Today we are preparing for Christmas and looking out for our local wildlife.
As winter approaches, food becomes scarce for many animals, including birds, hedgehogs and foxes (and we don’t want the latter feeding on our chickens!).
We have prepared a few simple crafts today to make feeders for the different animals, with a festive theme.
We start with a treasure hunt to discover which wild animals live around us. We explore habitats such as trees; their branches, but also their bark and the forest floor beneath. We look in the shrubs and under stones and piles of wood. We check the bonfire for nests and are reminded that we never light it before having done so.
The teachers have hidden clues along the way and it is a thrilling journey of discovery for the children; albeit in the form of rubber snakes and toy hedgehogs. Under the pines and through the vegetable garden we also collect ingredients for our feeders. Pine-cones will form the base for the bird-feeders, overgrown vegetables and leaves will make a nice meal for the mammals.
With all the materials laid out, we get to work.
For the bird-feeders we need adhesives (tahini, butter, honey all work well) and seeds to stick on.
This is fun for all ages and even the very young children can manage this on their own. Having collected the pinecones from beneath the trees (a fun game in itself) the children roll the cones in the tahini and sprinkle the seeds on top. An adult helps them to tie a string around and together we hang them on the trees.
For the mammals, we make a nice salad with vegetables from our garden and bits of overripe fruit. We place the offerings on biodegradable plates (bits of cardboard) and hide them at the edge of the forest.