June has arrived and this marks the start of #30DaysWild. If you haven’t heard of this before, #30DaysWild is an annual campaign run by The Wildlife Trusts, which encourages young and old to get outside each day in June and find some small way to reconnect with nature.
It’s a campaign which has been on my radar for the last couple of years, and while I’ve been keen that we join in, we haven’t managed to do it every day. This year, however, I’ve made a plan: I’ve written a list of ideas (which I’m sure we will add to as we get inspired by others) which we can choose from each day – most of them are fairly simple, although a few require a little more forward planning.
Scavenger hunts are a great way to enjoy the outdoors, and can be easily tailored to the age and interests of whoever is taking part.
1. Go on a colour hunt – find as many different colours as you can, or choose a colour and find different shades. This is a great one for little ones as it’s so simple for them to be involved! Older children can make a tally showing how many items they have found for each colour.
2. Have a treasure hunt. Define a space and try to spot particular items – pine cones, conkers, acorns, rocks, sticks, birds nests, some bark, a spider web – or whatever you else you might find in the space you have!
3. Have a texture hunt. Find something smooth, something rough, something spiky, something soft/fluffy, something sticky, something crispy, and something wet.
Ideas for the garden
If you’re lucky enough to have some outdoor space, then these ideas are for you – in fact, most of these can be done on a balcony!
4. Make a bug hotel. This can be as simple or as elaborate as you like – we made a really simple one a while ago using half an empty bottle stuffed with sticks and one or two other items. We currently have plans to make something a little less ‘budget hotel’ and a little more ‘nice B&B’! You can include items such as: bamboo canes (great for solitary bees), sticks, dead wood, pine cones, logs with holes drilled in them, broken pottery, and straw or hay.
5. Listen to birdsong. See if you can spot the birds as you hear them and begin to identify their calls. Or, just shut your eyes, lie back, and enjoy the sounds!
6. Watch out for nocturnal animals such as bats, foxes and owls. We often have bats swooping overhead if we go into our garden after dark!
7. Plant some wildflowers to attract butterflies and bees.
8. Go cloud spotting. Lie back and see what you can spot. You could even try to identify some of the types of cloud – check out the Met office website to help you identify them.
9. Do some bird spotting. See how many different types of bird you see if you just sit and watch. The RSPB have a great tool for helping to identify birds on their website.
10. Make or buy a hedgehog house. Now’s the perfect time, as it’ll be ready for them come Autumn.
11. Put out some bird food – use a bird feeder, or make some feeders for them using lard, and scraps of apple, cheese and raisins.
In a park or woodland
Being in a leafy woodland is one of my absolute favourite places. The cool of the shade, the sounds and the smells, the dappled sunlight – it’s hard to beat!
12. Look for minibeasts. See how many different bugs you can find! Looks under rocks and logs, but also keep an eye out for signs as life such as plants with holey leaves or webs. You could make a pictorial list to tick them off as you spot them, or keep count of how many you find. Take a magnifying glass with you to help you get a closer look!
13. Look for animal prints. Find an identification chart online, and get looking!
14. Make mud pies or potions using natural items such as petals, leaves and anything else you find! You could even create your own recipes.
15. Build a den.
16. Go deer spotting. Ok, maybe this one is a little niche. For most people, this is actually quite difficult. Lucky for us, we have lots right around the corner!
17. Cook outside – have a barbecue, make s’mores, or just make a cup of tea or hot chocolate over a fire!
18. Climb a tree.
19. Identify trees – find a chart to help you to recognise their leaves, and get looking.
Make some art
Nature is so beautiful, it’s perfect for inspiring a bit of creativity!
20. Look for leaves and take some leaf rubbings using a wax crayon. You can do the same with tree bark.
21. Find something you love in nature and make some observational drawings.
22. Create some transient art – find anything you can around you (leaves/petals/pebbles etc) and make some pictures or beautiful patterns using them.
23. Make a sun print – lay out some natural items on some sun print paper and leave them out in the sunshine!
24. Make a Hapa Zome print. This is the Japanese art of using a mallet to hammer plants in to cloth for natural pigment prints.
25. Do some painting – make prints using natural items, or make brushes using plants, grass or feathers.
26. Do some weaving – make a frame with some sticks and string, and weave in natural materials, or use fabric scraps.
27. Make some forest faces using clay as the face and natural objects to create the features.
On the beach
We don’t live near a beach, but if we ever move, I hope we move to the coast – the beach is probably the only rival to woodland as my favourite place! If you’re lucky enough to live near the sea, here are a few ideas just for you!
28. Make sandcastles!
29. Collect some shells and make some art.
30. Build a tower using stones.
31. Go rock pooling – look for crabs and anemones.
32. Go paddling.
33. Do a beach-themed treasure hunt – shells, sea glass and fossils.
34. Go foraging – now is the perfect time for elderflower, or you could even try making nettle tea!
35. Go wild swimming (or paddling) in a river or lake!
36. Go pond dipping – look for bubbles as a clue to where there is life!
37. Go litter picking.
38. Get out the blankets and do some stargazing.
39. Use a magnifying glass and some dry leaves to make a fire. Be sure to take proper safety precautions, and either do this on your own property or in a public space where fires are permitted.
40. Feed the ducks. Bread can cause malnutrition, so try giving them porridge oats or peas instead.
41. Make a rain gauge using a plastic bottle or a jar. Not that it ever rains during the British summer, of course.
I hope this gives you some inspiration. I am looking forward to enjoying some of the above with my family and seeing how other people spend their #30DaysWild!