Now in its fifth year, The Wildlife Trust’s annual 30 Days Wild challenge is back and it’s bigger and wilder than ever! Get outdoors this June and enjoy Random Acts of Wildness that enable everybody to engage with nature on their doorstep.
© Paul Harris/2020 VISION
Our earliest childhood memories are usually made outside, where we’re free to explore and discover the world around us, up close and with friends or family. Children are happier, healthier and more creative when they’re connected to nature, and it increases the health and happiness of their parents and carers, too!
With a little time and care, we can easily teach children to look and be more aware of what lives under stones, in the trees and on our plants. Revealing the wonders of the natural world to children also starts a relationship that will last a lifetime. Fostering a love of nature will encourage them to care for the world and wildlife around us and develop a passion for finding out more about it – and that’s becoming increasingly important as the decline in our wildlife and wild places shows no sign of slowing down.
Encouraged by my mum, I’ve always loved wildlife and poured over books about birds, animals and bugs when I was younger. My daughter is now six and I have to hold back from overwhelming her with facts as we walk to school or visit the park or countryside. I do my best to gently encourage her to look and listen and answer her questions. My proudest moment was when she spotted an empty birds nest on the ground on the way to school and excitedly took it in to show everyone! It’s been wonderful though to see wildlife again through her eyes. Who remembers the joy of blowing a dandelion clock, of holding a buttercup to our chins to see if we like butter or making up stories of what creatures might live in a log pile.
© Laura Budden
The Wildlife Trust’s free 30 Days Wild packs are full of ideas to get schools, early years settings and families started and have all the ideas you need to get outdoors with the children in your life. You don’t have to be an ‘expert’ to enjoy nature. Enjoy creating wild art, follow a bumblebee, sketch a plant, bug or feather or feed the birds - there’s something for everybody to try. In your pack you’ll receive a booklet packed with inspirational ideas for Random Acts of Wildness, wildflower seeds, a wall chart to record your activities and wild stickers. Schools packs for classes, early years settings and groups also have a wallchart, more Random Acts of Wildness flash cards and stickers.
Join thousands of families, early years settings and schools across the UK and do one wild thing for nature every day in June. For more ideas, order your free pack online.
If you want more activity ideas to carry on throughout the year, head over to our Wildlife Watch website – full of fun resources for children of all ages!
These beautiful flittering gems can stop us in our tracks and can be easily spotted in our gardens, streets and parks especially on warm sunny days, Small tortoiseshells, red admirals, peacocks, painted ladies, commas, speckled woods, large whites, green-veined whites, and small whites: Visit other habitats and you will discover some of our rarer butterflies too!
© Nick Upton
Race to find a rainbow
Play a game to see who can spot colours in the order of a rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. You must shout out when you find the colour! A fun variation is to hide different coloured wool in a wild area and ask the children to find them. They will usually find all the brightly coloured wool first, and spend longer looking for the more natural colours. You can then use this as a way of teaching about camouflage, and why it’s important that some animals blend into their backgrounds.
Go along to a Wildlife Trust-run family pond-dipping events on reserves where you can learn with an expert. You may find dragonfly and damselfly nymphs, water beetles, and a huge diversity of amazing underwater residents. Ponds will never seem the same when you know how much wildlife depends on them!
Go wild and have fun - nature makes explorers and discoverers of us all.
About the author
Yorkshire born and bred, Emma lives near the Yorkshire Dales with her family. She loves watching birds, butterflies and bugs in the garden and is going for a no-mow approach on the lawn this year. She enjoys a stroll through woodland, along riversides in search of kingfishers and views from the tops of moors and clifftops.