Discover nature with children Tips for activities before your front door

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An excep­tional stone or a colourful flower: the great outdoors is a real explorer’s paradise for kids and the best play­ground in the whole wide world. Our surroundings have a lot in store for adven­turers big and small. Making flower pictures, painting stones, building a feeding box or guessing what tree a leaf belongs to: with simple activities, children can get to know and lean to appreciate nature in a playful way. Just give it a try!

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On the go Treats for squirrels

Surely, you’ve seen squirrels scurrying through the garden or park looking for nuts. But the nimble creatures don’t always find enough to eat. They appreciate a treat all year round. We will show you step by step how to build a feeding box for squirrels. This is partic­ularly easy with ready-made kits – for example, our instructions are from Vivara, a manu­facturer of nature conser­vation products. But of course, you can also saw the indi­vidual parts from a wooden board yourselves.

Extra tip:

In summer in particular, the squirrels also appreciate a small water bowl. This way, you can make sure they always get enough to drink.

You’ll need:

  • A building kit for a squirrel feeding box, available at vivara.de

  • A hammer

  • A screw­driver

  • Walnuts and hazelnuts with shell

  • Sunflower seeds

  • Pumpkin seeds

  • Raisins

  1. Connect back wall and bottom part
    First, nail the back wall to the bottom part.

  2. Attach side walls
    Then, you can attach the two side walls and the in-between bar. Make sure you attach the side walls the right way around. The box needs to be lower in the front so that the water can flow away when it rains. The groove in the wood goes in the front and must be posi­tioned on the inside. This is where the pane is inserted later.

  3. Insert perspex pane
    With this, you can already push the perspex pane into the box along the grooves.

  4. Attach lid
    Now, it’s time for the feeding box lid: It is screwed to the back wall at the hinge. Place the hinge on the lid and back wall and mark the position of the screws with a pen. This will make it easier to attach the lid.

  5. Done!
    Now, all you have to do is fill the box with squirrel treats and find a suitable spot for your very own feeding box.

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On the go Which leaf belongs to which tree?

A walk through the forest can be a real adventure for kids. There are so many different trees, bushes and plants to discover. Colourful leaves, pine cones and acorns everywhere – but wait a minute! What’s the name of the tree that belongs to this beautiful five-pointed leaf? Why don’t you find out! Collect different leaves and create a book of leaves at home. Just gather as many different leaves as you can find. Spread them on a table at home and identify which leaf belongs to which tree. Afterwards, you can press them and stick them into a little booklet. You can take an exercise book for this or just tack a few papers together. If you don’t feel like pressing the leaves, you can also trace the outlines of every leaf. This results in a great drawing next to which you can write the name of the tree.

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    Maple

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    Birch

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    Beech

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    Oak

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    Ash

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    Alder

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    Lime

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    Hawthorn

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On the go Colourful artworks

Did you perhaps see a few colourfully painted stones by the wayside during your last walk? In many places, these stone rows appeared in the last few months, to the joy of people out on a walk and cyclists alike. They are intended to put a smile on people’s faces and are a joint effort. Everyone who wants can just add a painted stone. The result is a colourful, long row of stones. Would you also like to paint a stone? They also look good in your own garden or your chil­dren’s room and are a beautiful decoration. It’s really easy. Just collect a few nice stones on your next outdoor adventure. It’s important that they have a fairly smooth surface. That way, the colour lasts longer and it is easier to draw patterns. You can often find smooth stones on the shores of lakes or rivers. As soon as you have found a few stones, head home and start painting. You can use all kinds of paints. Finger paint works well, for example. Acrylic paint or permanent markers are also great. But be careful! These colours are not water soluble, so you can’t just wash them off. You can also stick colourful papers on the stones, or sponge rubber, wool or cardboard packaging. There are no limits to your creativity.

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On the go Collect, press, glue

Red, yellow, blue, white – in spring and summer in particular, nature gifts us with a true sea of flowers. Flowers of all colours grow on countless meadows and in our own garden. If you want bring a little bit of the flowerage into your chil­dren’s room, you can press the flowers to conserve then. How? It’s easy! Just pick a few pretty wild flowers on your next walk and take them home. Then grab a partic­ularly heavy book. Fold a piece of paper in the middle and place the flowers inside. Then just put this piece of paper in the middle of the book. If you want to, place a few addi­tional books on top. This way, you can increase the pressure. Now let the book pile lie there for a few days. Five days should be enough. Open the book carefully, and you will find beautiful pressed flowers. Stick them on a white piece of paper and hang them up in a picture frame in your room.

Sustain­ability tip: Flower meadows are partic­ularly important for insects such as bees and butterflies. The colourful meadows help to preserve biod­iversity. If you can, plant a small flower meadow in your garden too. You can get flower seeds in numerous garden centres.

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    Daisy
    The daisy is easy to identify. It has a small yellow head in the middle, which is framed by white ray florets. They are called ray florets because they look like rays of sunshine. A daisy has between 7 and 43 ray florets. The yellow head in the middle consists of up to 400 tiny disc florets. It often occurs in droves and grows approx­imately 30 to 60 cm high.
    Daisys were oftentimes considered a sort of oracle flower. People used to believe that one could get answers to questions by plucking off the white petals. For example: “He loves me, he loves me not, he loves me…” until the last petal reveals the answer.

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    Dandelion
    The dandelion is also called swine’s snout. Its yellow “flower petals” are all florets that form a cup. The stem is hollow and exudes a white latex. Dandelion comes from the French term “dent de lion”, which means lion’s tooth, because its leaves look a little bit like the teeth of a lion. Ever floret develops into a seed with a small parachute so that the wind can carry it away. All para­chutes of a large flower together form a white ball. If you blow against it, they fly away, which is why it is also referred to as “blowball”.

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    Red clover
    The red clover grows on meadows and pastures, on the wayside and on embankments. It was the first type of clover to also be cultivated as fodder crop. Each stem usually has two flower heads which blossom one after the other. The flowers can be dark red or pink.

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    Corn poppy
    The corn poppy is a beautiful and rather conspicuous flower. It usually has four large red flower petals. Its leaves and stems are covered with small protruding bristles. The plant contains a slightly toxic white latex,, which is why you shouldn’t eat corn poppy. It has dark seeds. Once the corn poppy seeds have dried, they are blown away by the wind.

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    Meadow sage
    Meadow sage is partic­ularly striking. Its flowers have a strong, blue violet colour. If you look closely, they look a little bit like an open mouth. Meadow sage mainly grows on sunny meadows or by the wayside.
    It not only looks beautiful when dried, but also has a healing effect. From the dried flowers and leaves, you can make a tea for gargling that helps against a sore throat.

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    Buttercup
    The buttercup is also known as crowfoot. It has bright yellow flower petals. They stand slightly apart and are thus remin­iscent of a crow’s foot, which also explains the name. Please note: this plant is also slightly toxic, so you shouldn’t eat it. Even grazing animals avoid it. But as soon as the flower is dried, it is no longer toxic and also eaten by cows.