03 Apr Get a sense of nature this spring
Now the clocks have moved forwards, spring is well and truly here to stay. And while we may not be able to get outside and enjoy this new season as much as we’d like to, we can still be inspired by the outdoors. Plus, with many children home from school, it’s a great time to engage with wildlife and nature together.
We’ve created a senses-based challenge which can be fun for the whole family and you don’t even have to leave the house to get involved. We hope this challenge can help you value the spaces around you like never before. Your garden is the perfect place to start or take a look out the window.
We’ve got a challenge for each of the senses below so head out with the kids – or open a window – and make a note of what you discover.
With the sun shining and plants beginning to bloom, spring is a wonderful time to enjoy nature at its beginning. Head out and look around. What can you see in your garden or out of the window? What plants are there and are there any flowers? Can you spot any birds flying around or have they set up nest somewhere? What about looking a little closer among the plants, can you spy any insects that call this place home? Are the trees outside starting to come into blossom?
New species of birds are arriving so it’s the perfect time to appreciate the sounds you can hear all around you, especially now with less cars about.
What sounds are there? Can you hear some of the birds arriving early for summer? You could get lucky and hear the distinctive sound of the cuckoo which begins its return from Africa this month. If you listen carefully, you might even hear the insects scuttling around the plants and flowers. Or maybe if you stand still, you can enjoy the peace and quiet too.
We’ve explored what you can see and hear but now it’s time to get more interactive and get among nature. What do the different plants and bushes feel like around you, do they all have different textures? What about the various surfaces in your garden – is there grass, mud, gravel, concrete? Do they feel different after it’s rained? Be careful with where you put your hands after you’ve been outdoors and wash your hands thoroughly.
Take a deep breath and try to figure out all the different fragrances you can smell. Do the plants all have different smells, or are they the same? Have your parents recently planted some new flowers for you to enjoy or has anyone nearby recently cut their grass? Is there the first hint of blossom in the air?
It’s time to head back inside and finally use those ingredients hidden at the back of the cupboard. We love baking when it’s super easy to do and chocolate nests are just that! Enjoy these as part of a balanced diet after some quality time outdoors. They’re perfect for this time of the year, quick to make and use ingredients you’re likely to have already.
Melt some chocolate and mix in any ‘buildings bricks’ of your choice – we like shredded wheat or rice crispies, but any cereal would work. Get inventive and add some of your favourite fruit like raisins or dried cranberries. Some crushed nuts work well too! Be sure to use ingredients you already have to avoid making unnecessary trips out to the shops.
It’s simple to put it all together; just mix all the dry ingredients with the melted chocolate and leave to set in muffin cases. We sometimes add some extra chocolately treats on top too – if we’re feeling super indulgent. Make sure you get Mum or Dad to help, particularly when melting the chocolate.
We hope our senses challenge gave you an easy and enjoyable way to be inspired by nature – don’t forget to wash those hands afterwards. For more wildlife wisdom, head to the Hampshire Countryside Facebook page. Don’t forget to share with us what you found and whether you made any sweet treats!