RSPB BIG GARDEN BIRDWATCH

  
This week we were asked if we would like to take part in the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch & help nature find a home in our garden…

We love all things nature and couldn’t wait to get involved so we signed up.  

  We received a pack from the RSPB with all we needed to know about getting involved which was full of fun information on how we could simply turn our garden into a haven for birds. (In addition we also received some ingredients to help us create our haven-these can be purchased via the RSPB website)

We decided we were going to make a birdcafe and fill it with some fatballs following the easy  instructions to temp the birds.   

The kids soon got to work researching how to make them with a fab Guide.. 

 They were really easy to make… 

 Everybody got involved… 
 we popped out fatballs in the fridge to set.. 

 …and we cracked on with making our bird cafe sign to let the birds know we were open! We used cardboard and some permanent marker pens for our sign. 
 we filled a bird feeder with feeder mix to hang in our cafe… 

 and made some binoculars with toilet tubes to help us with spotting our feathered friends.. 

 we also made our own handy bird spotting guide. 

 After a bit more research on the  RSPB website we hung our bird feeder up in a quite spot in the garden amongst some bushes where the birds were most likely to visit.. 

   and we attached our cafe sign so birds knew it was open! 
 Then we just had to wait and watch…Our binoculars came in handy. 

 It wasn’t long before our customers started arriving…

Our first customer was a Robin!… 

 shortly followed by lots more.. 

 We used our handy spotter guides to identify them and logged them with our stickers..

 We also hung our fatballs up and waited and waited…

We had some birds visit that hung about in the bushes for a while.. 

 and some perched on some logs.. 

 None of our feathered customers seemed to want our fatballs….and then, finally, we had a fab customer!!! 

 
We had so much fun getting involved in The Big Garden Birdwatch and are looking forward to lots more birdy customers booking into our cafe during the Big Birdwatch weekend! 

More than half a million people from across the UK are set to take part by counting the birds in their gardens over the weekend of 30-31 January, 2016. They’ll also make a record of the other wildlife they see throughout the year, providing a vital snapshot of UK nature…

You too can play your part in giving nature a home this spring, why not get involved and Feed the birds!.

Find more RSPB Family activities here.

How to make birdcakes here.

Order a pack here.

You can also follow more of our family fun both indoors & out on our Facebook page.

DUNE SURFING AT MERTHYR MAWR WARREN

 Merthyr Mawr Dunes provided the setting for parts of Lawrence of Arabia, they are one of the largest groups of sand dunes in Europe and their remarkableness will not disappoint you, they are fab for dune surfing!  

Take a picnic and make a day of walking around the dunes and exploring the ruins of Candleston Castle and taking a small hike over the dunes to Ogmore beach (approx 20 minute walk) 

The dunes are full of small wildlife and beautiful foliage and flowers…snails and butterflies are in abundance.

Location- Merthyr Mawr, Bridgend CF32 0PA car parking was £3 for the day.

It’s a lovely walk….

Here’s how our walk looked…  
    
    
    
    
    
    
   

FOREST ART

We decided to head to the winter woods to turn it into bloom…

We took an old sheet..

We laid the sheet on the floor and covered the edges with fallen leaves & twigs beneath a ring of huge towering redwoods…

The floor was aplenty with pine cones…

So we decided our blooms wood be Pinecone flowers..



A forest of them standing tall…

We stood back and admired our work…

And then I got a little higher as Noah played in the Pinecone garden in the presence of a beautiful blue sky whilst the rain fell above 😉 

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MAGOR MARSH WILDLIFE ADVENTURE

IMG_5651.JPGToday we went on a wildlife adventure at Magor Marsh to blow away some cobwebs, do a bit of bird spotting & make use of the winter wildlife crafts which were on offer. Magor Marsh is run by the Wildlife trust and a great place to visit to explore the marshlands, woodlands & spot lots of wildlife in their natural habitats.
The marsh is free to walk around but has event in which the children are invited to, for a small incredibly reasonable fee, to take part in activities and experience a hands on taste of wildlife.
Today was an open day with a charge of £1.50 per child which included several different craft activities, nature trails, pond dipping, toasting marshmallows around the forest campfire and a meet and greet with a hedgehog!
Here’s how we got on…

IMG_5659.JPGwe started with our activity sheets..
and our first stop was to build our own birds nest..

