I’ve been in the woods all week and true to west of Ireland form in July the weather has been erratic. We’ve had downpours followed by sun, days where I wore all my winter layers, and days where we watched the steam rise from the ground as the sun broke through the canopy. But with the rain came a lot of fun, as streams ran freely again and the children cleared pathways to help speed up the flow, ran through the water and followed the stream all the way to the source. The weather brings so many changes to the woods and keeps if fresh and exciting on every trip.
For this week’s activity I’m going to look at something that can take place no matter the weather and at any time of year. Once again the only resources that are needed are in the woods waiting to be discovered, just add a dose of curiosity and excitement and you’re guaranteed to have a fun filled family day out.
I always tell children that we are just visiting the woods but that it is home to many other creatures. It can be tricky to actually meet animals in the woods, they can be elusive creatures in daytime, but one thing you are sure to find hundreds of is insects. A simple rule of thumb for finding insects is to look for somewhere dark and damp: under rocks and dead wood are guaranteed treasure troves. Make sure to always return any rocks or wood that you have overturned to their original spots, we don’t want to leave any creatures homeless after all. Kids love to squeal and make “ooooh” sounds as they uncover fat slugs or scurrying beetles. Make your own bug hotel by gathering dead wood, bark, pine cones or any other materials lying around the forest floor and piling them together in an area away from obvious walk ways and in a spot you think insects might like to call home. Get down, get your hands dirty and happy adventuring.
Lifting rocks you’ll find all sorts, millipedes, woodlice, slugs, beetles….