Tag Archive for: kindergarten

Minibeast Spotting Activity for Kids (with Free Poster!)

Today’s Minibeast Spotting activity completes a trio of nature-based posts that each include a free poster. Featuring 30 different minibeasts for children to find and identify, it’s designed to encourage children to get outdoors, learn about the different creatures nearby, explore, and benefit from everything that nature has to offer. With previous free posters covering bird spotting and butterfly spotting activities, these nature-themed activities will give children a really good insight into some of the interesting and exciting creatures they can see in their gardens and neighbourhoods if they simply take some time to look.

Children Love Minibeasts!

Children will love spotting minibeasts, discovering different creatures and learning to name each of them. They will soon learn that creatures like ladybirds, hoverflies, caterpillars, butterflies and bees are simply adorable. Children are also likely to be fascinated by creatures like ants, which are incredibly clever and well-organised, and minibeasts like beetles, millipedes and worms. Such creatures are so different to humans and gently observing them can bring real insights to children about our natural world from the viewpoint of different creatures. Indeed, nature is a huge educator and holds immense benefits to children. We’ll write a separate, more detailed, post about those benefits in the future. Suffice it to say, though, that nature-based activities will help children emotionally, spiritually and physically as well as help them learn new facts, information and skills. Without further delay, let’s now take a look at the free poster preview below and learn how to download it for your child.

Minibeast Spotting Poster (Preview):

Preview showing the free minibeasts poster (click to download the high resolution version in Acrobat PDF format)

How to Download the Free Minibeasts Poster

The poster is supplied as a 3MB downloadable file, in PDF format. That means you’ll need Acrobat Reader on your device to view and open it. Most devices will already have that installed but, if not, don’t worry — Acrobat Reader is also available for free, here. To download the poster itself, simply click the preview image above, or download the free poster via this link. Whether left-clicking or right-clicking is best will depend upon your device’s settings so, if in doubt, try either to see which one prompts you to save the file. Once saved, it can be opened, viewed, and printed out from Acrobat Reader. Print at A3 in high quality on your best printer paper for best results, or ‘scale to fit’ to fit your paper if it’s A4. You/your child can also view the poster on screen, for example on a tablet, smartphone or desktop screen, and zoom in for all the lovely detail.

The UK is home to approximately 25,000 different kinds of minibeast! Many are sadly in steep decline1, so it’s important to raise awareness and encourage interest, including in the very young.

1. According to the State of Nature report for 2023, “Invertebrates such as insects, spiders and millipedes have been found, on average, in 13% fewer places now than in 1970.”

Tips for Spotting Minibeasts

Minibeasts can be lurking almost anywhere outdoors, so children can search and find them virtually wherever they live. Below are a few of the most popular places minibeasts are likely to be found:

  • On and around the leaves of plants (after all, those are home to many critters);
  • On and in flowers, because they’re attracted to the nectar, which is a food source for many;
  • Under rocks, stones, flower pots and suchlike, which may be their home (N.B. be gentle when lifting and replacing such things, so the creatures are not hurt);
  • On and in growing fruit and vegetables, which may be a food source for them;
  • Around the base of plants, grass and lawns, where they may be sheltering from predators;
  • On or under soil, which may be their home;
  • On and in rotting logs and fallen branches;
  • And finally — the best place of all for some minibeasts — in compost heaps! They love the rotting organic matter but, again, take care not to hurt them by being gentle and disturbing their habitat as little as possible.

Enjoy, Be Safe & Be Gentle!

Spending time out in nature and searching for its creatures is great fun, but great care needs to be taken:

  • For the sake of child safety and well-being, children should always be accompanied by a supervising adult — particularly for the very young.
  • Adults should also teach children how to be vigilant about the potential dangers and hazards associated with the outdoors.
  • Adults should teach children about gentleness and empathy around other creatures, however small. Minibeasts are fragile and powerless against the comparative might of humans, but each is an individual in their own right. It’s therefore kind to teach children about compassion for other beings and the need to treat them with huge care and empathy.

