Schools out for summer in Cambridgeshire – Six FREE nature activities for children
As schools break for summer the RSPB invites families to enjoy their free summer Wild Challenge activities to help children connect to Cambridgeshire's nature and have fun.
By completing the RSPB’s Wild Challenges children can achieve Bronze, Silver and Gold awards, and help give nature a home along the way, whilst having fun outdoors.
Rosalind Allen, RSPB education and families development officer, said: “As schools in Cambridgeshire break up for the summer, many parents are worrying about the increased cost of living and how they will be able to afford to have fun and quality family time over the long break. Fortunately, the RSPB’s free Wild Challenge scheme includes 30 nature-based activities, inspiring families to get closer to nature, discover ways to help it, and earn awards at the same time.”
Summer is the perfect time of year for families to have fun getting to know the nature on their Cambridgeshire doorsteps. Gardens, window-boxes, parks, and even washing-up bowl ponds, are teeming with wildlife. They are alive with hundreds of weird and wonderful creepy crawlies, bugs and beasties, secretive moths, showy butterflies, and underwater critters – so it’s time to start exploring, here: rspb.org.uk/wildchallenge
Rosalind describes: “The free RSPB Wild Challenges are really flexible, and you can do many of the low or no cost activities in your local area or your garden, so no need to cover the cost of travel. By completing three Wild Challenge activities to ‘Experience Nature’ and three to ‘Help Nature’ you can progress through a Wild Challenge Award level. Whether you achieve bronze, silver or gold, the most important thing is to have fun together as a family discovering and helping the incredible nature living around you.”
Here are our top six free summer Wild Challenges to help you achieve your awards, discover more for all year round on our website.
Pack a towel: Rockpools are home to fascinating and bizarre creatures and getting up close to them is a real treat. As the tide goes out, it leaves behind a world of amazing sea life. You may spot sea anemones, fast-moving shrimps, or feel the prickly texture of barnacles or the slimy squelch of seaweed under your feet and hands. Find out how to complete this Wild Challenge here.
If you build it…
Now you’ve discovered these amazing bugs and beasties in your own patch – help them out by making them a special home. Create a hotel full of different natural materials, to provide hidey-holes for creatures galore. The size and construction of your bug hotel is only limited by the materials you have available and your imagination. Just make sure to include some nice rotting bark for your tenants to munch on. For full guidance visit here
Pond dipping is great fun and reveals all sorts of interesting creatures that live in even the smallest of ponds. What’s lurking in the depths of a pond near you? Maybe a mysterious alien-like dragonfly nymph, or a great diving beetle. Set off on an expedition to your garden pond, totter to a local park or visit an RSPB reserve (reserve entrance fees may apply) and take part in an organised pond dip. For full guidance on how to complete our Pond Dipping Wild Challenge, click here
Can you spot a wolf (spider), dragon (fly) or tiger (moth) in your green patch? You can find invertebrates everywhere – under logs and rocks, beneath pots, on leaves, in the grass and on walls. Just remember to them you’re a GIANT, so be very gentle to avoid hurting these tiny creatures. Take part in this Wild Challenge here
Make a Splash for Nature
Every wild garden benefits from having a pond. Birds bathe in it, dragonflies lay their eggs there, and the lifecycles of amphibians (frogs, newts and toads) also rely on watery habitats. Ponds are a fantastic addition to any garden and a great way to give nature a home. It doesn't matter whether you've got a small balcony or a tiny backyard, you can bring a little bit of water into the lives of the wildlife around you using a washing up bowl. Follow our guide here.
Inspire Friends and Family
Nature really needs you and we need your help to inspire others with how amazing nature is and what they can do to give it a home. So after spending the summer holidays getting to know your local nature, get creative and spread the word! You could put on a show, make a display, even get in the news! Why not make your friends and family 'I'm on nature's side' badges to wear? Or when you return to school, how about telling your classmates at 'show and tell' all about your Wild Challenges, or using a school project to show your love of nature and why it needs help? Click here to find out more.
Many RSPB nature reserves will also be running family events this summer, prices vary. To find your nearest, visit: bit.ly/NearestRSPBReserve