Tag Archives: nature

Your contribution to The Natural Revolution

Walking along the beach for the first time for far too long a period between salt intakes had a different feel. Usually there are children in tow and even adults to consider, but this time I was surrounded by excited children, but they were not my responsibility. 

White sands or Porth Mawr in Pembrokeshire has always had a special place in my heart and the perfect place to re-invigorate and inject salt back into the system. However as I strolled across the sand and between the rocks and seaweed my Outdoor eyes and child-like character imerged and thoughts came to “Wow look at that rock pool!”.  


Reverting back to childhood I became excited about the contents of what might lurk beneath the surface and hidden under the blanket of weed. Looking around the beach there were dads doing the same, digging frantically to create a water system that would flow as the tide came in and fill the moat. Basic physics and understanding of natural environment. Balancing and moving smoothly over the barnacle mats stretched out on the rocks, beckoning to the little timid slow moving person behind. In control of the kite zooming back and fro up and down spinning and turning whilst explaining the fundamentals of wind direction and aerodynamics. Mum telling the story of how the jelly like blob turns into a dancing waving sea anemone when covered in water. 

As I watched these enthused adults introduce this new world to their children, it dawned on me how important the need for “The Nature Revolution” is to make our future generations appreciate the environment around them. Not only to find out that it has huge potential as a free wild playground but that the hidden benefits of emerseing themselves in this product would benefit their health, education and well-being. 

As I walked through the rock gardens I heard a small boy ask his dad “which one is it that pops?” A small but fundamental fact about bladder-wrack (Fucus vesiculous – the original source of Iodine) that he would not have known if he’d not experienced the audible sounds of the seashore. As I scrambled over the exposed rocks I met a sister and brother about to enter into  a small cave. Shafts of sunlight danced across the ceiling like natural glitter, inspiring feelings of pirates and dragons. After a few metres they emerged back into the sunlight smiling and accomplished after their adventure.


It made me realise that “Yes”, we do need to show our next generation where they can taste, smell and hear the exciting new world which is not “screen-time”, and that innate gene which drives our Adventure Literacy is not yet bred out, it’s just dormant. As adults we need to facilitate and open the door to explore nature and then step back once the fuse has been lit and watch the explosion into “green-time” begin to work its magic.


It’s Autumn I’m Leafing!


I have passed this place every morning on the school run for the last week and every time another idea came into my head. Luckily it was on the return trip and only once did I drive past the stop with my passenger shouting “Dad!” very loudly to bring me back to present time!

It finally got the better of me and I loaded the I-pad into the car and pulled in when the bus had gone……….. it inspired the following.

Leaf it Out! 

1.  Find a spot and mark it so that your partner or group member can find it easily. You could scrape a spot moving the leaves away or mark it with a stick – or both! Make sure the ‘finder(s)’ is not looking!

Starting Point
2.  Take two or three photo’s of the leaf-carpet in front of you. Variations of differentiation could be, getting the photographer to use 360 degrees from the spot they are standing at and to give the finder an angle to use to find the spot – ‘It’s between 90 – 180 degrees’. For early years or KS1 or special needs you could arrange the leaves into easily recognisable patterns or shapes for them to find.

IMG_0169IMG_0172_2Rearranged patterns


3.  This could be done using the canopy as a spot to find without marking it first. ‘find the spot where this photo was taken from?’ or the trunk of a tree.

The photo’s could be developed into a photo – trail, connecting all the pictures together.

Moss and lichen bring in geography and biology, prevailing wind directions and clean air, compass directions.

Canopy IMG_0174_2IMG_0175_2 Moss and Lichen

Take a selfie of yourself to add a bit of humour to the session, see if they can find the same spot? It might take a while and lots of selfies to find. I must admit even if it was correct the first time I would say ‘No’ just keep the activity going.  Making sure that the ground is not too wet if the appropriate clothing is not being worn! (it was at this point that a car stopped and asked if I was Ok! – I explained that I was an outdoor teacher- and before I could add the explanation they drove off ! for some reason that seemed to satisfy him? )


4.  Use an I-Pad and with the picture you have taken place the I-Pad down on the ground and use it to find the spot it was taken from – how do we get to reduce the size of the photograph to the same as the actual leaf litter?

When back in the classroom the photographs can be used to inspire creative writing or artwork. Try using the app ‘Phoster” and make a poster for the class. Another using voice recording and other medias is ‘Explain Everything” a great way of understanding when you have to explain to somebody else. You can play it back. It gives it real context.  If choosing a sycamore leaf carpet then seed dispersal is instantly recognisable with its ‘helicopters’ as a method.

IMG_1782 IMG_2648 Phoster app.

IMG_2649  CollageGuru app.

CollageGuru app. means you can make multiple pictures of different shapes of the leaf pictures you have taken.

5.  Using the leaves around explore the shapes, colours and structures. Using a pre-prepared cardboard handmade protractor measure the angles of the stems of the leaves, root structures, branches of the veins in the leaves – compare with any manmade items around. Record and discuss in groups. It’s amazing what will come out when comparing each leaf – length, width, angles. What criteria do we use? Use the evidence back for the content of Maths lessons – maths for a purpose.


6.  Leafman Game       Sit two people back to back. One person gets to use leaves and ground materials to create a ‘leaf man‘. Then using oracy skills describe their picture to their partner to see if they can create a copy of the ‘leaf man’ in front of them. Once they have finished, compare. Discuss or record how the communication could have improved, any problems, any ‘top tips’.  Take photos to compare and use the recording of the communication along with the photo as evidence.

With imagination, creativity and any child enthused by being in the outdoors will take this session further then you can think of.

Just don’t be frightened of doing it – go and kick some leaves around. You never know it might be you that’ s  enjoying it more than the ‘Little people’!


You can’t buy a stick in a toy store.

‘You can’t buy a stick at a toy store’
It was a gun, a walking stick, a bow that shot many different shaped arrows that over time got straighter and developed small flights and later became a light-sabre. It was always a stick to start with but soon became anything you wanted it to be. A magic stick. A stick that gave you freedom to wander the universe and beyond. It gave you the authority to roam, to live another life, create another persona giving greater self confidence with a wand in hand.
It expanded your creativity in language, fluent in 6 different galactic tongues, confident in musketeer French, Apache, a touch of German statements and a good healthy working knowledge of Second World War English.
Problem solving was easier with a stick to point, wave and when drawing diagrams had the ability to to enable others to see them in 3D.
The forked stick was not only a medieval catapult but sub machine-pistol too, versatility was it’s middle name!
Divining for water in deserts and wastelands of the regions of a geographic selection from the imagination of a fluid mind.
The size of your stick was an important selection criteria to the type if day you were going to have. Small twigs could give birth to a fire. It excited the individual or group you were with, at first, then as the larger sticks were gathered and added, inhaling the calming smoke gave rise to reflections of stick games from past expeditions.
So a simple stick was far from simple. It could be a stick if that’s what you saw…….. But look again with your ‘outdoor eyes’ it will be what you want it to be within your imagination.20140707-141223-51143642.jpg