Enabling Environments: Woodland activities

Nicole Weinstein
Friday, February 3, 2012

Nicole Weinstein finds ideas for woodlands visits

If you're looking for inspiration for your nursery visits to woodlands, go to www.rspca.org.uk/education for some bright ideas.

Claire Morris, the RSPCA's formal education manager, says that by visiting wooded areas in a managed way, young children are able to develop a sense of 'awe and wonder'.

She says, 'Children can learn that even the tiniest of animals have an important part to play in keeping a wood healthy, at seeing first-hand the way that minibeasts such as woodlice help to break down fallen trees and branches and at finding out about the vast array of wildlife that there is in just a small patch of woodland.'

ACTIVITY IDEAS

Some of the RSPCA's suggested ideas for young children are:

  • Be an animal detective. Look for clues that animals have visited an area or live there. Clues can include footprints, droppings, discarded nutshells, half-eaten leaves, scratches on tree bark, snagged strands of fur on twigs or fences, webs, feathers.
  • Look for litter and discuss how it may harm animals.
  • Put out food, such as crumbs or peanuts, and either watch quietly from a distance or come back a day later to see if the food has gone. (Do not leave out whole peanuts in springtime, when adult birds are feeding their young.)
  • Highlight possible dangers to animals in the woods by hiding some toy animals for the children to find - some of the toys could be caught in a fence or tangled up in pieces of litter. Ask the children how they could prevent this from happening to real animals.
  • Role-play what happens when The Careless Family go for a day out in the woods (as link above).

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