Author: Ellen Robson
Stuck for things to do with your summer holidays? There is a huge range of family friendly activities for you to try as part of the RSPB’s Wild Challenge. Completing challenges will earn you awards, so see if you can go for gold! You can sign up for free here to have a look at the full list, but below are just a few examples of the things you can do to help give nature a home, and have fun while doing it!
1. Build a bird bath
Help encourage nature in your own garden by making your own bird bath to allow our feathered friends a source of clean water to drink from and bathe in. They will be able to use this throughout the summer and for the rest of the year so is a great thing to do to encourage wildlife in any season. This doesn’t just benefit the birds, it will also allow your family to get a closer look at the local species which can be a really captivating experience for kids and adults alike. If you don’t have the time or materials to make your own bird bath, you can always buy one – the birds won’t be able to tell the difference!
Going on holiday to the seaside, or lucky enough to live nearby? Rockpooling is a great way to explore some of the more unusual wildlife you aren’t likely to see in your own garden. You can do this with no equipment at all - but having a net, bucket, and an ID sheet which can be downloaded from our website may make it a more educational experience. You might see anything, from starfish to sea anenomes. Rockpooling is bound to make a trip to the beach more wild, and can be done even if the weather isn’t perfect!
3. Shake a tree
Tree-beating allows you to investigate the minibeasts that would normally be hiding in the branches. Gently shaking a tree or bush branch onto a sheet will reveal some of the insects living in there. This is a really easy way to find a range of species in your area and learn all about the insects living in your own garden or the local park. Our spot-it sheet will help you to identify the many-legged friends you find.
4. Let it grow
A really simple way to encourage wildlife in your garden is to let the grass grow. This will mean one less chore for parents and more fun for the kids! Even if you don’t want to let your whole garden grow wild, a small patch of unruly grass can be great for wildlife, especially encouraging more insect species. You might even see some wildflowers in there. Longer grass will often increase biodiversity, and is always exciting to play in!
5. Make a compost heap
Our waste is wildlife’s treasure! You can make a compost heap for plant waste in your garden which insects can eat and recycle, turning it into fertiliser which you can use. Some species may also use your compost heap as a home – so it’s a win-win-win situation for you and the minibeasts in your garden! It’s also a great way to reduce the amount of your rubbish going to landfill.
Another thing you can do to get your kids more involved with nature is to look up your local RSPB wildlife explorers group. These groups are led by passionate volunteers who want to inspire future generations to love nature. They give a fantastic opportunity for children to meet like-minded friends and learn all about the environment around them.
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