Maria’s February Nature Challenge: Week 4

Welcome to the final week of Maria’s February Nature Challenge, we can’t believe we are here already! For any of you who are just joining us, 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!

22nd February Challenge – Water Painting

This is fun and easy way to get children painting without too much mess – always a good thing.  But does rely on a dry day.  So, we hope today is nice and dry!   

What you will need: 

  • Paintbrushes in an assortment of sizes (if you don’t have any paint brushes can you make one instead (see paintbrush making challenge from the 17th Feb) or you could use sponges or rags. 
  • Water 
  • A dry painting surface – wall, pavement or fence 
  • Imagination 
  • Can you paint a forest with the water? 

Share your pictures with us. 

If you are not able to get out or its too wet or snowy how about using a piece of cardboard instead? 

23rd February Challenge – Singing Birds

Today we want you to use your listening skills.  Check out this wonderful resource from the RSPB of common birds their bird song to learn about the different calls. 

Then on your walk today, can you identify any of the bird calls you hear? 

If you sit quietly somewhere you might even be able to capture some video with the sounds captured to compare them when you get home? 

We’d love to hear any bird song you’ve managed to capture or hear what birds you’ve managed to identify. 

If you can’t get out. Check the resource and see if you can learn some of the bird calls.  Can you hear any from your window? If you were a bird what kind of call would you make – can you sing it and share it with us? 

24th February Challenge – Can You See Me Yet?

By now we should be starting to see signs of spring – especially if it’s been warm. 

Our challenge today is to see what blooming flowers you can find today on your walk – can you identify them all? Perhaps you could research what is flowering at this time year on the internet first before your walk. 

Some flowers you may find can include: 

  • Snowdrops 
  • Daffodils 
  • Tulips 
  • Primrose 
  • Cow Slips 
  • Winter aconites 
  • Sweet Violets 
  • Alexanders 
  • Dandelions 
  • Daisy 
  • Wild Garlic 

Maybe you could make a graph with all these flowers on and mark on the date when you first notice a flower. Remember different if you are living in the south of the UK you may find things much earlier than you would in the north.  We’d love to hear where you are and what you can find today. 

If you can’t get out. Can you see any wild flowers from your window? Can you paint or draw a garden full of your favourite spring flowers. Can you create a fairy character for your favourite spring flower? You may like the ones created by  Cicely Mary Barker – check out her fairies here – meet the fairiesPerhaps you could create a poem about your favourite flower. 

 

25th February Challenge – Buzzy Bees

Bees start coming out of hibernation as the weather starts to warm up and spring finally arrives.  Did you find any flowers yesterday?  Do you think if you were a bee you’d be ready to wake up yet?   

Bees use nectar and pollen for food so there needs to be enough flowers for them feed from.  When a bee finds a good patch of flowers they fly back to their hive and do a special dance to tell the other bees where to find the flowers. 

Today we want you to be an intrepid bee explorer and try and find flowers for food – yesterday’s challenge should help you with this.  You must remember where those flowers are and what interesting landmarks they are near. Once you’ve found your flowers you must create a dance to teach your bee family where they are.  Can they learn the dance from you? Can you share a video of your bee dance? 

Alternative challenge for those unable to dance – draw a brightly coloured map that you can share.  If someone knew the area would they be able to find your feeding flowers? Share a photo of your map.

26th February Challenge – Grow It / Part 2

How is your plant doing? Today’s challenge is more of a check, how is your seed / seedling / plant doing from 1st February? 

  • Has it germinated? 
  • Has it grown?
  • How much has it grown? 
  • Can you make a chart to carry on monitoring its growth progress? 
  • Share your results with us. 

Our real challenge today is to encourage you to carry on growing this plant and more plants if you are able. 

If you can’t get out: Did you measure your child at the start of the month, how much have they grown? Is it lots or just a tiny bit? Can you draw or paint a picture of your garden now as spring is approaching and the seedlings are germinating? 

 

27th February Challenge – Full Moon Walk

Today marks the full moon.  When the moon is big and bright! 

Have you ever gone for a walk at night before?  Hopefully tonight is a nice clear night without too much cloud (but remember that will make it cold – why do you think that is?)  

  • Plan your route first – pick a familiar walk or one that you know well so that there are no surprises or chances to get lost. 
  • Wrap up well with hat, gloves and scarf. 
  • Take a torch – just in case the moon gets covered up.

What do you notice most about walking under the moon compared to walking in the day? 

  • What do you feel? 
  • What do you see? 
  • What is different? 
  • What is the same? 
  • What do you notice more of? 

Share your experience with us, tell us about your adventure and what you noticed. 

If you can’t get out: Can you see the full moon from your window?  How does it make you feel? Can you make up a story or poem about the moon? 

28th February Challenge – Seasonal Changes: Part 2

For today’s challenge are going to go on the same walk as we did in Seasonal Changes – Part 1 on 3rd February!  Have you gone on this walk recently?  Today we challenge you to take notice of the same things we asked in Part 1 and jot down what is different: 

What difference do you think the weather will have made? Has it been a warm month or cold, how do you think this will affect the results? 

The things we’d like you to take notice of: 

  • How the trees look – are they starting to show buds, blossom or leaves.  Do they look more awake? 
  • What is the weather like?  Wet or Dry? Warm or cold?  Is there any snow or ice? 
  • What are the hedgerows and verges like?  Are they sleeping? Is there any new growth?  Are there any flowers? 
  • What is the sky like? 
  • Time when the sun comes up and when it goes down. 
  • What are the birds and animals doing – are they easy to spot or find traces of activity?

Make a note of what you observe somehow, here are some suggestions – use the same method as you did in the first session and compare them side by side: 

  • Draw or paint a picture 
  • Write a journal 
  • Create a poem 
  • Take a series of photos 
  • Make a chart to capture data 

If you can’t get out: If you’re not able to get out then try observing from your favourite window and record your observations with some of the suggestions in the main challenge.  Use the same method as you did in part one and compare the differences side by side.  Can you create a poem or story to share the journey? 

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