16th September 2016 – Farmyard sensory play

IMG_20160916_143919742We are still settling into our new school routine, so didn’t manage to do anything wild today, but we did play in the garden for a while. I made a sensory farmyard play tray, using chocolate mousse ‘mud’, shredded wheat ‘bales’, blue water ‘pond’ and some herbs. The farm animals got thoroughly mucky, then were washed in a bowl of soapy water and another bowl of clean water. E washed himself and the porch and they both were completely absorbed in the activity for a long time.

Total wild time – about 40 mins

15th September 2016 – East Cliff Beach

IMG_2134 IMG_2136 IMG_2151We had a great afternoon on East Cliff Beach, between Lyme Regis and Charmouth. We skipped down the 114 steps, past some sculptures, patches of Bristly Ox-tongue and a couple of  Clouded Yellow Butterflies. There were some great rock pools to potter around in and we saw several crabs and little fishes. Izzy slipped rather dramatically on the green algae and ended up with her feet in the air. Undeterred, she continued to jump from rock to rock. We arrived at the beach at the same time as a load of students, who looked very busy with tape measures and clipboards. Skirting around them and the jagged bits of metal, which have apparently come from a tip exposed by the eroding cliffs, we found a boulder on which to unload our stuff. From there, we searched for fossils (yet again the best one, a tiny shell, was found by E), collected sea glass and paddled in the sea. I tried to make a picture of a dragon with the sea glass, but it was hijacked by Izzy, who turned it into a fish. We took a photo, before it was covered by the incoming tide, then we changed E’s soggy trousers and socks, before climbing the 114 steps back to the car park.

We had thought the kids would be worn out, but apparently not – Izzy serenaded us with Christmas songs all the way home.

Total wild time – 2 hours

14th September 2016 – Blackberry and elderberry granola bars

I took E and the dog out to pick blackberries and elderberries. I also found some wild Hops, so picked a little vine to show B and to decorate our kitchen. Back home, we made granola bars with the blackberries and elderberries. E enjoyed spreading oats all over the floor.

After school, Grandmum drove us to Darts Farm, where after visiting the toy shop, we played outside and said hello to the cows. Grandmum treated us all to an ice-cream, which melted all over the kids before they could finish them. There were lots of House Sparrows flitting about the picnic benches and Pied Wagtails flying overhead.

At bedtime, Izzy and I admired the bright moon in a sky streaked with candyfloss clouds. She told me that aliens used to live on the moon and that the grey bits on it were holes.

Total wild time – E about 2 hours, Izzy about 1 hour

13th September 2016 – Thunder and lightning

Apparently there was a heat wave in London today. Well, not in East Devon! There was thunder and lightning, with torrential rain, all day. E and I were at toddler group when it started, so we watched the storm out of the windows and then went outside to catch the rain in our hands and study the ‘wet cars’ in the carpark. When it was time to pick Izzy up from school, I took her wellies, so that we could jump in puddles on the way home.

Total wild time: Izzy  – about 30 mins, E – about 1 hour

12th September 2016 – Dog walk

IMG_20160912_110541918E and I took the dog for a walk, passing a gathering of Starlings on the church spire. At the river, we spooked an Egret, which flashed its yellow feet as it took off. E found some sticks and sang happily to himself.IMG_20160912_104838708_HDR

I had planned to take the kids to the wetlands after zumba, but Izzy was hungry and on the verge of a meltdown, so we went straight home instead.

Total wild time: E – 35 mins, Izzy – 0 mins

10th September 2016 – Pennywell Farm

IMG_20160910_184428162We went to Pennywell Farm to celebrate one of Izzy’s best friends’ birthday and had a fantastic time. The children milked goats, bottle-fed kids, collected eggs, fed the animals, cuddled micro-pigs, guinea pigs, rabbits and mice and had a tractor ride. I realise that Pennywell is not wild, but we were outdoors, interacting with animals and learning about farming.

Later, with Izzy dressed in a pig onsie and me as a farmer, we had our first experience of Colyton Carnival. We stayed up way past bedtime, so Izzy enjoyed seeing the moon and stars come out.

Total wild time – about 5 hours

8th September 2016 – An egg hunt

IMG_20160908_153456177 IMG_20160908_160833176 IMG_20160908_163320420

My kids seem to be getting used to spending time outdoors and it was relatively easy to get them out of the house, into the car and to Seaton Wetlands, where they hopped on their bike/scuttle bug and were off. They have also become noticeably fitter since we started the challenge and whizzed along the paths.

Grasshopper song in the background, we did part of the Egg Trail (we will start at the other end of the wetlands to finish it off next time!), which involved finding some nest boxes with replica birds’ eggs in. We wandered around the wildlife garden and then popped into the bird hide next to the Discovery Hut. There were Greenfinches on the feeder that were completely unafraid of us, so we were able to watch them through the window extremely closely as they tucked into some seeds.

Heading back towards the car, Izzy helped a worm cross the path, then we discovered the joy of throwing downy Thistle seeds into the air. Izzy wondered whether they knew where to go and if they would fly all the way to Exeter. Finding our theme, we examined the soft seeds of a Willowherb, which could be pulled apart like a zip and I explained how the hairs inside Rose Hips could be used as itching powder.

Driving back through the cemetery, Izzy said that she thought that the gravestones were pretty. I explained that they marked the place where dead people were buried. The conversation then took a rather morbid turn, when she suggested that we dig up some of the bodies. When I asked why we would want to do that, she said that it would be interesting to see some skeletons (I think this may be the fault of an Usborne ‘body book’ she has, which has a picture of some jolly, dancing skeletons in it.) After that, I steered the conversation back to the pizza we were going to eat for our dinner…

Total wild time – 1 hour 45 mins