Wildlife Activities for Children in Devon
It’s easy to see why children enjoy the great outdoors where a world of birds, bugs and mini beasties exist. Within easy reach, young nature super-sleuths venture around their back gardens and parks to uncover a whole collection of wildlife on their doorstep.
The advantages to this are plentiful. Not only is it educational, but it teaches children to respect their surroundings - they learn how their actions can affect the environment.
Plus, of course, there is always a fascination in creatures and critters that are smaller than they are. Grasp at this natural love of the outdoors and watch your child embrace wildlife happily.
Go wild with wildlife activities
Children can learn about and encourage wildlife, by directly interacting with nature - literally rolling up their little sleeves and getting stuck in.
Either independently or with a local wildlife group, there is a variety of activities to encourage a child to learn more about creatures and their habitats.
These include pond-dipping for water based creatures, searching for traces and tracks of dormice, venturing on rock pool rambles in search of saltwater inhabitants, bug hunting for spiders, ants and other equally interesting beasties, and identifying different wild flowers.
Take a look at the website of your local council or environmental group to find a number of child-friendly activities. Encourage your child’s interest to flourish by going on regular walks to the local forest, park, moorland or beach. Similarly, you can nurture wildlife closer to home – as close as the garden in fact…
Attract wildlife to your garden
The messy areas of a garden often provide shelter for a host of mini-beasts and other creatures such as hedgehogs. Here are ways to encourage some creatures to your garden:
Make a nest or bird box to attract more birds to your garden.Shrubbery and climbers also make excellent nesting areas. Provide a delicious feast of tasty seed mixtures, old bits of bread and cake to lure feathered friends to your garden. Visit www.rspb.org.uk or https://ww2.rspb.org.uk/makeahomeforwildlife
Frogs and Toads:
Sadly, over 70% of the UK’s ponds have been lost over the last 100 years. So, by creating a wildlife pond in your own garden, you can really make a difference to the habitat of animals such as frogs and toads that rely heavily on these watery havens for their survival. Of course, ponds with very young children don’t always mix well. Do ensure that safety guards or nets are in place. Visit www.froglife.org
Butterflies and Bees:
As our natural environment is slowly diminished and habitats are being destroyed, the delicate and colourful butterfly is becoming a more rare sight. These beautiful creatures savour the energy-rich nectar produced by flowers to attract pollinators, so by providing more nectar in the garden you will not only attract more butterflies but also bees, moths, beetles, hoverflies and birds. To learn about butterflies visit www.butterfly-conservation.org To learn more about bees take a look at www.bbka.org.uk/kids
Walks for Little Legs
The National Trust website –www.nationaltrust.org - has a great section named ‘Walks for little legs’ which lists a number of family favourite walks that won’t rack up the miles.
In response to the widespread deterioration of the UK’s natural habitats in the 1960’s, the Wildlife Trusts were created to help protect wildlife and wild places on the land and at sea.
Now, there are 47 individual Wildlife Trusts – www.wildlifetrusts.org. - covering the whole of the UK. Its junior branch, Wildlife Watch has 150,000 members.
Wildlife Watch members receive exciting wildlife goodies throughout the year including a Welcome Pack that contains: wildlife stickers, a badge, a poster, a 60 page ‘Wildlife Watcher’s’ handbook, a special folder and details about how to take part in local nature activities for families and children.
The accompanying website is full of wild ideas and nature-spotting tips and includes games, spotting sheets, and a place to record wildlife sightings in a nature diary. Children can start their nature adventure at www.wildlifewatch.org.uk
In addition to its Wildlife Watch programme, The Wildlife Trusts work closely with schools to welcome millions of young visitors to its nature reserves and visitor centres around the area.
Learn about sustainable environments from the Forestry Commission
Visits to forests can provide amazing opportunities for families, schools and groups to learn about trees, wildlife and sustainable environments. Free, downloadable activity sheets are available from the Forestry Commission website www.forestry.gov.uk/england-learning.