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IMG_5657.JPGwe spotted swans

IMG_5655.JPGwe walked across logs

IMG_5656.JPGwe adventured over boardwalks through the marshes in search of the bird hide..

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IMG_5654.JPGwe found fungi in the woodlands

IMG_5648.JPGwe toasted marshmallows around the campfire in the forest

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IMG_5635.JPGwe explored the marshes

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IMG_5634.JPGNoah defeated log piles..

IMG_5647.JPGand we headed back to the activity centre..

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IMG_5645.JPGat the activity centre we did some nature crafts…
We made bird feeders..

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IMG_5640.JPGwe explored the nature table..

IMG_5642.JPGwe liked the swan egg!!

IMG_5643.JPGwe even met a hedgehog..

IMG_5641.JPGour favourite part was making a really beautiful but simple wicker heart..

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IMG_5636.JPGwe had a great afternoon at Magor Marsh and although we visit regularly to explore the outdoors it was the first time we have attended an event…£1.50 was a bargain and we’ll definitely be going again.

RSPB BIG WILD SLEEPOUT

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This week Family Days were contacted by the RSPB…which is fantastic to of been thought of.
We were asked if we would do a ‘Big Wild Sleepout’ specifically for the RSPB & post how we got on. We accepted this with pleasure….Eeeeeek.

We were not given any specific guidelines or needs, the only ask was that we have a ‘Big Wild Sleepout’…. So, how we did this, was entirely up to us.

Apart from checking what I was getting myself into I didn’t do much homework for the job, but it was decided that it should signify a lovely time that is achievable, affordable & reasonably effortless & something that would show what we have under our noses when we think about it a little…
I could of chosen the location as the mountains, a field or wood, or just generally somewhere beautiful but I wanted to show what can be done in your own back garden and more so to the point in a small back garden with limited shrubbery & astro turf…wildlife is everywhere, & here at FD we are no strangers to making use of our surroundings whatever they may be we always find nature.
I didn’t weigh too heavily on my plans of what we were going to do and wanted to keep it simple but very effective both in memories, a little educating & the adventure….. our ultimate goal was family fun.

Initially I decided to throw up the pop up tent but after putting more thought into it I also wanted to show that you actually don’t need a tent….. We used the kitchen table to show versatility and fun in den building but also at the same time used it as a tool to open discussion with the kids about animal homes, our kitchen table then became a ‘snug as a bug lair’…..(the table, a curtain thrown over, an air bed underneath, cushions & blankies)….we did throw a pop up tent next to it as rain was forecast for the early hours of the morning….our kitchen table tent was by no means waterproof.

We used a sheet blacked out with paint just leaving a moon which we hung on the washing line to become a ‘moth attractor’, it also doubled up to play a game of shadow charades and dancing in the moonlight… I painted this myself purely to save on time because our sleepover was on a school day……A simple sheet hanging & backlit by a window was so much fun, versatile and mega effective once it got dark but also great in the sunshine!
We made a Moth restaurant using a water filled milk carton and a torch, we watered down treacle for the moths to sup on but you can make a really delicious treat for them with a moth food recipe and make your restaurant a’la carte (Details on the RSPB website)…we also hung jars in the trees with battery operated tea lights inside to attract the moths, you could spend more time decorating these.
We made some simple bird feeders by hanging pretty porcelain cups from the charity shop with string in trees and filling with bird seed or water, we went on a twilight & nocturnal bug hunt, read stories & chilled. The smallest members of the family were fooled into thinking an owl was in the garden whilst mr FD stood outside the tent throwing his voice with owl hooting hands.

