Archives for posts with tag: Almanac

Now that so many of us are staying inside in order to stay safe and well, I thought I would offer up some ideas of activities from my almanac for children, Nature Month-by-Month, to help you pass the time indoors.

You can still enjoy what nature has to offer, even if you can’t get out to the park or go for long walks. If you have a bird table, make sure you put out lots of scraps such as seeds, nuts, stale bread crumbs, and then sit quietly and watch through the window for the birds to come. Birds are getting ready to build nests and breed right now, so they are filling up on food at the moment to give them extra energy. You’ll soon have lots of visitors!

If you don’t have a bird table yet, maybe now is the time to make one. That can be a fun activity in itself. Make sure you ask an adult to help you. There are lots of instructions online, such as this link here from the RSPB: https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/advice/how-you-can-help-birds/feeding-birds/all-about-bird-tables/making-a-bird-table/

Or you could simply make a bird feeder like the fat cakes in the picture below and then find a branch near a window where you can hang the feeder so that you’ll be able to see the birds from inside.

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See how many different types you can spot. Maybe use some binoculars if you have them, so that you can get a closer look. Or take some photos. Just this morning I saw great tits, blue tits, long-tailed tits, chaffinches and even a lesser spotted woodpecker on my bird table – all from the comfort of my kitchen. Keep a nature diary of all the birds you see. Why not have a go at drawing them too? You could even start a bird-spotting blog to share your finds with other bird enthusiasts.

Whatever you do during this difficult time, stay safe and keep well.

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Nature Month-by-Month – a children’s almanac by Anna Wilson, illustrated by Elly Jahnz is published by Nosy Crow and The National Trust and is available to order online.

Your independent bookshop can take orders over the phone and post books out to you, too. Give them a call!

There is an old country saying: “The blackest month of the year, is the month of Janiveer”. It’s true that although the days are getting a little longer, the mornings seem darker than ever. And some days the weather is so damp and dark and foggy that you could be forgiven for thinking the sun had not bothered to get up at all. On days like that, it takes a lot of effort for us humans to get up and out of the house!

But if you can find a way to motivate yourself to get outside in January, you will always be rewarded. Even on the bleakest, darkest, wettest day, if you keep your eyes open you will see signs of life and the promise of spring. Hazel trees already have catkins hanging from their branches in January; birds are out and about, trying to eat as much as they can to survive the winter months; owls can be heard in the evenings and dark mornings and you might see a fox or a badger on your way to school if you keep your eyes peeled. In some parts of the country you might see snowdrops or even daffodils poking their green shoots up out of the earth.

Why not make a nature notebook, as shown here in my 2020 almanac, Nature Month-by-Month.

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You can make it from scraps of recycled paper and make your own cover out of an old cereal packet or part of a cardboard box. Make it small enough so that you can slip it into your pocket, then you can take it out and about with you. Your winter walks will be more interesting now, as you’ll have a reason to get out and about – you can now note down all the wildlife and plant life that you see and notice how the world around you changes as January creeps towards February. Happy walking!

This autumn term is very long . . . the summer seems a lifetime away and we’ve all – teachers, parents, carers and children – been working hard for weeks and weeks. So it’s a relief that the holidays are here again. I am looking out at blue skies and sunshine and hoping that this weather is going to last for a while!

But even if it doesn’t, there are lots of games and activities that you can do indoors. I had great fun coming up with ideas for Nature Month-by-Month – in the 2019 edition you’ll find lots of ideas for Hallowe’en games, for example. These can be played inside or outside. I loved writing about these because it took me back to when my children were small. I didn’t used to be very happy about them going Trick or Treating as we lived in the countryside and the houses were quite a long way apart from each other down very dark lanes! But I wanted them to have fun on Hallowe’en, so we would invite all their friends to come to our house and we would have a big party. Here are some of the games we would play:

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Recently I have been researching and thinking up new ideas for an updated version of Nature Month-by-Month for 2020, which has just come out in the shops.

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I decided to write about pumpkin carving, as we always enjoyed doing this during half term, and it was a great activity to do on a rainy day or during one of the dark evenings after the clocks had gone back.

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You can make yummy things from the pumpkin flesh, so don’t throw it away! You can make delicious soup by frying up the pumpkin with onion and then adding stock, nutmeg, cream, salt and pepper. There are lots of good recipes online. You can also make scrummy pumpkin muffins like these:

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Whatever you do this holiday – whether you choose to go for blustery walks or whether you stay indoors and keep cosy – I hope you have a good rest and lots of fun!

As for me, seeing as it’s so sunny today, I think I’m going to take the dog and go for a walk through the crunchy autumn leaves this afternoon. Or maybe even go for a swim if the sea is calm enough . . .

nala by the sea

(Vlad says, “You could always curl up with a spooky Hallowe’en read if the weather outside is frightful ! Mwhahahahaaaaa!)

Vlad The World's Worst Vampire RGB