Nature Play, the antidote to all

Living without TV or radio, and while not quite as bad as dial-up, but I do have to plug my laptop in to a LAN cable each time I want to access the internet, it is always a very conscious decision for me to connect to the outside world.  Yesterday, I must have been one of the few to be totally unaware of the Taoiseach’s announcement until late afternoon, by which stage the supermarket shelves were cleared of fresh and tinned foods, and every form of social media was hopping with news of school closures and cancelled events. Read More

Rainy days & water play

The recent rainy weather has many despairing, and I can remember well from my days as a primary teacher how challenging it was for all of us on the days the children didn’t get to go outside at break times.  The problem in those days was that many children didn’t have appropriate clothes for playing outside in the rain.  Working since with schools where outdoor and nature play are central to their curriculum and their ethos, the rain never stops us from getting outside.  Equally if you are at home and looking at the rain through the window, most likely you have coats and wellies that you can wear, or at worst, if you get wet, you can always change into fresh dry clothes later. Read More

Twilight Adventures

We may be coming into longer days but there will still be times with busy schedules whereby darkness has set in before we can manage to find time to get out in nature.  This is seen by some as a deterrent to venturing outside, but in fact, just like every kind of weather, the different times of day bring their own bit of magic to our nature adventures.

My nephew’s current favourite pastime when I go to visit, is to head out after dinner, at Read More

Nature Journals

A great way to encourage children and ourselves to slow down and observe what is around us in nature is to bring along a journal with us on our trips to the woods or the seashore and sketch, map or write about all that we notice.  An even better way to encourage this is to have made our very own nature journal to carry with us.

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Family Tree

I recently spent a few days with my father, who lives next door to the house where I grew up.  My brother and his family are living in the old family home now.  Often when children grow up and parents move there can be a grief at losing the place where so many childhood memories were forged.  I am incredibly lucky in that I am forging new memories with my niece and nephews while reliving memories past, in the house, garden and fields where I grew up.   Read More

Weather always looks worse through a window

We are having an unseasonably sunny spell here in the west of Ireland at the moment, and if feels almost as though summer has decided to pop back for a brief visit, to remind us of the heady feeling of warm sun on our faces and walking bare ankled and bare foot.  But this follows on from some very wet and windy weather and we are already past the letter C in our newly named storms.   Read More

Musical Instruments

With the recent winds and the autumnal equinox just passed there are plenty of leaves freshly fallen to the forest floor ready to be enjoyed in a multitude of ways.  Personally I love the sound of the crisp leaves underfoot as I meander through the woods, noting the different colours, depending on the tree and also during which stage of autumn the leaf fell. Read More

Treasure Cones

With the taste of autumn in the air, cooler and shorter days leave no doubt but that summer has passed for another year.  There is something refreshing in observing the seasons and being reminded that there is a time for everything.  The woods are a magical place to be during this time of year as we see the change in colour of the leaves and their eventual fall from the trees, allowing them to return to the earth, enriching the soil that feeds the trees in order for new leaves to appear next spring.   Read More

Rock pools

The summer has been such a wonderful time of outdoor adventures both with adults and with little ones alike.  More time was spent at the beach than in the woods, however I was lucky to spend time in a place where the woods would lead me to the beach and loved my jaunt each morning walking through the woods as I headed for my swim. Read More

Treasure Maps

One of the benefits of visiting the same woodland site each week over the whole school year is that we intimately get to know every part of that space.  It is lovely to note when a child observes a fallen branch or some other slight change that would not register with someone who visits only once or twice.  It also means that they are more in tune with the turning of the seasons as they recognise the changes to the woods as being seasonal rather than just thinking of new flora belonging to a new site. Read More