For food we cooked pop corn inbetween two sieves over the fire using kernels and had the obligatory cheese and pineapple hedgehog….. along with a takeaway curry 🙂

It was a good evening, everyone went to sleep and the rain came around 3 in the morning, this didn’t really bother them much as they were all still sleeping like babies but the kitchen table tent was not designed as a boat and feet were sticking out of the end too so I woke them up and moved them to the living room inside.

After a couple of hours kip I relocated the pop up tent into the living room in time for them to crawl back into when they awoke to eat breakfast.

As part of our ‘Big Wild Sleepout’ we’d intended to go for a walk as the sun came up to watch everything around us waking up & enjoy the dawn chorus. As there was no sun to keep us company we plan to do this when the sun returns.

We would like to thank the RSPB for contacting us & we hope they enjoy our FD Big Wild Sleepout as much as we did….

We would very much appreciate to hear any thoughts, comments or views you have regarding our camp out, and I’m sure if the RSPB are sat on the sidelines they would like to see what you guys think too.

That’s our exciting news, & is certainly a step in the right direction for us and makes us feel proud that we’ve had the opportunity to inspire more people with our grasping what’s around you & making simplicity magical ethos.

Sleep outs rock, raining, cricks in the neck, slugs and all…

Anyway…here’s how we got on…20140607-201101.jpg20140607-201114.jpg20140607-201124.jpg20140607-201134.jpg20140607-201146.jpg20140607-201201.jpg20140607-201215.jpg20140607-201224.jpg20140607-201237.jpg20140607-201244.jpg20140607-201252.jpg20140607-201318.jpg20140607-201332.jpg20140607-201343.jpg20140607-201353.jpg20140607-201415.jpg20140607-201425.jpg
After our bug hunt we made our tea cup bird feeders..20140607-201558.jpgAnd then gave the popcorn a go..20140607-201630.jpg20140607-201637.jpg20140607-201651.jpg20140607-201657.jpg
Mila read wildlife stories to the dinosaurs..20140607-201805.jpg
20140607-201855.jpgThen we had tea in our snug as a bug lair..20140607-201943.jpg
We put out our moth attractors20140607-202025.jpg20140607-202107.jpg20140607-202114.jpgInvestigated a rustling in the bushes..20140607-202223.jpg
Once it started to get dark we played shadow charades..20140607-202421.jpg

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After playing charades it was time to with hot chocolate..

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Before climbing into our outside lairs to settle down..

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We had loads of fun and can’t wait to do it again!

The RSPB Big Wild Sleepout takes place from the 16-22 June & anyone can get involved. #BigWildSleepout
Find more info at http://www.rspb.org.uk/thingstodo/sleepout/

100+ HALF TERM BOREDOM BUSTING IDEAS

Digging in the archives I’ve selected over 100 different boredom busting ideas for the kids to try out during the school holidays… Indoors & out, sunshine or rain, here’s my choice to keep the kids entertained…
1.Make your own fairy doors..

20140524-142847-52127071.jpg2..Make a box dolls house using samples collected from B&Q… Be your own interior designer!

20140524-142953-52193922.jpg3..Make your own pine cone hedgehog pets.

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4..Have an indoor campout..if you haven’t got a pop up tent then build an under table den..

20140524-143223-52343988.jpg5..Make donuts for the fairies using Cheerios & icing.

20140524-143314-52394977.jpg6..Take a train ride.

20140524-143411-52451380.jpg7..Set up a marble hunt in the woods.

20140524-143455-52495007.jpg8.Make your own Tree folk.

20140524-143534-52534111.jpg9..Have a cake decorating competition, buy value cakes for approx 60p each and decorate with icing and sweets. The winner of ours got a half an hour extra bedtime pass.

20140524-143737-52657543.jpg10..Make a milk carton bird house/feeder.

