Friday 12 December 2014

Birdwatching with children? Winter days out, outside.

A few years ago if you'd of told me I, Mary-Kate would encourage my son to go birdwatching  I'd of said "yeah alright, whatever"... to me it was something boring people done (Sorry Mike Mum and Kenny!) but now my eyes have been opened to how many beautiful birds there are out there, in our own country and I think it's a great hobby for children to have.
Birdwatching teaches them patience as they have to wait to see the birds whilst also encouraging them to care for creatures around them, to be kind. They also learn about different birds and get to look through binoculars which Oliver thinks is pretty cool. He's really getting into it and is good at noticing birds in the distance. If we don't encourage little ones to be interested in this then what will happen in the future? Our little people are the future after all.

It's not all about birdwatching in this post though, I also think pond dipping is an amazing thing to do with your children, to show them whats living in the water they are stood in front of is great! I wouldn't have realised half of it was actually in there.

And Just because it's chilly outside now doesn't mean it has to be all playcentres and days inside, there's a whole world out there and winter walks can be just as nice if you wrap everyone up really warm. You could even start by looking for different ducks this winter, Oliver loves to feed the ducks and there's lots around at the moment. Oliver's favourite thing to do is to be outside, he's a much better behaved child if he's been out exploring and running around. Sometimes I say he just needs a field to run around in to calm down.
As a family we love RHS gardens and they're not just for adults, they are great for children and encourage them to care about beautiful gardens as they grow up. One of our favourites is RHS Wisley.

We also love Wildlife Trust and enjoy going to a place called College Lake in Tring. The Wildlife Trust holds various family events throughout the year. The Wildlife Trust has some suggestions on things to do with your children at their reserves: become a wildlife detective and see how many butterflies, birds and plants you can find or play pooh sticks and you could take some paper with crayons to make a bark rubbing - hold the paper up to the tree and let little one rub crayon all over paper until you can see the pattern of the bark.
They also have a thing called the 'hedgehog award' which Oliver loves, he's collecting stickers each time he goes to a Wildlife Trust nature reserve so he can get his certificate, we'll tell you about it when he gets it.
Usborne do a really good little sticker book for bird watching, when the child see's the bird they put the sticker over the outline of it and parents can put the date/place they saw the bird so they have a little reminder. Oliver is much better than me, I'm too loud and scare the birds away and I just can't remember their names where as he is really good.

Just so you know, I'm a little bit anti-play centres - sorry! I just can't stand how Oliver always get ill after going to one and he loves being outside much more anyway.

Whats your little ones favourite outdoor thing to do?

Mary-Kate x

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