Why This Activity is More Important Than You Might Think

Lastly, though, have fun and take time to ensure children learn about nature and all its flora and fauna. Nature teaches children so much about the world and indeed, spending time in the natural world also teaches children about themselves and their place in the world. It may even lead to a lifelong passion for nature and an interest in issues like ecology, global warming, restoring habitat loss and protecting creatures in danger of extinction. Don’t forget that our children will one day become the new stewards of our planet. And, when you bear in mind how important pollinators are for food production and how many of them are in steep decline, a deep interest in the natural world has never been more important.

“When the first #StateofNature report was released in 2013, 1 in 10 of our species were threatened with extinction. Today, it is 1 in 6 species. Rapid nature loss is happening NOW, all around us.” (Wildlife Trust)

Children Love Nature at Little Acorns Nursery in Padiham!

Little Acorns Nursery & Pre-School is in Padiham, Lancashire, near Hapton, Rose Grove, Burnley, Altham, Huncoat, Read, Simonstone, Sabden, Higham and Wood End.

Our childcare professionals know just how important nature and outdoor play is to children, so we ensure they have plenty of opportunities to experience both at Little Acorns Nursery in Padiham. It’s also why we will ensure we publish articles and guides relating to outdoor play and nature here on the Little Acorns blog. Indeed, it’s a treasure trove of useful information, on a wide variety of topics, for parents of babies, toddlers and under-fives!

If you require the highest quality weekday childcare and an outstanding early years education for your little one, why not consider Little Acorns Nursery in Padiham, Lancashire? The setting offers a warm, inviting and nurturing home-from-home for babies, toddlers and preschoolers and really brings out the best in every child. What’s more, we support all the Government’s childcare funding schemes for eligible families. These include, for example, free childcare hours for 2-year-olds and up to 30 free hours per week for 3 and 4-year-olds.

To register your child for a nursery/preschool place, book a guided tour, or find out more, please get in touch using one of the following options:

As well as being located in Padiham, Lancashire (BB12), Little Acorns Nursery may also suit those living or working nearby in Hapton, Rose Grove, Burnley, Altham, Huncoat, Read, Simonstone, Sabden, Higham and Wood End.

 

Bird Spotting Activity for Kids (with Free Poster!)

Bird Spotting Activity for Kids (with Free Poster!)

This nature-based bird spotting activity for kids comes with a free reference poster for families to download.Today’s bird spotting activity for kids continues our series of nature-themed posts that each come with a free reference poster for families to download. Featuring 40 British birds, the activity and the poster represent a great opportunity to get children of all ages outdoors, closer to nature. As many of us know, nature is hugely beneficial to the health and well-being of little ones as well as fostering a greater respect and understanding of the natural world around us. Such an appreciation is also likely to encourage children to do their bit to help protect the environment as they grow older. Nature-based activities are therefore a win-win for children and the environment.

Did you know? UK bird populations have declined by a staggering 38 million birds during the last 5 decades. Even some of our once-common birds are in steep decline.

Children will naturally be fascinated by our feathered friends. When encouraged, even infants and toddlers will soon start to recognise and be able to name the different varieties of wild birds that they see. Robins, blackbirds, blue tits and wrens are always likely to be firm favourites and, with the help of the reference poster, children may soon also be able to identify additional species. We suggest printing the poster out at full size (A3), if possible, using high-quality settings and paper. Reducing to A4 is also possible on desktop printers that only print to that size. Either way, the posters can be displayed permanently on nursery or bedroom walls, or used as handheld reference when children are out and about. Tick boxes have been included alongside each bird, to allow children to mark which birds they have seen. The posters can also, of course, be viewed in glorious high resolution and fine detail on screen, for example on handheld tablets.

The poster is free and no sign-up of any kind is required. Here’s how it looks:

Bird Poster Preview

Preview of the A3 British Birds poster for families to download and print out (click to download or see instructions below).

