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Hands on Learning for Valentines Day

Hands on Learning for Valentines Day


Hands on Learning for Valentines Day


We've been having the most delightful winter mornings here in Birmingham. Harsh frosts with blue, sunny skies. I have been out for some of the most wonderful walks right after the school run and it has really cleared my mind after all the Christmas chaos and the sickness bugs that hit the household over that time. A new year is here and one of the first events we can really look forward to sharing with the children after Christmas is Valentines Day. 
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Big Garden Bird Watch 2020

Big Garden Bird Watch 2020


Big Garden Bird Watch 2020


Our first post of 2020!! We are getting back into the swing of things after the Christmas fun and chaos. One thing I really look forward to once the children are back at school after the Christmas break is starting to prepare for the Big Garden Bird Watch. If you follow me over on Instagram - you will know that we take great pride in doing our bit to help the local wildlife. 

We have enjoyed making feeders for the birds - 


Big Garden Bird Watch 2020


Oh and do check out this fabulous hands on learning Tuff Tray all about Birds too. The children had so much fun with this one.

What is the Big Garden Bird Watch?
It's an event that takes place annually between the 25th and the 27th January, where half a million people come together to help the birds. During that weekend you are asked to spend 1 hour counting the birds you see of each species. You can do this in the comfort of your own home, looking out the window or take to the great outdoors and find a spot and do it there. 

Why does this event take place?
During your bird watch you will collect information on the birds that you see. You can then transfer this information over on the RSPB website. This data helps build a picture of how garden birds are faring across the UK. This information is vital for conservation efforts. This is a completely free event that anyone in the UK can take part in. 

Where do we submit our findings?
It's really simple to gather the data and it provides a great opportunity for the children to come back and submit their information themselves on the website too! You submit your data to the RSPB here. Within your Bird Watch pack you will also have the change to send your findings back via post if you wish to. 

Before logging off play the fun quiz, answering questions about yourself to find out which Garden Bird you are



Big Garden Bird Watch 2020



By taking part in the Big Garden Bird Watch you become a Citizen Scientist! 

What is a Citizen Scientist?
It's when an individual comes together with lots of other members of the public to gather large volumes of data for research. How cool is that?

To make this event even more fun the RSPB will send you a free guide pack with a picture chart which makes it really easy and visual for the children to take part with little support. You can register online here for your guide pack.

Guidance of how to record your findings:

  1. Only count the birds that actually land in your chosen spot. Whether that's looking out of your garden or sitting in an open space and observing outside. 
  2. Don’t count any birds that are flying over.
  3. Only count the largest number of a species of bird that land at any one time. For example if you see a group of 6 starlings together then towards the end of the hour you see a group pf 4 starlings - write 6 as your final count. This will avoid counting the same birds over and over again. 
  4. Where female and male birds aren't shown as an option to record separately it's because they look similar so you count them together. They only show male and female for that species in the chart if they look different.


You are also invited to share information about other wildlife you see. RSPB are asking you to share over the last year and roughly how often you have had sightings of - badgers, foxes, frogs, grass snakes, muntjacs, great crested newts, grey squirrels, hedgehogs, moles, red squirrels, roe deer, slow worm, stag beetles, stoats and toads you have personally seen. 
I work with a large group children. Could I look at doing this event with them?
In addition to this event - on the 21st February RSPB also run a Big Schools Birdwatch.
Each year educators up and down the UK take part. They turn their classes into conservation scientists and they do their bit to track the birds they see within the grounds of their setting. 
You can register your interest in this event from as early as 24th September and until 2nd February 202. By registering your interest you can request that a school information pack is sent to you to aid you with your research. You can register for The Big Schools Birdwatch here.

From the menu you can select whether you teach early years, infants, juniors or seniors which means the packs will be tailored for the age of the children taking part. You can submit the results of your watch anytime between 6th January - 21st February. 

The great thing about taking part in this is that the RSPB will share the results of you survey so you can see how your class has contributed to the research.



Big Garden Bird Watch 2020 RSPB


While I am on the subject of RSPB I would love to share with you that we have been supporting this charity now for over 15 years! We have a membership with them and paying just £5 a month we help support the wildlife in our local areas and afar. 

We get sent magazines each quarter that are jam packed full of information about wildlife which my children love looking through! They are timeless too, so once they have been read we keep them and often return to them at later dates. 

Being a member also gives us unlimited entry to 170 nature reserves! The learning opportunities at the Nature Reserves are fantastic. So much to observe and learn! I love how they really consider the children and offer plenty of natural play opportunities from mud kitchens, wooden sculptures, story trails, bug hotels, musical instruments, climbing trails plus so much more. 

They run some fantastic events so be sure to check them out too! 


Big Garden Bird Watch 2020 RSPB


Something else we love doing is collecting the Nature pin badges. They're only £1 which makes a lovely treat at the end of an hour or more exploring and your money goes on to support a worthy cause. We have 43 of these now!

So what are you waiting for? Sign up for your Big Garden Bird Watch packs now to take part and become Citizen Scientists.
You can share your photos with us too if you wish. We love seeing what you get up too. You can get in touch with us across all social media platforms. The links for these are below. 

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See all our activities in action via our channel. We throw in a little family life too so you may just find out a little more about the family behind Learning an Exploring Through Play.

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Other posts to check out on Learning and Exploring Through Play:


I love you to pieces Suncatcher Card    Melted Snowman Family    Rainbow Streamer Craft



Recycled Valentines Crafts for Preschoolers    Recycled Valentines Crafts for Preschoolers    Sensory Winter Play for Preschoolers



Mark Making with Kinetic Sand    Plastic Easter Egg Art Ideas    Space Themed Sensory Play Small World

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Hand Print Christmas Tree Cards

Hand Print Christmas Tree Cards


Hand Print Christmas Tree Cards - Keepsakes

Now the festive season is upon us you have no doubt started thinking about different festive crafts and activities you can enjoy with the children.

I am not ashamed to admit that my tree has already been up for a few weeks now. There are only so many years where the children are young and we love Christmas so much here that I love to be prepared ready to enjoy the lead up to Christmas with the children.

James was off work so I though why not? I enjoyed the spring clean while the children were at school. Got everything prepared so they could dress the tree on their return. It was really successful and enjoyable for all of us. 

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Gift Collaborative Art

Gift Collaborative Art


Gift Collaborative Art Ideas for Preschoolers an Early Years


With lots of festive talk and preparations at home and school over the last couple of weeks - I wanted to set up something fun for the children on their return home from a busy day at school. Something that would be calming but creative. Collaborative and fun. I work hard to build positive relationships between the children. I find activities where they can either create or play alongside each other are a positive way to do this. I see them helping each other, sharing, praising each other on their efforts - it's magic for me as their Mum to watch them like this. 
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Carve Free Neon Painted Pumpkins

Carve Free Neon Painted Pumpkins




We've had a lovely day today. Autumn sunshine was a perfect invitation to head outdoors. We went out to the country park. The River Severn has bursts it's banks pretty badly so it was a real eye opener seeing that today. After 4 hours out and about in the autumnal sunshine we came back home. The pumpkins were all sitting on the shelf - waiting to be carved. I set this activity up for my daughter. Well I say set up - there is very little set up needed for these painted pumpkins. They're a great carve free alternative! They look incredible and it really is mesmerising watching the paint marble together. 

I shared this over on Instagram this evening and had such an amazing reaction!

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