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My challenge for you is to create your own Geographical Information system -GIS, like Google maps.

Watch the video to find out more.

You will need:

A phone – with a lux meter app.

A map of your garden or school grounds – watch my video to see how to make one.




How to do it:

Take your light meter app around your garden stopping in lots of different locations.

Whenever you stop, take a light meter reading and write it on the map at the location where you took the reading. Or write it on a piece of paper or results table with the location described next to it.

You can use the results table below.

Once you have gathered your data you can use it to create a bar graph on J2Launch. Next print out the graph and cut out the bars. Stick the right bar on your map in the right location. You have now created your first layer on your GIS.

You can repeat this by taking readings for temperature, or windspeed or rainfall.

To make your map a truly interactive GIS like Google maps then use a digital application. ARCGIS is available for schools free so get your teacher to apply for it here.

Then download Survey123 app and make a survey for microclimate. Or you can use mine here. Go around your garden or school grounds filling in the survey at different locations to create a data set for all the data you collect.

Once uploaded onto Survey 123 you can access the data on your ArcGIS account and display the data using different sized proportional symbols for the different measurements. You can even change the symbols so they are representative of your readings.

Or if you don’t have access to survey 123 you can use your phone to get the exact GPS location for you sites and add that to your results table. Place in an Excel document using the template below and save as a .csv file.

My challenge for you to day is to use those beautiful summer flowers to make natural paint and a natural paint brush.

Watch my video to see how.

You will need:
A stick – for a paint brush handle
Elastic bands
Pestle and mortal

How to do it:
Take your stick and collect leaves to form the bristles of the paint brush. Experiment with different textures and shaped leaves.
Then wrap them around the stick and fasten tight with the elastic band.
Make a range of paint brushes with different materials to get different effects.

To make the natural paint:
Collect different coloured flowers, don’t forget to ask the garden owners permission first.
Place the flowers in the mortar and crush with the pestle.
Add a little water until you make a paste.
You could us one colour or mix them together to try some colour mixing.

Which colours worked best?
Which colours do not work as paint or is it a type of flower or leaf?

Use the paint brush with the paint to paint a picture.

I would love to see your creations so tweet any photos of your paint brushes or pictures #Naturedays @DawnNatureDays or on the Nature Days Facebook page.

Natural paint brushes

In need of a break?

My challenge for you today is to do a mindfulness activity – Forest Bathing.

Watch my video for instructions.

You will need:
A forest or area of trees
A phone or mirror

How to do it:
When you arrive at your woodland just take a moment to connect with the trees around you and the ground beneath your feet.
Listen to the wind in the trees and feel it on your face.
Then find a tree and sit underneath it with your back against the trunk.
Look up at the leaves in the canopy.
Then follow the trunk down, really exploring the cracks in the bark.
Look at the base of the tree at the roots.
Can you give the tree a hug? Smell the tree.
Next go for a canopy walk. Place your mirror or camera underneath your face on your tummy and walk through the woods looking at the forest canopy above you in the picture.
Connect with the first floor. Maybe take your shoes and socks off and go for a barefoot walk.
Lastly just be still in the woods thinking about the strength of the trees and draw some strength from them into your life.
Leave the woods feeling energised, relaxed and at peace.

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