Easy Autumn Crafts – Leaf Butterfly.

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Earlier this year we joined the RSPB and as well as access to all the reserves we enjoy so much, our family membership also came with a Nature Discovery Pack, which we have been making use of.

While some of the seasonal tasks require you to have your own garden or outside space (we live in a top floor flat), many of them you can do anywhere – including making a butterfly from leaves. With each task you do you get to put a ‘we did it’ sticker on the page, which is Freya’s main inspiration.

 

The different colour leaves look amazing at the moment and I was desperate to do something with them, as we have in the past, so this was ideal. Plus, as you might already know, butterflies are one of my favourite things.

While the one in the book is based on a brimstone, we went for a comma as the shape of our leaves suited it raggedy wings better.

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It had been raining overnight so we gathered the leaves and then pegged them on the washing line on the balcony for a good few hours to dry them out.

Once they were ready, we started by drawing a rough butterfly shape and then began filling it in (using two stems for antennae). My initial plan was to return the leaves to the wild once we’d finished but Freya was desperate to keep it so we ended up using PVA to glue them in place. She started off using a dabber but, as always, ended up using her entire hand to spread the glue (whatever makes her happy).

 

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I was really impressed with how well it came out (it looks better in person).

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Once it was dry we cut around it and it held together well (thanks to Freya’s very thorough efforts with the glue). I was wondering if there was a way to frame it, I liked it so much.

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This post isn’t sponsored by or connected to the RSPB but if you’re interested in membership here’s a link to their main website.

 

 

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My Sunday Photo – September 16th, 2018.

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If this is the last butterfly I get to photograph this year, I don’t think I’ll be too disappointed. The comma, with its jagged wings and wonderful orange colouring, is one of my favourites. Also, I got to see a swallowtail for the first time in May so any butterfly beyond that was just a bonus.

My brother popped in yesterday, in between a business trip to Holland and returning to the US where he lives. We decided to go to Strumpshaw Fen to get him some fresh air before he is stuck on planes again.

Luckily it was a beautiful, warm day – and lots of little friends, along with the comma, were out to play.

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I was also rather in love with the light in general, without wanting to sound too pretentious. Autumnal, would you say?

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As always, I’ve joined in with Darren’s brilliant My Sunday Photo linky. Please click on the camera below to see what other people have submitted. It’s always worth it.

Also, if you have five minutes, please pop back tomorrow when I’ve got another Behind The Book post, this time featuring the wonderful writer and blogger, Lucy Mitchell. Just in case you missed the return of the series last week, following my summer break, here’s a link to my interview with Richard Balls.

Wishing you a lovely week.

Photalife

 

Five Tips For Helping Young Children Enjoy The Great Outdoors.

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As much as I like the lifestyle living in a flat gives us as a family, it was lovely being able to open the backdoor, while we were staying at my parents’ house last week, and let Freya play in garden – and so easy.

I’m grateful to have lots of green spaces around us and we generally spend a lot of time outside but, even when we go to our patch of shared grass downstairs, it’s something of an expedition. Mostly Freya loves nothing more than jumping in muddy puddles or hunting butterflies but sometimes the extra effort of always having to go somewhere means she does need a little bit of convincing.

While I’m more than happy to let her have quiet days at home when she needs them, I firmly believe that for children to care about the environment, they need to feel part of it – and she can’t do that if she’s sat inside all the time.

In a way, because we can’t just pop outside, I think it’s even more important to encourage her to have that connection with nature, which is obviously good for her both mentally and physically too. As a result, over the last couple of years we have come up with a few tricks for getting her excited about being in the great outdoors which I thought I’d share.

1. Bug/nature hunt.

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Just like her mum, Freya loves a list. Suggesting a bug hunt is the most successful one for us, especially now she’s learning to read and write. When she was younger, I had a go at drawing the bugs or different leaves but now, with her help, we make a list. I just fold two sheets of A4 paper in half and then tie them with string (or ribbon, if I’m feeling fancy). She loves to tick things off.

2. Explorer’s kit.

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Every explorer needs equipment, which in our case is things we already had but were just randomly scattered about the flat. Now they live in their own bag (an Elsa lunchbox, of course).

We have a magnifying glass, binoculars (which I found in a charity shop), a pond sampler (which we were given at an event), pens and paper (if we don’t have a bug hunt book) and mini Collins gem guides to birds and bugs. If we spot something and we don’t know what it is, we look it up. Like this little fellow.

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We think its a cinnamon bug. One to add to the list next time.

3. Art scavenger.

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Generally I’m a ‘take only pictures’ type person – I certainly never let her pick flowers -but if we go to one of our local parks, which were are very lucky to have nearby, we will occasionally collect some leaves and twigs to make into ‘art’. We’ve also made them at the park and left everything behind too. If you’re like me and lack any sort of imagination for this type of thing, Pinterest is your new best friend.

Sometimes we also take paints or colouring pens outside on nice days. Leaves make good paint brushes or shapes to print around.

4. Bike ride/race.

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One of the main reasons we like to get Freya outside is because she has SO much energy. In the flat I’m always having to say “don’t lump around” (our poor neighbours) whereas when we are outside she can run, jump and generally race about as much as she likes. As she’s got older, we’ve added the bike/scooter into things. Also, one of the things we’ve found is that, if she starts moaning about having to walk, if you offer her a race to a certain tree or bench she will soon perk up. So competitive! She doesn’t get that from me.

5. Picnic.

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We usually go out fairly early so we can end up eating our picnic anywhere from 10am. Even though I’m not a fan of fending off assorted bugs, if it makes Freya happy, I’ll give it a go (I do jump about quite a lot though). It’s nice for her to sit for a while too (although she’s quite often looking at things through her binoculars in between bites).

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These things work well at the moment but she’s only four.  I do wonder how much longer we’ll be able to encourage her using these methods.

Have you got any tips for inspiring reluctant children outside?