20140524-143822-52702010.jpg11..Tin can lanterns. Fill an empty tin with water and freeze, once frozen carefully use a hammer and nails to make your own patterns, once finished run under warm water to release the ice and pop in a tea light. ( best suited to older children, take care of sharp edges)

20140524-144052-52852302.jpg12..make a chocolate brownie, creme fraiche and fruit pizza.

20140524-144204-52924970.jpg13.Watch trains passing.

20140524-144233-52953812.jpg14..dig for hidden money at the beach (draw a square and bury coins to be found)

20140524-144336-53016676.jpg15..play elastics.

20140524-144411-53051660.jpg16..make a Reading hammock with a long piece of fabric.

20140524-144459-53099185.jpg17..Take a boat ride.

20140524-144533-53133981.jpg18..watch planes from the end of a runway..

20140524-144703-53223056.jpg19..Design your own clothes and use your phone camera to help you try them on.

20140524-144751-53271080.jpg20..Make a fabric or rope swing.

20140524-144820-53300801.jpg21..Become an outdoor artist.

20140524-144851-53331811.jpg22..Go stream fishing with nets and jars.

20140524-144932-53372672.jpg23..Build boats with wood offcuts from a saw mill and a bag of nails.

20140524-145020-53420619.jpg24..play in puddles.

20140524-145049-53449167.jpg25..Have a wheel barrow race.

20140524-145117-53477351.jpg26..Make some toilet tube tunnels.

20140524-145150-53510777.jpg27..make a jar fairy house lantern

20140524-145224-53544384.jpg28..make a matchbox art box

20140524-145316-53596448.jpg29..make matchstick aeroplanes.

20140524-145354-53634054.jpg30..have a mini marshmallow tealight toasting session.

20140524-145455-53695959.jpg31..Have a look at some art and try recreating it.

20140524-145534-53734880.jpg32..Experiment with eggs.

20140524-145606-53766062.jpg33..make an outdoor Lego Playstation.

20140524-145640-53800436.jpg34..Make an outdoor art Playstation.

20140524-145712-53832026.jpg35..have a mud tea party.

20140524-145758-53878648.jpg36..make an Elmer elephant from a milk carton.

20140524-145844-53924841.jpg37..make a woodland tripwire course.

20140524-145919-53959344.jpg38..get the kids to wash up.

20140524-145951-53991777.jpg39..make some giant Mikado using breadsticks and melted chocolate.

20140524-150033-54033834.jpg40..make an outdoor Reading area using a bed canopy or sheet.

20140524-150139-54099484.jpg41..put on a puppet show with your own lollipop stick puppets.

20140524-150217-54137482.jpg42..sail some cork boats

20140524-150250-54170660.jpg43..make an outdoor treasure table to put things you collect whilst out.

20140524-150335-54215372.jpg44..make a milk carton watering can.

20140524-150410-54250971.jpg45..bury your own time capsule.

20140524-150443-54283555.jpg46..have a kite retrieval challenge, make some simple kites with paper and string and throw them into the trees for the kids to climb and retrieve.

20140524-150559-54359122.jpg47..make a ribbon wind sock using a plastic milk carton.

20140524-150656-54416958.jpg48..make your own junk band.

20140524-150728-54448207.jpg49..create your own Man V food tea.

20140524-150811-54491237.jpg50..decorate some paper lanterns (3pack at Poundland)

20140524-150907-54547276.jpg51..make a sheet den by hanging a broom or stick in a tree using strong and hanging a sheet over it.

20140524-151012-54612250.jpg52..make you own picnic pots using jars.

20140524-151102-54662194.jpg53..try your own flower petal art.

20140524-151135-54695073.jpg54..make some fabric fairy wings.

20140524-151233-54753584.jpg55..make a mountain out if a molehill.

20140524-151315-54795639.jpg56..discover old treasure (you can buy old coins on eBay to drop to be discovered!)

20140524-151418-54858691.jpg57..make fun shaped pizzas.

20140524-151552-54952293.jpg58..do a penny search in the grass.

20140524-151636-54996741.jpg59..make some salt art bottle using salt and chalk.

