June - Go Wild
June is all about rediscovering some of the joyful activities you did as a child. We have had an introduction to flowers, trees and birds and a whole month of mindfulness, now it is a chance to Go Wild – a chance to really take closer notice and get involved with the natural world around us in our parks and open spaces.
June is the Wildlife Trusts 30 Days Wild Campaign where you are encouraged to do one act of random wildness every day. We're encouraging you to take part in this and download the app, from the app store.
The National Trust has 50 things to do before you are 11 3/4 but we think you can do these activities whatever your age.
Download the National Trust’s 50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾ chart for lots of fun things to do this month.
Each week we will give you some of the activities brought to you by these two organisations or can you think of one? Let us know, we would love to hear from you.
During June’s Go Wild see if you can do the Wildlife Trust’s challenge ‘tune in by switching off’. This means ditching the technology for a whole day – or even just an hour. Let us know what you plan to do instead?
Activity - Pooh Sticks
Pooh sticks was first played by Winnie the Pooh, and his friends including Christopher Robin and Eeyore.
It’s so much fun.
Find a twig, get your friends to find one too. Try to make each one distinct so you can identify which one is your own.
Pick a starting point and decide on your finish point. It’s really great if the sticks have to pass under bridges or around obstacles.
Count to three – launch your stick. Chase your stick and see who the winner is.
The National Trust has a great guide to help you play Pooh sticks.
You have already been challenged with a birds nest so why not grab some sticks and make a trail for people to follow.
The Wildlife Trust invite you to ‘Celebrate the humble stick’.
How many ways can you think of use a stick? To get you started The National Trust have put some ideas together to have fun with sticks.
Send us pictures of you and your stick fun!
Activity - Get to know a tree
We had an introduction to trees in April. In June lets get to know a tree and give it a cuddle.
If you feel comfortable, blindfold a friend and lead them to a tree.
Ask them to feel it, is it rough or smooth? Are there any branches that re lower down, are there any knits on the trunk? Smell it, does it have a distinctive smell? Hug it, can you reach your arms around it? Can you hear anything? Lead them away from the tree and remove the blindfold – are they able to guess which tree it was?
In April we suggested you take photos of a tree every couple of weeks or once a month and make it into a time lapse video. Here’s one we have started. It’s not too late to join in with us.
Activity - Nature Weaving
You will need string, four sticks, items found in nature.
- use the sticks to create a frame
- once the frame is finished, wind the string around the frame, looping on each end before continuing on to the other side (see photo below) until the frame has lines of string across it, secure by knotting
- go on a nature walk and collect leaves, twigs, weeds, flowers, feathers, grass, and other items for the project
- weave the items collected one at a time over and under the twine, alternating to create more interest
- admire what you have made
Activity - Make a wind catcher
Collect some leaves, sticks, seed pods, acorns, pine cones, rocks. You will need some string too.
Choose two sticks and tie them together with the string to make an X. Cut various lengths of string. Tie the nature objects to the sticks. Hang on a tree. Observe the objects as the wind catches them. Do they all move in the same way?
Activity - Get creative
We are getting arty and creative. We would love to see your creations.
While you are out and about in your favourite green space, grab some inspiration from the wild things around you make a sketch or write a wild poem.
Send a photo of your drawing or the text for your poem to firstname.lastname@example.org. You might win a prize.
Why not keep a wild nature diary of your adventures, this could be photos, words or drawings? Challenge yourself to capture something that you have never seen before, document a new place you have discovered or get close up to a flower or a minibeast.
The Wildlife Trust invite you to ‘create a wild work of art’ While you are out and about gather some materials to create a wild picture, perhaps drawing inspiration from the famous Andy Goldsworthy.
Send us a photo of your artwork.
Activity - Make a daisy chain
how many daisies did you use to make your chain, see if you can make a really long chain. They make lovely necklaces, bracelets and decorations for your hair.
Perhaps you could find more daisies or some colourful leaves to make a wild crown.
Activity - Scavenger hunts
We’ve got a few scavenger hunts for you to try. Download the sheets below and take part in your local parks or green spaces:
Activity - Build a den
In some of our wonderful green spaces you will find fallen materials which you can use to make a den. Please do not pick anything or pull branches off trees. Also be careful when you are picking things from the ground.
Look at the National Trust’s Website on how to build a great den.
Activity - Go on a minibeast safari
Minibeasts are all things creepy crawly that lurk hidden in our wonderful parks and open spaces. It could be a beetle, a spider, a butterfly, an ant, a worm, woodlice, centipedes or caterpillars. Some people consider these beastly, but in mini form. We think they are truly fascinating. What do you think?
Watch this video from the Don Catchment Rivers Trust with an explanation on what minibeasts are and how to become a minibeast detective:
A perfect habitat for minibeasts is under a log or a stone. Being careful lift up the log or stone and see what is lurking beneath. These spots are popular with woodlice, spiders and centipedes. Take the time to look in any of the nooks and crannies and be sure to put everything back how you found it. Did you find anything – send us your pictures.
To help you identify the minibeasts you find the Woodland Trust have put together an activity sheet to give you some top tips to help your minibeast hunt.
