I love getting outdoors with L, we are always playing and investigating the world together. I’m a big believer in getting grubby and just having fin but recently it has become apparent that maybe I need to be teaching him a bit more about nature.
There was a Ladybird incident.
For several days we’d been going outside and playing about and then he found a ladybird, we looked at it, we popped it safely on a leaf, to go to bed, and we went about our games.
The following day he found another ladybird, bought it to me, dropped it, stamped on it and loudly declared he wanted ladybird for tea. It made the neighbour laugh, she’d heard though the fence, but I was horrified.
I think it stemmed from us having ants in the house, so he’d seen us disposing of them, I don’t actually mind an ant, so long as it’s not in my sitting room.
So clearly we can’t squash any bugs in front of him and I need to show him what all these little creatures are and teach him what’s safe and what’s not.
We started with a lovely Maya the Bee soft toy, something he could play with, inside and outside. An easy comparison between real life and play. He loves his Bee. Running round and round and round buzzing and it’s really given us some talking points. Mainly around why he can’t touch bees in the garden, we’ve had a lot of sleepy ones lately and I don’t want him getting stung, but also about honey and pollen and how good they are for the garden. He’s been really interested and we’re actually visiting Quince Honey Farm when we go to Devon next week to show him more. It’s been great how simply getting him a cuddly toy can spark so many chats.
We’ve also been playing with a Creepy Crawler Catcher set from Brainstorm. L is obsessed with it. Using a miniature version of the oh so handy Spider Catcher (which is handy in it’s own right for removing unwanted house guests) they’ve added in a jar with air holes, a magnifying glass and a lovely little booklet to make the perfect set. Oh and there’s a little plastic ladybird and spider to practise with, making it perfect. L has loved getting outdoors and exploring the garden, hunting out all the bugs and grubs, catching them and then looking at them through the magnifying glass. He’s not so great with the jar, but he is a fair bit younger than it’s recommended for. He loves finding different spiders, worms are a big hit as are snails, which we don’t seem to have many of.
We’ve also been doing a lot of planting, a few bulbs, some seeds, raspberry canes. This is the perfect way to spend time outdoors as he loves to dig and get messy, the watering can is always a lot of fun and we are now starting to see some shoots so that’s exciting. We only ever buy our seeds and bulbs from the pound shop, because, quite frankly we’re never sure if they are going to make it. They often aren’t planted quite as deep as they should be, sometimes they are subjected to being dug up and replanted by an over enthusiastic child, they are either not watered enough or way, way too much. So keeping it cheap means it doesn’t matter if they work or not, we just get to have fun seeing planting them and waiting to see what does pull through. I’ve also bought a few things specifically to encourage bees and butterflies, so he was really excited about planting a new house for the bees.
It’s been nice to have slightly more structured and educational fun in the garden, it’s great to see how much he is now taking in and how much he is learning. It’s been so nice to get a bit more out of outdoors.
Disclosure – we were sent our Maya the Bee and Creepy Crawler Catcher’s to help with this article, all opinions are my own