20140524-152205-55325414.jpg60..make carrier bag kites

IMG_3861.JPG61..Make breadstick sparklers

IMG_3831.JPG62..Hunt for autumn colours

IMG_3832.JPG63..make a conker abacus

IMG_3833.JPG64..carve stick toadstools

IMG_3834.JPG65..go rainy day lilo surfing

IMG_3835.JPG66..make an autumn crown

IMG_3837.JPG67..make paper doiley ballerinas

IMG_3836.JPG68..make limpet shell mushrooms

IMG_3838.JPG69..make spooky eyes from toilet roll tubes

IMG_3839.JPG70..make an autumn lantern

IMG_3840.JPG71..build an under table bear lair

IMG_3841.JPG72..make some stick stump robins

IMG_3842.JPG73..Have a picnic supper before bed

IMG_3843.JPG74..go on an alphabet hunt

IMG_3844.JPG75..make your own beach art with a rake

IMG_3845.JPG76..make an under table house den with a sheet

IMG_3846.JPG77..Have fun with an empty picture frame

IMG_3847.JPG78..go waterbutt rolling

IMG_3848.JPG79..have an upside down back to front dinner

IMG_3849.JPG80..have teddy bear porridge

IMG_3850.JPG81..make a colour wheel with leaves

IMG_3851.JPG82..make some hazelnut owls

IMG_3852.JPG83..play in the park in the dark

IMG_3853.JPG84..make a homework station

IMG_3854.JPG85..take your duvets to the cinema

IMG_3855.JPG86..create a themed bath

IMG_3856.JPG87..do some extreme stairway boating (caution needed!)

IMG_3857.JPG88..Set up a bed outside for a duvet day!

IMG_3858.JPG89..Watch finding memo from a boat

IMG_3859.JPG90..search out fireflies, secretly splash glow sticks in the trees

IMG_3860.JPG91..make a fruit pizza

IMG_3862.JPG92..make your artwork come alive with playdough

IMG_3863.JPG93..play glow in the dark swingball

IMG_3864.JPG94..have a half term budget

IMG_3865.JPG95..become housework hereos

IMG_3866.JPG96..make toilet roll poos

IMG_3867.JPG97..build a rope swing

IMG_3868.JPG98..have an autumn picnic

IMG_3869.JPG99..play shadows

IMG_3870.JPG100..search for skeleton leaves

IMG_3871.JPG101 have tea on the sofa!

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BLUEBELLS & BOARS IN THE FOREST OF DEAN

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Today we headed to the Forest of Dean with the intention of riding our bikes, we loaded up the car and picked up a picnic on the way, on the outskirts of Whitecroft just outside Lydney, heading towards The Forest of Dean on the road from Tescos to Clearwell we were greeted by carpets of blue blazing out from the trees, the bluebells were highly evident from the road, we stopped in a layby and entered the woods, it was beautiful… As we walked through a family of wild boar (7babies) ambled past us, it was a fantastic and unexpected treat….

I don’t think the photos need words, the beauty explains itself…
I probably took way too many photos…

Here’s how our walk in the woods looked….

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And then they left….

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It was a magical treat…

TREE FOLK

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We headed to the woods to make our own tree folk. We simply drew and coloured in facial features and then turned the trees into tree folk…
It was lots of fun…

Here’s what we did..

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If you would like to follow more of our daily frugal, fun & magical memory making activities & adventures during a childhood that’s fleeting you can find us on on Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/pages/Family-days-Tried-tested/287237957955725?ref=tn_tnmn

BLOSSOM ART

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We decided to go on a spring walk to pick up fallen blossom to try our hand at some blossom art.

We found lots of beautiful colours..

Here’s how we did..

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The kids really enjoyed creating blossom art.

If you would like to follow more of our daily frugal & fun memory making activities and adventures during a childhood that’s fleeting you can find us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Family-days-Tried-tested/287237957955725?ref=tn_tnmn