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Nature based Holiday activities

Holiday time should not cost a small fortune, with a little planning, simple resources and a commitment to staying local, you can re-ignite your children’s investigative nature to explore, create and imagine, turning boredom into wonder!
Of course, it’s nice to plan some activities outside of home but making time at home, a positive focus too, teaches our children to be resourceful and not always look outside themselves for entertainment……to re-connect to their imagination and curiosity.
Here are some wonderfully creative and resourceful activities guaranteed to spark imagination, that will appeal to a broad range of age groups. These activities provide a snapshot of possibilities available from our wonderful range of crafty books and resources. See links provided below.

Icy Excavations:

You will need – A mix of freezable container, a pouring jug, gathered items from nature (berries, leaves, flowers or petals, twigs, bark, pods and cones, safe kitchen utensils.
*Tip: create space on your freezer shelf before you begin and remember that larger containers will take longer to freeze.
Arrange some nature in each container, making different combinations and slowly pour water over the top…….it might surprise you to see which items float or sink. Place carefully on your freezer shelf until fully frozen.
When frozen solid, sit containers in some shallow warm water in the sink so the ice can loosen enough to be tipped out onto your working surface (best done outside on a table, bench or ground area). Check out your decorative creations from every angle……what happened once frozen, did colours of flowers change, what floated to the top or sank to the bottom? Using your kitchen utensils, scrape, sculpt, carve, crack away at your ice blocks to excavate your frozen treasures. *You could also sprinkle natural glitter or a few drops of food dye into some of the water before freezing and see what effects they create.

Nature Wings:

You will need – Cardboard (big enough for your wing shape – recycle boxes), scissors, masking tape or glue, hole punch and elastic or string, a mix of leaves and petals.
Cut out some wing shapes from cardboard (cereal boxes work well)…..think butterfly or fairy, dragonfly or moth, dragon or pegasus! Work out where holes are best placed for elastic loops to tie that will go around child’s arms (somewhere close to centre of wings). If you have masking tape, cover this area before making holes as it will provide added strength. Make holes, 2 for each side, one above the other about 10cm between them so you can loop through two pieces of elastic to tie off at a comfortable length for your child’s arms.
Using glue or tape, start decorating your wings ready for flight. You can ‘upgrade’ this activity by cutting out some of the inside area of wings to replace with baking paper which will give a translucent look. A sprinkling of bio glitter will add a little extra magic!

Magic Wands:

You will need – natural sticks, a selection of ribbon, yarn or string, nature pods, leaves and petals…..maybe even a small crystal or rock if you have one (a longish shape works best), optional eco glitter, glue and whitling knife.
Choose an interesting stick that won’t break easily, about 20-30cm long. You might like to remove any bark or use a round edged whitling knife to carve and shape the ends. Start at the bottom where you would hold the wand and begin wrapping some yarn around and around, covering your starting point and wrapping up towards the top. You might just do a few inches for a handle or wrap all the way to top. Loop and tuck your final round through itself to secure it from unravelling or secure with tape. You can add multiple colours in this way, for a rainbow effect.
Choose a special end piece for your wand like a crystal or rock, gumnut, seed pod or feather and secure it with glue, tape or tie it on. If it’s a crystal or rock piece, a longish shape will be easier to work with. Bind the bottom half of crystal to the top end of stick, in the same way you wrapped the handle and secure it in place. You can then tie long strands of yarn, ribbon or string near top of wand (about 20-30cm) that can dance freely as you wave your wand. You could also tie, thread or stick on leaves or petals for more decoration. Option to paint or dot glue on wand for a sprinkling of eco glitter. Let fully dry before making magic!

Bird Feeder:

You will need – pinecones, string, scissors, peanut butter (2-3 tablespoons per pinecone in a bowl for easy access) and wild bird seed.
Cut about 30cm of string and tie onto end of each pinecone. Push bits of peanut butter into gaps around the pinecone, then roll pinecone in a bowl of seed to coat generously. You could also mix seed through peanut butter first before poking into pinecone. Hang your bird feeder in a tree with the help of an adult and wait for hungry and curious visitors to arrive. You might like to take photos or notes or draw the birds that visit so you can research later what types they are…..common or unusual?

Nut Shell Boats:

You will need – some half walnut shells, twigs approx.7cm long, a piece of wax to melt (and this will require adult support) or airdry clay, and some leaves to use for sails. (A muffin tin or patty cake papers for supporting walnut shells when pouring wax).
Clean up your nut shells and sit them inside a muffin tin or cupcake paper ready for wax filling. With adult help, warm and soften enough wax so you can carefully pour of spoon into each shell to fill half way. Gently tap each shell to help wax settle evenly and push out any air bubbles. Whilst waiting for wax to set, break or cut your twiggy sticks to size for a mast, choose a leaf sail and thread one onto each mast for each boat. A little snip at bottom and top of each leaf (not too close to edges) will help to pass the stick through and minimise tearing the leaf. Now check the wax boats to see if they are softly set and able to hold your mast up straight. Push it into the wax until you touch bottom of shell and let harden fully. These little boats should now float ‘gently down the stream’ in the bath, sink, puddles or sand made rivers. * Note if using airdry clay, push into the base of shells to half fill for a firm fit and push sail into clay to secure it. (Airdry clay will harden/dry out over several hours).

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