Tuesday 22nd December 2020
Grab your wellies, wrap up warm and get ready for more winter adventures with Go Wild Go West!
We can positively embrace everything winter has to offer which can make a big difference to our general happiness levels. There is so much to look forward to in winter! The frosty mornings with deep red skies, rosy cheeks after a walk in the rain, a thermos of hot chocolate enjoyed out on an adventure, returning home to snuggle by the fire. I don’t know about you, but I find that a walk in winter’s wild weather is the best way to blow away the cobwebs and to let the kids unleash some energy before everyone starts climbing the walls.
Did you miss the first adventures post? Click here to read it!
5. BECOME A WILDLIFE DETECTIVE
Mini-beasts, mighty mammals, beautiful trees & fantastic fungi – they’re all around us at this time of year. Allow yourself to get up close and personal and learn a little more about our native winter wildlife.
– Mini-Beasts: Head into the garden or your nearest green space and look closely under stones and in fallen leaves – what can you find? You’re likely to see woodlice (or chuggy-pigs as they’re known in Somerset), slugs, snails, worms, and spiders. Can you look closely and see what they’re doing? How do mini-beasts prepare for winter? If you see something new that you’re unsure about, really focus on it and maybe take a picture so you can look it up on google later and learn something new! Next time you see it, you’ll recognise it.
Did you know… there are 650 types of spider native to the UK and not one of them is deadly, or even dangerous, to humans. They are great fly-catchers though!
– Mighty Mammals: If you see a patch of mud, have a look for animal prints to see who’s been there already. Maybe a hedgehog, a squirrel, a badger, a fox, or even a deer? These animals all live in the countryside and the city and leave clues to show us where they live.
Did you know… Badgers are omnivores so eat both plants and animals. They can eat up 200 worms in one night!
– Trees: Can you see anything living in tree bark? Trees have their own eco-systems and make a lovely winter home for the mini-beasts. Maybe the trees have fungi living on them? Taking bark rubbings is a great way of realising how much tree species differ.
Did you know… bark is like the tree’s skin. It keeps moisture in and infection out so helps keep the tree healthy. Many trees have chemicals within their bark that ward off fungi and insects that might be damaging to the tree.
– Fungi: When the rest of the plant world is lying dormant, it’s often much easier to spot the amazing world the fungi inhabit. The most extraordinary organisms with such an array of colours, sizes and textures – from microscopic to gigantic, shocking reds to turgid browns, from slimy to flakey, delicious to deadly poisonous – it’s best to have a good understanding of the fungi world before getting too close…..
Equipment needed: guide book if you’re keen on identifying and ticking things off, a paw-print ID book, magnifying glass, pokey stick, possibly a nose peg?!
6. ENJOY WET WEATHER
Winter has its fair share of dramatic weather but don’t let this put you off! The rain creates opportunities to have some great fun outdoors. That really irritating saying when you get caught out unprepared – “there’s no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing”. So throw on some warm layers and waterproofs and head out into the rain.
Equipment needed: Top to toe waterproofs, warm layering, woolly hat and mitts, a good pair of wellies or thermal wellie socks, a snood (it’s definitely on my list of essentials anyway!)
7. SNAIL RACING
This is a great rainy day activity; quick, easy, close to home, and snails LOVE rain. Under the right conditions, this is a high-octane/fiercely competitive activity! 🙂
Nothing could be easier, start off by searching the undergrowth for your competitors. Snails come in all different shapes and sizes so it’s easy to identify who is who. We like to name our racers to add an extra personal touch.
Use sticks to mark a start and finish line and get ready to race! The snails don’t always co-operate so occasionally need some encouragement or a re-shift in the right direction…. It’s all part of the fun. For us, this simple game on a rainy day is great fun and surprisingly competitive. We now have a cumulative snail race leader board but I drew the line at allowing the competitors to come and live in the house.
Equipment needed: Snails
8. BUILD A DAM
Building dams is a feat of engineering and often a pretty muddy business, but so, so satisfying and there is absolutely no age limit for this activity. It is impossible to stand back and watch the children – you just have to get involved!
A small stream is an ideal spot to head for, but if there isn’t a good one nearby, you can also beetle out after a downpour and set about redirecting rain water. Building pools and waterfalls, chicanes and fast-running shoots are all par for the course and then having races with leaves or sticks or anything else lying around adds a competitive element.
Don’t forget to dismantle your dam before you go home and leave the river flowing as you found it!
Equipment needed: A water source, a pair of wellies
To find out more details on each outdoor activity listed here and far more mini-adventures, head to the GoWildGoWest website https://gowildgowest.co.uk
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