How to Stay Wild this summer with your young nature-lovers

(c) Nick Turner

Five ways you can connect with the nature and green space around you this summer with your young nature-lovers.

Earlier this year we welcomed Freya Morgan, our new Learning Development Officer, who has led the Avon Wildlife Trust My Wild Child toddler sessions and the Wildlife Watch Club for 5-10 year olds. Alongside other members of the AWT learning team and our amazing and dedicated volunteers, we’re delighted to have such a passionate team offering children, parents and carers from local Bristol communities the opportunity to connect with nature in the city and experience the excitement, wonder and joy that it can bring.

This year our My Wild Child and Wildlife Watch groups have been busy learning all about nature and wildlife through the seasons. From following icicle trails when it was still cold, going on bug hunts, creating mud paintings and cosy dens, to planting beans and sunflowers for spring, making leaf people and magic gardens, using make-believe fox ears and owl eyes to explore and going on wild adventures with hedgehogs, mice and birds to see what they’ve been up to – it’s sure to say that we’ve had a lot of fun taking a closer look at the beautiful and fascinating world of wildlife.

Here at Avon Wildlife Trust, we’ve also loved getting to know so many families and seeing people come back session after session to learn more. As schools break up for the summer holidays, and we take a break from our regular My Wild Child sessions there are still many ways families with young children can be inspired by nature and maybe even give it a helping hand during  the warmer months. Here are five ways you can connect with the nature and green space around you this summer with your young nature-lovers:

1. Follow a bee on its journey as it bumbles and bustles about, from flower to flower and listen to the buzz that it makes! Bees are pollinators, spreading pollen as they go and we need them to survive but they are sadly in decline. If you see a bee struggling, give it a helping hand by mixing some sugar and water in a bottle cap to raise its blood sugar and give it a little boost. You could also use jam jar lids and fill them up with sugar water and leave them in your garden. You might find other pollinators like butterflies stopping by for a little taste. If you decorate the jam jar lids with colourful paper, they might even think it’s a flower.

2. Make music with nature. You could whistle by blowing through a blade of grass or even collect some materials from outside in a tin can to make a nature maraca. Fill it with different materials (pebbles, lentils and nuts are a good start) and cover up the open side with some card and give it a shake.

3. Make your own binoculars using cardboard tubes and send your little ones on a treasure hunt. What different colours, shapes and textures can they find in nature? If you want to get creative first, why not have a go at decorating them. You can glue them together and strap a rubber band around them until the glue sets. Then thread some string through them both so you have a strap to wear them with.

4. Build a bug hotel so our pollinator friends have somewhere to rest after their busy work over the summer. They like hiding in the holes of hollow sticks and in between twigs and hollow plant stems. You could put these in a cardboard tube (make sure it’s full so the twigs don’t fall out) and hang it from a tree.

5. Help create hedgehog highways but cutting a hole in your garden fence. Hedgehogs need space to roam to catch their food and shelter and fences and walls can be barriers for them. The average hedgehog roams 2km a night! Get your neighbours involved so these little mammals can keep their pace up.

For more information on any of these activities and other ways to notice and help wildlife, you can take a look at the AWT How to Guides on the website or the Wildlife Watch website.

We are grateful to players of People’s Postcode Lottery for supporting our My Wild Child toddler sessions and our Wildlife Watch Club for 5-10 year olds every first Saturday of the month at our Feed Bristol site. My Wild Child sessions will be back up and running for the autumn school term, and you can stay up to date on our Facebook group. Our Wildlife Watch Club will continue running through August, so take a look at our events on the website and book your place.