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My challenge for you today is to preserve some of the beautiful summer flowers that are out now.

Watch my video to see how.

You will need:
A flower press or some big heavy books
Printer paper or tissue paper, or filter paper, or cardboard

What to do:
Go around your garden and pick your favourite flowers that you would like to keep. Make sure you ask permission from the garden owner first.
Try not to pick ones which are too thick as you may have to cut them to make them thinner.
Open your flower press or heavy book.
Place a piece of paper inside.
Carefully place the flower on top of the paper or tissue.
Cover with another piece of paper.
Carefully place the other piece of the flower press on top. Or close the book.
Screw down the top of the flower press. Or pile more books on top of the book.
Leave to dry out. Replace the paper every few days.
It will take a few weeks to be completely dry and pressed.
Then carefully remove the top paper and slide the flower off the bottom sheet.

These flowers can be used to make cards, pictures or used in an identification guide.

I would love to see your flower pressing set ups and your pressed flowers so please Tweet photos #Naturedays @DawnNaturedays.

My challenge for you today is to find out the colour of summer.
Last season in March I posted a video on collecting the colours of spring. If you have watched the video https://youtu.be/mPLFeFfYYpI you may have already collected the colours of spring. If not here is the colours I found.
Now see if you can make your own colour pallet for summer.

What you will need:
A piece of card
Double sided tape

How to do it:
Make sure you get permission to pick flowers in your garden.
Go around a pick a small piece of all the different coloured flowers you find and stick them to the double sided tape.
Once you have filled the card then compare it to the spring pallet.

What has changed between spring and summer?

You could also take photos of the different colours.
Or you can complete the colour hunt worksheet.

What you will need:
Colour hunt worksheet
Coloured pencils

Take coloured pencils and the worksheet out with you.
Walk around you garden and find some coloured flowers.
Try and find the same colour pencil.
Then colour one of the squares that colour.
Continue around your garden colouring one square for every flower that colour.
Next cut out all the coloured squares.
Arrange them so that all the same colours are next to each other and make a spectrum so the colours seem to blend from one to another.
Look at the range of colours you have collected.

What can you say about the range of colours in summer compared to spring?
Is there a most frequent colour, a mode colour?
Why do you think there is such a variety?
Why is colour important in summer?

I would love to see your colour charts for summer and compare them to mine and other children’s so please tweet any photos #Naturedays @DawnNaturedays or post on the Nature Days Facebook page.

Spring colours
Summer colours
Colour spectrum

It has been windy for a few days now so my challenge for you is to map the wind in your garden.
Watch my video to see how.

What you will need:
A map of you garden or school grounds – See my video on how to make one. A clipboard
A pen

How to do it:
Look around your garden or school grounds and see if you can spot anything that has been blow in by the wind. This could be a strange leaf, twig or piece of rubbish.
Then have a look around and see if you can identify where the item has been blown from.
Using you map draw an arrow from where the item came from to where it stopped.
Then repeat with other objects in your garden.
When you have finished look at your map and see if you can see any pattern in the direction of the wind.
Compare it to the direction on the weather forecast for your area.

Is the wind in your garden the same as the weather forecast? Or is your house changing the winds direction?

Do you have your own microclimate in your garden?

I would love to see your wind maps so please Tweet photos #Naturedays @DawnNaturedays or post on the Nature Days facebook page.

Nature Days has been very busy over this difficult time creating a whole raft of resources and support for schools.

Our Aims are:

  • To provide on-line training for teachers in facilitating outdoor learning.
  • To inspire children to learn outdoors.
  • To create unique resources and content to meet the needs of individual schools.
  • To help schools adapt to the situation to continue to provide quality outdoor learning experiences.
  • To impact positively on children’s health and wellbeing.

Lots of these resources are available free on the Nature Days You tube channel, so please subscribe so that you are kept up-to-date with content and support.

Menu of support for schools:

Digital Resources:

  1. Nature Days has uploaded recorded fieldwork sessions on the Nature Days You tube channel which can be accessed free by all schools and students.
  2. Nature Days has created innovative Outdoor Learning, Independent challenge cards. £50.
  3. Nature Days sets free daily Outdoor learning challenges on the You Tube channel for KS2 to undertake independently in their gardens or school grounds.
  4. Nature Days has Undertaken Teacher training on Outdoor learning with social distancing. A recording of the webinar is available free on the You Tube channel.

Advanced Digital Fieldwork:

5. Nature Days has uploaded an example of virtual field work on the Nature days You tube channel. These samples show how bespoke virtual field trips can be created for your school with online supportive live Q and A sessions, as well as a wealth of practical activities and resources.

Outreach Learning Package:

6. Opportunity for Dawn to come to your school site to undertake outdoor learning activities with your class in your school grounds or local green space.

