Tag Archives: outdoor learning

One Day Wild Summer Event

OneWildDay Poster

Join us for a great day of wild activities at Duart Castle. See more information on the event page or contact Rachel on either 07540792650 or rachelannfrench92@gmail.com

Booking is essential and spaces will be limited so don’t leave it too late.

Day 23: Den building 30DaysWild

30 Days Wild 

Day 23

On Thursday the Ulva Primary School children vacated the premises for the polling station and visited Lochdonhead Primary School for the day. These primary schools are under a joint head teacher and have great links, giving the children chances to make friends outside of their own small number.

At Lochdon school, the children have access to a brilliant patch of woodland within easy walking distance which gives amazing outdoor learning opportunities (at Ulva Primary we use a local beach as an outdoor learning area). We made the most of the schools being together and spent the morning working on teamwork skills in the woodland school.

The walk into the forest area is great for wildlife too, with flower-filled road verges boasting orchids, daisies, dandelions and birds-foot trefoil. The kids also spotted a slow-worm on the track and knowing it posed no threat they were excited to see the reptile. We talked about why it was a lizard and not a snake, nor even a worm and chatted about the differences between male and female before leaving it in peace to find cover.

P1010998
A slow-worm – I took this a wee while back! 

The children were split into mixed school teams and were tasked to build a den. Outdoor education like this really gives the kids a chance to develop life skills and highlights areas that need more support. Confidence, communication, risk management and compromising were all required and some fared better than others, but on reflection all the children could discuss areas to improve and what worked well. This outdoor activity also encourages creativity and free thinking – brilliant skills which lead to creative futures in the real world. Plus, being out in nature has numerous health benefits!

WildChild Scotland (@WildChild_Sco)

 

Day 16: Wild Child flower ID 30DaysWild

30 Days Wild 

Day 16 

Today at school we spent the afternoon completing another Wildlife Action Award activity. We went out in the rain to snap photos of the wildflowers in the school garden to later ID. We found lots around the edges of the garden (the areas the council aren’t so against) and checked some flowers out up close with hand lenses. We found foxgloves, self-heal, red campion, tutsan, cuckoo flower, stickyjacks, daisies, bramble, flag iris and more. The children looked up information and the gaelic names for the species before drawing and labelling some of their favourites. We chatted about Charles Darwin and ensured our curiosity was up to his standards whilst enjoying the sound of lapwing and skylark overhead. It’s important that children appreciate our native wildflowers and learn some of their names, after many common species names were removed from the English dictionary!

WildChild Scotland (@WildChild_Sco)

 

 

Day 8: Wild School Gardening 30DaysWild

30 Days Wild 

Day 8 

At Ulva Primary we spent the afternoon in out in the school grounds, preparing some planters for our vegetables and flowers. The children have grown tomatoes, courgettes, leeks and some flowers from seed this year and they’re all ready to be relocated in the garden. Whilst clearing the planters the kids found plenty of wildlife and aren’t afraid to touch and feel, often bringing me the creature to identify, before safely returning it to the wild.

One planter is no longer accessible to us – ants have moved in. What look to be yellow meadow ants have created their colony in the pot. We happily left them in peace and moved on. The children also found butterfly caterpillars and enjoyed watching a race between two garden snails. All the while our blue tit parents whizzed in and out of their nest box and the swallows overhead chattered.

We also found a moth pupa and are keeping a close eye on it to see which species emerges. The pupa itself had us all engrossed as it wriggled in defence. Hopefully, the moth emerges in the next few weeks before the schools are on holiday, so soon for Scottish children!

P1020863
Moth pupa – species ID welcome! 

Wild Child Scotland (@WildChild_Sco)

WildChild hands on: bird feeders

WildChild hands on: quick, fun ways to get our children doing and making! 

An easy way to connect to wildlife and get our hands a little dirty is to make bird feeders! Leading up to the Big Schools Birdwatch, a nationwide citizen science project ran by the RSPB we got our mits grimy by making lardy pine cone feeders and lardy cupcakes. This was also one of our tasks for the Wildlife Action Awards, we’re working towards our bronze level and we will have completed six wildlife supporting tasks soon.

Pine cones are brilliant, natural method of creating a bird feeder – involving no plastic or expensive bought equipment. It also allows the kids to hunt for them in a local park or woodland, giving them some fresh air and breathing space. So why not head out and see if you can collect some from the woodland floor before it springs back to life? Much of our country is still experiencing some cold and stormy weather with snow hitting some areas, so putting out small amounts of bird food now can be a great help.

P1010257
Mixing the lard, peanuts and mixed fruit

Allow your pine cones to dry out – place them by a radiator or in a warm space to speed the process and then you can get started. You can alter the ingredients and try different bird food recipes, but stick to unsalted peanuts and other unprocessed, natural products! Here is what we used:

Unsalted lard (you can also use suet)

Unsalted peanuts 

Mixed fruit i.e. raisins/sultanas etc 

Desiccated coconut (soak in water before using) 

Leave the lard in a warm spot to soften and then get mixing! Make sure the kids get hands on and mix all the ingredients up really well. Once the lard and the tasty extras are mixed you can add it to the cones (attach some natural fibre string or wool first, so that you can hang them outside easily). The mixture needs to fill in all the nooks and crannies on the cones and make them a brilliant bird treat. Pop them in the fridge to harden and then they’re ready to go!

P1010265
Filling the pine cones with bird food

If you have any leftover mixture you can get creative and come up with ideas to re-use regular items. We used some non-recyclable yoghurt pots and cupcake cases to make some lardy bird cupcakes! There are never ending possibilities! Get the children to develop their own recipes and try them out – whose is the most popular with the garden birds and do they attract different species?

Garden birds are a brilliant way to connect to wildlife. They can be relied upon to be at your  table most days and can give hours of enjoyment. Take it a step further and pop up a nest box to replace the many natural sites humans have removed and enjoy a family soap opera at home or in the school grounds!

P1010267
Our finished results – we had great garden visitors & sold the remainder at our community cafe.