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General News

Posted by in Advice, General News on Oct 10, 2018 .

Leave The Leaves! Five Ways to Help Garden Wildlife This Autumn

As autumn takes hold in the UK the winds are getting up and temperatures cooling down. Many gardeners use this time of year to clear up the garden, sort the shed and settle down for the more dormant period over winter.

But there are lots of ways you can support wildlife at this time of year, helping creatures prepare for the colder months and be fit for spring. 

Here are some tips for making your autumn gardening as wildlife-friendly as possible. 

Leave the leaves
It’s tempting to clear away fallen leaves, but they provide shelter for insects and mammals during...

Get Walking For International Walk To School Month.

 

October is International Walk To School Month and all over the world communities are being encouraged to make it easier for children to walk to school.

 

Walking to school is a great choice for all sorts of reasons. It’s a simple way of having more exercise and outdoor time, without having to fit another outing, club or activity into busy weeks. Research has shown that getting our bodies moving gets our brains moving too – so children who have walked to school are likely to feel more ready to learn and less sleepy than those who have travelled by car.

 

And it can...

Posted by in Advice, General News on Sep 24, 2018 .

Don’t retreat indoors this Autumn!

 According to a 2017 survey of 1000 adults in the UK, on average we spend over 90% of our time indoors on a weekday.  And in the winter months, the situation is even worse, with us spending 90 minutes less per day outside.

 

 Why does it matter? Research suggests that as a species, we’re evolved to be outside far more than modern lifestyles allow. Everything from our sleep patterns to our air quality is affected by access to the outdoors. Our bodies are designed to be more alert in daylight, and to rest at evening times. The combination of staying inside more and using artificial light...

Posted by in General News on Sep 12, 2018 .

All about snails!

The wetter weather means we’re seeing more slugs and snails out and about. While these gastrpods are mostly detested by gardeners for their crop-munching ways, they are a great way for children to get up close to wildlife and learn more about our natural world.

Here are some fun snail facts to share with children, plus some snail-based activities you can enjoy in the damp weather! 

They’ve been around for a long time
Snails’ ancestors were one of the earliest types of animals on earth. They have been around for 500 million years – that’s 250 million years before the first dinosaurs!

There are lots...

Posted by in General News on Sep 12, 2018 .
Have your children developed their sixth (and seventh!) sense?
 
Most of us learn about the five senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch from an early age. And children are masters at using them – splashing in puddles, getting muddy fingernails, picking up (and tasting?!) unfortunate worms and bugs. 
 
But have you heard of the two other senses? They’re both linked to movement and are critical for child development.
 
The vestibular and proprioceptive senses
 
The vestibular sense is like your body’s GPS. This system enables you to process where your head is in relation to your body, and move both...

Six ways to kickstart an autumn fitness habit

How fit was your summer? We were surprised this week to learn that research conducted by not-for-profit organisation UKactive found children were measurably less fit after the summer holidays. Primary school children lost 80% of the fitness levels compared with term time. 

The NHS recommends children get at least 60 minutes of physical activity everyday. With many children spending their holiday time on sedentary activities in the home, these targets are often not met. 

Anne Longfield. Chief Executive of children’s charity 4Children has called for more to be done to recognise the...

Posted by in Advice, General News on Aug 22, 2018 .

Get ready to go back to school

 

Children in Scotland, and many other places around the world, are already back, and it’s just a couple of weeks before the English and Welsh schools reopen for business.

 

The back-to-school season can feel frenzied, especially if your children are starting school for the first time or you have a new routine to get into. And it can be expensive – last year UK parents spent £1.48 billion on getting ready for school.

 

So here are our tips for a calmer start to the new school year.

 

  1. Check what you need

Get out last year’s uniform, school shoes, bags and other supplies...

Posted by in General News on Aug 09, 2018 .

How to encourage self-directed play

 

For many, it’s that stage in the school holidays when boredom strikes. Often the longer stretches at home, plus sweltering temperatures making everyone crabby, mean homes are echoing with refrains of “I’m bored!”

 

Boredom arises when we can’t create ways to occupy ourselves in a fulfilling way, or find a way to distract ourselves. So a key skill for overcoming boredom is the ability to direct your own work or play.

 

Self-directed play is simply play that occurs on children’s own terms, where they are active in its creation and purpose. Children play at their own pace,...