You could also ‘go equipped’ with a white sheet, pillowcase or even a piece of paper. Place this under a tree or bush and give the vegetation a gentle shake or use a stick to tap it. See what you got, can you identify it?
Remember always put things back when you’ve done.
Activity - Follow a bumblebee
Isn’t it great to watch a bumblebee on its journey from flower to flower? Listening to them buzzing along is the typical sound of summer.
Watch them as they move between flowers, bushes and trees. See if you can map out which are their favourite flowers. You might even be able to see the bright yellow pollen sack on their hind legs.
In the UK there are 24 species of bumblebee, one species of honeybee and around 340 species of solitary bee. The Bumblebee Conservation Trust has a great Bumblebee identification guide to help you identify the bees you see.
Spotting a bumblebee is quite easy because they are generally big and fluffy. There are eight common types of bumblebee in the UK, the rest are rare and in decline. There are differences in the common eight including the colour of its tail, the banding, the length of its tongue and even the shape of its face.
Watch this Bumblebee Conservation Trust video to explain how to identify them all:
Fun fact: Did you know one in every three mouthfuls of food is pollinated by a bumblebee. If bumblebees didn’t exist maybe there would be no tomato ketchup as bumblebees are the main pollinator of tomatoes.
The Bumblebee Conservation Trust has an app called What’s That Bumblebee - download it now to help you identify bumblebees. Have a look at the Bumblebee Conservation Trust website for fun facts and lots of exciting activities to try.
Below is a slow-motion video we made (taken using a smart phone) of a Garden Bumblebee visiting a foxglove, why not try this yourself and send us your videos?
Activity - Pond dipping
Ponds are a great place for discovery. Did you know that dragonflies and damselflies live underwater for the first few years of the life before they emerge into the graceful insect that we see flying about?
Pond dipping is lots of fun – but make sure everyone is careful near the water and don’t allow children to go without adult supervision.
You will need:
- a pond or stream to dip in
- good idea to wear wellies and waterproofs
- a net, shallow tray or bowl
- a magnifying glass (optional – but makes it easier to see what you catch)
- a notebook/camera (optional)
How to do it:
- locate your pond
- put some pond water in your tray or bowl
- put your net in the pond and do a circle of 8 with it to catch as much as you can
- tip it into the tray and examine what you’ve found (with a magnifying glass if you’ve got one)
- make a note of it or perhaps take a photo
- empty the water and creatures back into the pond
- wash your net and hands when you get home
Activity - Visit somewhere wild
Visit somewhere wild, try checking out your nearest local nature reserve park or graveyard.
We don’t naturally think to visit a cemetery, but they are great places to explore.
They are great places to see wildlife as they are really quiet so many of the animals and creatures go undisturbed.
We have some beautiful cemeteries in Chesterfield that are really well looked after and preserved so well.
Creatures associated with graveyards are bats, owls, song thrushes, foxes, butterflies, lots of insects.
The headstones actually have an ecology of their own – lichens love to grow on them.
When you are walking through the cemetery look at the writing on the headstones and wonder about the people that have gone before us.
Activity - What can you see in the clouds?
Have you ever looked at a cloud and seen a dragon?
Let your imagination run wild, whilst laying on a blanket on the grass. Sometimes dramatic clouds absolutely make that photo perfect. Send us some photos of what you see.
Did you know clouds come in different formations? The Met Office has put together a guide to all the different cloud types to help you understand what you're seeing.
Activity - Go on a nature walk at dusk
Some creatures only come out at night. This might be the only chance you get to spot them or hear them. Get kitted out in warm clothing and appropriate footwear and take a torch. Turn your torch off and let your eyes get accustomed to the darkness. Tell us what you hear.
Bats are great creatures to spot in the early evening, just as it is getting dark.
Visit your local park at dusk and look for bats. They dart about in the sky really quickly as they catch their prey.
Use a bat detector to hear the ‘clicks’ they make while hunting. They use a technique called Echolocation and different types of bats are picked up on different frequencies. These cannot be heard by our ears, so this is why special equipment is used.
Activity - Help clean your community
As we go about our daily life, we can all try to be a bit more proactive in terms of looking after our precious world.
Plastic, especially single use plastic is a real issue in the environment. You can do your bit to help. If everyone did their bit, the world would be much improved.
Why not try and have a plastic free day or try and reduce / remove the use of single use plastics. A group called Plastic Free Chesterfield has lots of fantastic information on their website.
Another way you can help it to pick litter up in your local area. There are many friends of parks groups and other organisations in and around Chesterfield who organise local litter picks. Why not join one of these groups?
Activity - Reflect on nature
Reflect on how nature and being outdoors has made you feel the past month.
If you have enjoyed this month and getting wild, why not let other people know what you have been up to. You could report your adventures on social media or even invite a friend along on your next adventure.
Last day of June
Here are some ideas for things you can do in your favourite local green space.
When was the last time you rolled down a hill? Why not try rolling (carefully) down a really big hill?
Why not spend your lunch hour in the wild? A picnic in the wild is a great way to enjoy nature together.
Kick off your socks and shoes whilst relaxing in a green space - what does it feel like. Be careful to make sure there is nothing to harm you like sharp objects or animal mess. Does long grass feel different to short grass?