World Wildlife Day is about raising awareness of the ways we can protect our natural world.
Almost a quarter of all species on Earth are at risk of becoming extinct in the next 50 years which means we are in danger too. People of all ages need to work together to protect nature and ourselves. You can join in with the event through the official UN World Wildlife Day website.
In our blog today we share some nature activities to fire children’s enthusiasm and their desire to protect our world.
You can make a hedgehog café any time of the year, but if you don’t get any visitors in the spring try again in the autumn when hedgehogs are looking for food to get them through their winter hibernation.
You will need:
- A wooden or plastic storage box with a lid. The box must be big enough for a hedgehog (roughly 18cm high and 36cm long).
- Duct tape
- 2 x shallow dishes for food and water
- 1 or 2 bricks
- Hedgehog food. You can often buy hedgehog food from pet shops. If you can’t find it, crushed cat biscuits or wet cat and dog food that doesn’t contain fish or beef is fine. Never feed hedgehogs bread or milk as they cannot digest it.
- Using the saw (with adult supervision) make a hole in the box so a hedgehog can get in. This hole needs to be cut at the base of one of the sides of the box and it should be 14cm square. Do not make the whole too big or a cat could get in.
- Cover the edges of the hole with duct tape in case there are any jagged bits of plastic or splinters of wood that could hurt a hedgehog.
- Take the lid off the box and line the inside with newspaper and dried leaves. Hedgehogs particularly like birch, hazel and oak.
- At sunset put dishes of food and water inside the box. Replace the lid and put bricks on top to stop predators getting in.
- Make sure your café is in a sheltered spot in your garden.
- Replace hedgehog food and water daily so it doesn’t go off.
Make a mini pond
Making a mini pond is easy. All you need is a washing up bowl or a bucket and some gravel and stones. Place rocks and stones in the bottom of the bowl/bucket and wait for the rain to fill it up with water. Once the pond has filled you could add some water-loving plants bought from a garden centre.
In the spring all kinds of wildlife will be attracted to your pond. Your child might spot dragonflies, pond skaters and water boatmen, for example. If they are lucky, they might even get tadpoles and newts.
Your child could identify life in their pond, and other ponds where you live, by referring to Usborne’s brilliant book: Pond Life to Spot.
Building a minibeast hotel is a great way to attract all sorts of insects to your garden. Your child could use a magnifying glass to observe the insects in the hotel and they could find out more about them in books or on the internet. We recommend the National Trust’s Minibeast Explorer book.
Follow Scotland Rural College’s instructions: How to make a bug hotel. You will need a wooden box, flowerpots, logs, bark, pinecones, leaves, straw, bamboo sticks and moss and corrugated cardboard. Supplies can be bought from garden centres or collected when you are out and about on country walks.
Take your child for a walk in the park or the woods encouraging them to collect ‘treasures’. See the Woodland Trust’s Spring scavenger hunt for a list of things they might find. These treasures can be turned into an outdoor collage if they like. Type ‘outdoor nature collage’ into Google Images for ideas.
Before going out, your child could make a special box, bag or basket to collect their treasures in. We love How to make a basket from plastic bags because it’s great fun and encourages recycling. You don’t have to use plastic bags for this project – any plastic wrapping will do.
For more nature-related ideas see our blog posts, Homeschooling project: World Oceans Day and Getting Involved in the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch 2021.
The School Run website also shares some fantastic nature activities for children.
Has your child enjoyed World Wildlife Day?
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