Welcome to the third week of Maria’s February Nature Challenge. Maria is our resident Herbalist at Boundary Way and she’s been looking at how to get everyone more connected with Nature. She’s setting one challenge per day, for the whole of February, with a linked alternative challenge for people unable to get out or are short on resources. The idea behind these challenges is to get us outdoors and encourage us to get up close to the nature around us. In today’s blog post we are sharing the coming week’s challenges and can’t wait to see you all having a go. Remember you can share your challenge attempts with us using the hashtags #Mariasfebchallenge or #boundarywayproject or tag us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter!
15th February Challenge – A Windy Situation
The Beaufort wind force scale is a way of measuring wind speed over land and sea. Your challenge today is to make your own Windicator here are the instructions:
You will need:
- 1 cm diameter dowelling or a stick about 30 cm long • 3 ribbons (1cm wide and about 25 cm long)
- Tape – masking or electrical tape
- Take the three ribbons and put them on top of each other.
- Tie them together at one end.
- Tape the ribbons to one end of the stick so that the knot is above the tape. The ribbons will then be flat against the stick.
- Go outside, hold up the stick and see how the wind moves the ribbons.
- Can you measure the wind speed using the Beaufort scale?
You could make a chart and test every day – how accurate can you get it? Check your estimates with the current weather forecast. Don’t forget to share your results with us.
If you can’t get out: Can you estimate the wind speed by looking out of your window? Try looking at clouds, tree tops and bushes to give you clues.
Try estimating which level on the scale you are – you could check your answers by going online and checking the weather forecast. How close did you get?
16th February Challenge – Treasure Hunt
Everyone loves a treasure hunt, it’s a great way to get up close to nature and helps us notice things we would maybe normally walk past.
Today our challenge is a simple treasure hunt, but you will need to use your senses to help you find something:
- Soft or Fluffy
- 3 things with patterns on
- With a strong smell
- From a tree
- From a plant
How many did you find? Share your results with us.
If you’re not able to get out – why not find things around the house? Try and keep it to things made from natural materials if you can.
17th February Challenge – Make Your Own Paintbrushes
Today we want you to get crafty and make your own paintbrushes or mark makers.
You can make a paintbrush out of just about anything found in nature.
What you will need:
- Sticks around the size of a pencil
- Natural bits and bots to make the brush
- Elastic bands or string
Method: Use the elastic bands or string to firmly attach the natural materials to the stick. Have a go at painting with it – is it easy or is it hard – what kind of mark does it make.
You can also make dip pens with a sharp knife and stick (this method is more suitable for children older than 8 years). You can find instructions by following this link:
Please share photos of your art and brushes with us. If you can’t get out: Maybe you could try making a paintbrush with items found in the kitchen instead?
18th February Challenge – Thanking the Fairies
Over the past few days we’ve taken quite a few bits from nature home with us, so now it’s time to say thank you to the fairies for lettings us have these resources.
Today our challenge to you is to make a thank you plate for the fairies and leave it for them in your Magic spot beside your special tree or if you go on a different walk today leave it where you instinctively feel the fairies will find it quickly – a special spot.
How to make the thank you plate:
- Try and find something to use as a plate – a piece of bark, large leaf (a dock leaf would be good), a large stone or maybe there is a tree stump near the special spot.
- Decorate the plate with special finds that you can hunt around for – a pretty leaf, a flower, lovely green leaves, acorns and nut shells. Make them into a pretty pattern.
- Place the plate in the special spot and say thank you fairies.
- You could even make up a little thank you song.
We’d love to see a picture of your plate. If you can’t get out: Can you paint or draw a thank you plate? You could put it in your window so the fairies can see it. Or can you draw or paint what you think fairies look like? You could even write a poem or story about where the fairies who help you live.
19th February Challenge – Mini Adventure – Part 3
Today we are going to be looking for mini beasts. So wake up your mini explorer, grab your magnifying glass (if you have one!) and let’s get out there!
The woodland trust has some really good tips and a downloadable sheet for mini beast adventures – have a look here then off you go on an adventure. What will you find? We can’t wait to find out.
If you can’t get out: Can you find any mini beasts in your house? We usually have at least one and it has eight legs.
20th February Challenge – Mud Beasts
Today we want you to get down and dirty! Time to really connect with the soil!
Our challenge today is to make a minibeast out of mud or clay (if you have access to some!) and if you have time, you can make it a mini den to live in too!
This is a great activity for the garden, but can also be done whilst out on a walk. If you come across a mole hill they have lovely fresh dug earth that is great for making mud with some puddle water. A quick make can be as simple as making a mud face on a tree trunk.
A bit longer and you can make an interesting beastie with a body and legs. What could you use for eyes or feelers? If you have the time, why don’t you make a nice little den for your creature to live in. Use twigs, bits of bark and moss to create the perfect little den.
What have you named your mud friend? Can you share a picture of them or their home.
If you’re not able to get out and playing with some mud – how about doing this challenge with salt dough instead?
Here is a recipe to make some: Salt dough recipe
21st February Challenge – How Many
We hope by now that this series of challenges has helped you learn a bit more about the plants, trees and animals that surround us.
Todays challenge is a game:
- Go for a walk with your family
- Each person takes it in turn to identify a plant, tree or animal that you are walking by
- One point for each correct identification
- Winner is the person with most points at the end of the game.
Let us know who won and how many points they got.
If you can’t get out: Can you name the trees and plants you can see from your window? Perhaps you could learn a new plant each week and play this game the next time you get out and about with friends.