It doesn’t take much to encourage our children’s curiosity in nature and wildlife. It’s a subject that most children seem to engage in quite naturally. There are, of course, ways to enhance those curiosities and adding some mostly inexpensive tools to their backpack will help them to get closer to nature and make exciting wildlife discoveries.
A small bucket is most certainly essential and can be used in several ways. It can help a child catch an animal more safely than using their hands and it holds the animal for a period of time, allowing for a better opportunity to observe it before releasing it back into the wild. It’s perfect for catching lizards, frogs, fish and insects!
We will catch a lot of bugs in our buckets but although we can catch and observe them, it can be hard to see the features on such small animal’s bodies. Using a magnifying glass is a perfect way to highlight those smaller features like spines, antenna and even hooked toes. It gets you up really close!
Many people may not think about adding a torch to a child’s backpack but you’d miss a whole lot of wildlife spying opportunities if you only stuck to searching in daylight! A torch is the must have to go spotlighting.
Many animals love the rain E.g. frogs, snails and turtles. Luckily, children love going out in the rain too, so it’s more about channeling that into a wildlife learning activity. I’d include a raincoat in their backpack to keep them nice and dry while looking for soggy animals.
I don’t know about you but my children love cameras. They love taking photos of everything! Letting your child have their own camera is the perfect way for them to document their wildlife finds. It’s also a wonderful opportunity for you, as parents, to see what animals pique your child’s interest. Here’s a few tips to think about before giving your child a camera, including keeping them safe while they take photos of wildlife.
Many animals can be seen, but a lot can only be seen in the distance. Having binoculars handy in the backpack is not only a great way for your child to enjoy their animal discovery but also allows them to spy more wildlife that they wouldn’t have seen with their naked eye!
Sometimes animals are harder to catch than we’d like. A butterfly/ fishing net is great for catching animals that swim, hop or fly (grasshoppers, moths, fish, crabs, tadpoles, crayfish and more).
A nature journal helps children, connect, understand and classify animals. It also makes a nice visual diary to look back on and discuss.
On a recent wildlife holiday, we made a nature journal. Although only four and a half, Miss Possum wrote and drew a picture in it every day. You can make a nature journal as creative as you like: glue in beautiful leaves, feathers and shed skins, draw and write about nature you’ve seen, stick in the printed photos that you took with your camera etc.
A small white sheet.
A great way to catch bugs is by laying a sheet and shaking a tree. Honestly, having a white sheet in the backpack will come in handy for any child that just loves finding bugs. Don’t forget to use the bucket to scoop up the animals you found on the sheet!