Download Instructions

Click the preview image, or this link, to download or view the poster, which is in PDF format (grab Acrobat Reader free here if you don’t already have it on your device). Please note that your individual browser settings will govern whether a left-click or a right-click either opens or saves the file. Try either to see which best suits your particular set-up.

Bird-Spotting Recommendations

Once children have their print-outs at the ready and are primed to go bird spotting*, there are a number of things that can help with their success:

  • Birds will naturally gravitate towards sources of food. So, think about where they might find seeds and insects. For example, try looking around flower meadows, woodlands, lush hedgerows and parks or countryside featuring a variety of different natural environments.
  • Failing that, put out some food for them — this is possible even if you don’t have a garden, as bird feeders can be attached to windows or suspended from walls and eaves. Many birds will like commercially available bird seed. Our best successes have been with ‘sunflower hearts’ and ‘peanut cake.’ Seed balls are also popular. Supermarkets, garden outlets and online stores usually sell such things fairly inexpensively. Side note: grated Cheddar cheese is also very popular. However, don’t feed birds too much of that and ensure never to give birds cheese that has mould, as it will be harmful to them.
  • Timing is important too, because different birds are around at different times of the year. So, undertaking the activity periodically throughout the year may help to tick off some of those boxes on your poster!
  • Teach children to be patient, observant and logical. Patience, perseverance, and critical thinking are all important skills for children to master, and this type of activity can help them to improve such skills.
  • Teach children to keep noise levels very low. For thousands of years, humans have been seen by most wild animals as predators, so children need to learn to stay quiet and even tread quietly through woods etc. when on the lookout for any kind of wildlife. This can, however, make the activity even more exciting!
  • Teach children stealth and the use of observation and auditory skills. Doing so will not only help them to see/hear more birds, but will also encourage them to hone motor, balance, coordination and sensory skills.
  • Binoculars and monoculars may be useful tools for children to use to see birds further away or in close-up view. However, ensure they understand that they must never point them in the direction of the sun or towards other bright objects. Hence, we suggest they are only used by children under close supervision.

Have Fun Bird Spotting!

We hope you and your little one(s) have fun with this activity and find the free poster useful. We’ll gradually publish more nature-themed posters as time goes by, so watch this space for more free stuff! Nature-based and outdoor activities are great for children, teaching them so much about the world around them and their place within it. Such activities will help them develop new skills and gain new knowledge, all pretty much free of charge too! This type of activity may also instil in them a love of the outdoors, exploration and the natural world along with the flora and fauna in it. What’s more, children who spend significant time around nature often grow up to have a lifelong love of the Great Outdoors, a greater empathy towards other creatures and high levels of environmental consciousness. With all the problems the human race has made for the planet, that can only be a good thing.

Your High-Quality Nursery & Preschool in Padiham

Little Acorns Nursery & Pre-School is in Padiham, Lancashire, near Hapton, Rose Grove, Burnley, Altham, Huncoat, Read, Simonstone, Sabden, Higham and Wood End.

Children love our nature-based activities at Little Acorns Nursery in Padiham too, as we know how beneficial nature and outdoor play is to little ones. It’s one of the reasons we’ll be publishing more nature activity ideas for children to take part in over the coming months. So, watch this space and come back to visit our blog area regularly to get more ideas for kids’ activities along with lots of useful facts, information and news relating to early years education, learning, development and childcare.

Do you need a high-quality weekday childcare service for your baby, toddler or preschooler in the Padiham/Lancashire area? If so, do consider Little Acorns in Padiham as we’re simply one of the best nurseries and preschools around and give children a wonderful start in life. We also support Government schemes like free childcare hours for 2-year-olds and up to 30 free hours per week for 3 and 4-year-olds — plus many more.

Get in touch to register your child for a nursery or preschool place, request a tour of the setting with your child, or simply ask any questions. We’re here to help! Please choose an option below:

Apply for a Place Book a Tour Message Us 01282 680 822

Little Acorns Nursery is located in Padiham, Lancashire (BB12) but is also close to Hapton, Rose Grove, Burnley, Altham, Huncoat, Read, Simonstone, Sabden, Higham and Wood End. So, we may suit families who require high-quality weekday childcare in any of those towns and villages.