Blended Learning Package:

7. Digital introduction to sessions which students can undertake in school grounds or in student’s gardens and opportunity for visits to a field work locations or Dawn to visit school site for field work experience.

I hope you will be in touch and use Nature Days services at this challenging time.

Contact details:

For more details look at the Nature Days web page www.naturedays.co.uk

Follow us on Twitter @DawnNaturedays #Naturedays

Dawn Thomas 07779950126  naturedays@reynoldston.com

Outdoor learning challenge cards

It’s a rainy day, so my challenge for you is to build a rain shelter.
Have a look at my video to get some ideas.

You will need:
A tarp

How to do it:
Find a good location for your shelter with some permanent anchor points like trees or a fence.
Design a shelter with the location and space in mind.
Think about the angle of the roof to allow the rain to run off and not accumulate in puddles on the roof.
You could use the string like a washing line to hold the tarp up and peg out the corners using the string and pegs as guy ropes. Or you could use poles to hold the tarp up.

Once you are happy with your design then test it to see if it waterproof by either siting inside it in the rain or putting something like a teddy or kitchen paper inside and then throwing a bucket of water over the top. If it leaks adjust your design and test it again. Keep doing this until the shelter is water tight.

I would love to see photos of your shelters so please tweet #Nature Days @DawnNaturedays or post on the Nature Days Facebook page.

Flat roofed shelter

Nature Days outdoor learning resources – Sit mat.
My challenge for you today is a craft challenge.
Learn how to make a sit mat or sit upon by watching my video here.

What you will need:
A reusable waterproof shopping bag
Duct tape
Stuffing – foam, wool, newspaper, material or plastic bags

How to do it.
Take your bag and duct tape down the tow side so they stay closed.
Duct tape down the bottom.
Trim the edges.
Open the bag and fill with your stuffing.
Do not overfill so you can’t close the bag.
Seal the bag closed with duct tape cutting around the handles.
Make sure it is securely taped closed.
You can add a poly pocket to the front for carrying paper or a pencil using a glue gun or duct tape.

These are great for taking on picnics, walks or for taking into school to use as an outdoor seat for outdoor learning in the yard or for having a picnic lunch on the grass.

Also great for camping.

I would love to see you sit mat creations so please tweet #Naturedays @DawnNaturedays or share any photos on the Nature Days facebook page.

Did you know you can tell the temperature by counting crickets chirps? The frequency of chirping varies according to temperature. To get a rough estimate of the temperature in degrees Fahrenheit, count the number of chirps in 15 seconds and then add 37. The number you get will be an approximation of the outside temperature.

Watch my video to see the challenge.

Complete the results table to check how accurate the crickets are.

You can then draw a graph of your results using excel or J2launch.  Create a line graph for your results and a range of other results such as half as many chirps, twice as many chips.  See what shape the results make on the graph. Now you can predict the temperature from any number of chirps.

Do grasshoppers and crickets have the same pattern?

Please share any results so we can check with the other children and see if it is the same for everyone.  Tweet results #Naturedays @DawnNaturedays or on the Nature days Facebook page.

Bush cricket

This is a free webinar to empower teachers and TAs to use their school grounds to take learning outdoors.
Dawn Thomas from Nature Days with provide practical advice on taking learning outdoors. Focusing on Health and Wellbeing outdoors, logistics of social distancing and using the space effectively, being prepared and resources to support teachers.
The webinar will be followed up with a Q and A session with Dawn so that you can ask any specific questions about your school grounds in particular.

Nature Days outdoor learning resources – worm charming.
It’s raining outside. Which makes it a great day for worm charming!

Watch my video to see how.

What you will need:
Fork or rake

How to do it:
Create a sample square in your lawn.
Wait for 5 minutes.
Count how many worms there are in the square. Write it down in the results table as your rain sample.
Move to a different part of the lawn and measure out your sample size again. Make sure it is the same size to keep it a fair test.
Use a fork or rake to tap the square all over for 5 minutes.
Count how many worms there are in the square. Write it down in the results table as your fork sample.
Move to a different part of the lawn and measure out your sample size again.
Repeat the experiment this time stand in your square and sing a song for 5 minutes.

Count how many worms there are in the square. Write it down in the results table as your singing sample.
Repeat in a different spot but this time dance in your square and write your results in the dancing sample.
Lastly if there is a square in your garden under a bush which is getting no rain or wait until the rain stops, and wait 5 minutes. Then write down how many worms in the no rain column.

Use your data to generate a bar graph using J2Launch.
What are your conclusions?
Which method is the best for worm charming?

Please share your results with us on Twitter #Naturedays @DawnNaturedays
or on the Nature days facebook page.