Tag Archives: fresh air

More pond dipping…can’t get enough of it

Today we went pond dipping again, this time as part of a larger group of home educators.  It was a 40 minute journey which I found quite stressful as I was tired after a sleepless night, but it was a very successful day and well worth the effort.  To call it pond dipping is an understatement, as it was not a pond but a large lake in a beautiful park which I would love to explore more of in the future – especially when I am not on my own with all four children!  I was a little on edge to start with as I arrived to find the buggy was not in fact in the back of the car, and after Tiddler’s interpretation of pond dipping last time being “dip yourself in the pond” I would have preferred not to have him on the loose all the time.  However, he was very sensible this time and did pretty much what he was told, so he had a good opportunity to catch a few “wiggly fings” (as he joyfully shouted at regular intervals!)

The other three enjoyed having a lot of independence as I couldn’t leave Tiddler for a second, and they all caught some interesting creatures.  At the very last minute, Owl caught a dragonfly nymph skin which is causing great excitement as he has been allowed to bring it home.  I’m not sure I can remember everything but among other things we found water boatmen, leeches, bloodworms, pond snails, water scorpions, newt tadpoles, water hog lice, water spiders, some tiny fish, and larvae of various insects (mosquito and mayfly among others.)  We also saw some damselflies and heard a very noisy marsh frog

We were able to examine our finds more closely back in the classroom, and we looked at a couple of tiny ones using a video microscope which was a wonderful experience.  The children were amazed to see so much detail on the screen and then to look at the creatures themselves which were just tiny dots you could barely see.  We looked at a ramshorn snail and a water flea, and could see their hearts beating.  Then we looked at the dragonfly nymph skin and could even see tiny creatures crawling over its eye.

After the session finished we had our lunch in the outdoor picnic area and the children played for a while, and then we headed back to the carpark, seeing some rabbits on the way.  It started to rain just as we were leaving, and the journey back took much longer than it should as I got lost, mainly because I was so tired.  I feel thoroughly exhausted now but also that good feeling of having learnt stuff, had lots of fresh air and a successful day out with the children.


Dragonfly nymph skin

50 things

This afternoon I took the children to meet some friends at a local National Trust property.  We collected our “50 things to do before you’re 11 3/4” scrapbooks, and set off into the park. After a picnic lunch, we walked along the river looking for somewhere to try and catch a fish.  We saw plenty of ducks and geese, but no fish.  Tiddler discovered what happens if you grab a nettle, but luckily he also found out that crushing dock leaves in the same hand makes it feel better (or at least it was a nice distraction!)

We managed a few activities on the list – all the children looked inside a tree with a big hole in it (and found lots of spiders’ webs), and balanced on a fallen tree.  Owl hunted for bugs, and found an ant and several woodlice.  We didn’t manage to get a bird to eat bird seed from our hands, and although the children had fun fishing, all they caught was mud and leaves.   When they had had enough of that, we took them to the play area where they enjoyed the zip wire and lots of things to climb on.

On our way out, we collected stickers for our scrapbooks and planted some seeds, before setting off home.  It was a lovely afternoon out, and I’m sure we’ll be back there soon.  We are also feeling inspired to do as many of the 50 things as possible, so we will be planning some more outdoor activities and making good use of our National Trust membership.

A good day

Today was busy but successful.  In the morning I took Tiddler to his Musicbox class while a lovely friend looked after 6 children in my house (3 of mine and her 3).  The music class is a relatively new thing for us, and I really enjoy doing something with and for my littlest one, as most of our activities revolve around the older ones.  I’ve wanted to do it for a very long time, but it seemed impossible.  I’m so glad I’ve finally made it happen (and very grateful to the kindness of my friend, and in other weeks my mother-in-law, in looking after the big three children.)

When I arrived back home, the two of us gathered up our collection of children, coats, packed lunches, etc and got ready to set off for the city farm.  A friend joined us with her two little ones, and when we got there we met up with several families from another local home ed group which has recently been set up (there are a lot of us about!)  It was fun to meet some new people and we were fortunate to be able to join in the farm tour which they had arranged.

The children enjoyed feeding the animals (sheep, goats, alpacas… I’m not sure if any of them were brave enough to feed the cows, they were a bit too slobbery…), looking at the tiny newborn piglets and their enormous mother and watching the ducks for a very long time…Tiddler in particular kept coming back to them.   They also had fun stroking a rabbit, visiting “chicken village” (love the name) and feeling a newly laid egg which was warm.

Next we headed into the classroom to eat our packed lunch.  The peace was spoiled by a classic Tiddler tantrum, when he spotted a chocolate bar and therefore refused to eat his sandwiches.  I would like to apologise to the other families (if they happen to be reading) for the terrible noise, but would also like to claim experienced parent brownie points because I WON and he ate his sandwich and apple in the end.  Of course he got the chocolate bar afterwards so he was happy!

The final activity at the farm was clay modelling which was a great hit with the older three children.  They were asked to make models of animals, and were absorbed in the task for a long time, before heading out into the fresh air and sunshine.  It was a lovely outing, and we returned home in time for the children to enjoy some downtime and a Friday afternoon free choice of activities.  Monkey continued to work on and perfect his clay model, and he and Owl did some drawing while Rabbit played with her favourite doll (Holly – who probably deserves a post of her own sometime) and Tiddler had a very long sleep.

I managed to fit in a session tutoring a lovely nearly 10 year old girl (while her mum looked after my children) and the day ended with some fun playing in the garden, enjoying the evening sunshine, until Rabbit demonstrated clearly that it was bedtime by biting her big brother’s arm.  Oh dear – but at least she was tired enough to settle down quickly, as was Tiddler despite the afternoon sleep.  The big boys stayed up a little later to enjoy 20 minutes computer time which they had earned earlier in the day, before going to bed quite cheerfully.  So all in all it’s been a good day!

Monkey’s Cat in a basket

Owl’s Ducks in a duck pond

Rabbit’s Very Big Pig and Very Small Piglet