Nature inspiration a month for 2019
January’s often a time for new year’s resolutions and making plans, and we’re no exception! Of course, we’d love the outdoors to feature more in everyone’s lives, with all the health, wellbeing and community benefits that brings.
If you’d like to spend more time outdoors over the next year, here are some seasonal prompts for enjoying the great outdoors, whether you’re in the city, countryside or somewhere in between!
We hope each month’s theme will give you a focus to step outside together, whether it’s for ten minutes, an hour or a day’s adventure!
January: The moon
The dark nights of January are perfect for enjoying the night sky without disturbing bedtimes. And there is something magical about the moon, and noticing how it changes shape through the month.
Simply spend a few minutes outside each evening looking for the moon, or pick a night around full moon for a lovely moonlit walk. In January 2019 the new moon is on 6th January and the full moon on 21st. If you’d like to extend your moon activities, Mensa has some helpful moon craft, reading and science ideas for young children.
February can feel bleak in the UK, but the evergreens are a constant companion when we’re outdoors. Take a walk and see how many you can spot. Are there any other signs of life: birds or minibeasts nearby? Evergreens can be a lifesaver for wildlife in winter. Here’s an example of an evergreen nature walk.
March marks the start of the bird mating season, therefore the start of the dawn chorus – a true sign spring is on its way! Take a walk to see how many different birds you can see and hear as they begin their nesting preparations. Read more about the dawn chorus here.
April: Spring flowers
Daffodils, bluebells, narcissus, wild garlic – plants and flowers burst into life in April! Take a walk to see what flowers you can spot, and if you are inspired by what you see, try recreating the scene with some mosaic nature craft.
Spring blossom is beautiful, and a fantastic sensory opportunity for younger children. Enjoy a blossom shower while picnicking under a tree, or collect some petals and make your own potions or art. As leaves return, older children might like to try identifying different tree species with this leaf guide.
June is butterfly heaven, with nearly all of the UK’s 60 species likely to be on view – though some are rarer than others! Enjoy a walk through a park, garden or meadow, and see how many you can spot. If you’d like help identifying, the Butterfly Conservation Organisation has some good tips.
Minibeasts are a source of endless fascination for many young children, and summer is a great time to spot them! Whether they are in the air, grass or under logs, it shouldn’t be hard to find some kind of creepy crawly! Once you’ve been spotting, try your hand at a few minibeast crafts.
August: The water
August, the deepest of the summer months when everything seems to get a little less serious. What better time to head to the water – whether coast, river, or lake - take a picnic and get your feet wet? If you’d like to swim, here are a few tips on staying safe with children around.
September: Fruits and nuts
Autumn is the time when berries, fruits and nuts come into their own. From conkers, hazelnuts and acorns to blackberries, apples and elderberries, the woods and hedgerows are awash with nature’s harvest. Take a look at this guide to simple autumn foraging with children.
October: Autumn leaves
“May you Fall in love with October
and all the beauty it brings,
May your life be as colourful as
the turning of the leaves,
On each blessed autumn day”
Can anything beat an autumn walk among the trees, kicking through the leaves, or running to catch them as they fall? It’s a joy, for adults and children alike. And we have some autumn craft ideas for all those leaves that get collected on the way.
Autumn is the main UK mushroom season. It’s important to be clear with children that fungi hunting is a ‘look don’t touch’ activity, but it can be great fun to spot them on logs and under leaf litter. You can use this simple ID guide.
December: The stars
Let’s finish the year as we started, looking at the night sky. Wrapping up warm with a hot chocolate is a magical way to spend an evening, spotting constellations (and maybe a certain sleigh?!). December is also the month to spot the impressive Geminids meteor shower. The Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics has a regularly updated page of how and what to spot.
We hope that’s inspired you to head outside and enjoy what’s on offer outside in 2019, whatever the weather! Have a fantastic 2019!