretty well over a couple of days, finding all but “hairy” sticks (but seriously, what exactly is a “hairy” stick?) A decided that the moss-covered sticks were all pretty hairy, and I was satisfied with that. We also collected a bag full of sticks to take home for some crafts this weekend.
I find that we do need a focus for walks at the moment, in order to engage the children (and by that I mean A), as well as myself. While E loves any opportunity to be outside and will make the most of it no matter what, A needs to have a purpose! And as stick collecting is one of her favourite things, this went down very well!
(You will notice that A is holding a cuddly toy in the majority of the photos; yes, we have the joy of joys that is the pre-school leopard for the duration of the weekend. This basically means that we have to “entertain” it so that she has something to talk about on Monday. She has taken her role very seriously so far: it has eaten every single meal with us, and is now lying in the doll’s cot with some milk. The poor doll, however, has been relegated to the floor).