* It goes without saying that children, particularly the very young, should always be supervised appropriately by a responsible adult.

Butterfly Spotting Activity for Kids (with Free Poster!)

With more adult butterflies around than at any other time in the year, late July and early August is a perfect time for children to get outdoors to see them.At the time of writing, it’s peak butterfly-spotting time — more adult butterflies can be seen in late July and early August than at any other time in the year. That makes it the perfect time for children to get out in nature to spot these charming creatures. Doing so is fun, educational and also beneficial in so many ways – we’ll explain more about that later.

Fun Fact: About 60 different types of butterflies can be found in the UK.

Butterflies come in many different forms and sizes, often with incredibly beautiful patterns and colours on their wings. They are also rather endearing as they flit around on seemingly haphazard flight paths. As such, infants, toddlers and young children will naturally be drawn to them when they see them flying around flowers, gardens and hedgerows. With that in mind, we have designed a free butterfly identification poster for families to download. It features 36 different types of butterflies that are commonly seen around large parts of the UK. The poster can be printed out for children to display on bedroom or nursery walls, or for use as a hand-held reference when out and about on butterfly-spotting nature trips. Take a look at the preview below — full instructions for printing it out or viewing it on screen are explained below the preview. The poster is free to download and you do not need to sign up for anything, nor register in any way.

Butterfly Poster Preview

The preview image below shows the 36 wonderful butterflies that are included on the identification poster. However, be sure to download the Acrobat PDF version for greater clarity and detail.

Preview of the Butterfly Spotting Activity Poster for children to download.

Download Instructions

Depending on your specific device and browser settings, the high-resolution Adobe Acrobat version of the poster can be viewed and/or downloaded by left- or right-clicking the preview image above, or alternatively use this link. If you do not already have it on your device, Acrobat Reader can be downloaded for free.

 

Amazing Fact: The Painted Lady butterfly flies all the way from Europe or Africa, travelling thousands of miles, before arriving in the UK for the summer. When travelling, they fly up to 100 miles per day, travelling almost 30 miles per hour. Unlike some other butterflies, Painted Ladies do not hibernate in Britain, instead migrating back to Europe or northern Africa.

Butterfly Spotting Has Many Benefits

The Benefits of Butterfly Spotting to Children

Butterfly spotting is a delightful and almost magical activity for children to take part in. On a simple level, it’ll help children learn the names of different butterflies and open their eyes to some of the UK’s wonderful wildlife. On a deeper level, though, it’s hugely educational by teaching children about nature and the natural world more widely. Through the simple task of butterfly spotting, children will get to understand the important role of butterflies, bees and other insects as pollinators. They’ll learn about concepts like metamorphosis, where food comes from, how plants, trees and creatures reproduce, the circle of life, and even about their own place in the world. These are profound and important concepts.

Spending time in and around nature is also hugely beneficial to children in mind, body, spirit and even academically. That conclusion is supported by study after study, all around the world. Indeed, we will write a separate article about the benefits of nature to children in the near future. So, watch this space!

Some of the Benefits to Butterflies & the Natural World

Nature-based activities like butterfly spotting will also begin to foster a deeper appreciation in children for the natural world and the flora and fauna within it. Children who regularly spend time in and around nature will tend to develop an affinity for it, right into adulthood. As well as enjoying everything that the Great Outdoors has to offer, children who are used to spending time in natural environments are often more environmentally conscious, with a greater sense of empathy for other creatures and a more responsible attitude around the impact that humans are having on the planet. And, as we’re seeing in recent news about global warming, climate change and the effects on recent weather patterns, such attitudes have never been more important. Children are the planet’s future, so encouraging them to look after the natural world is crucial for its very survival. The human race needs to act decisively to reverse both climate change and habitat loss so that wildlife populations can begin to recover. If there were no pollinators, then we’d all be in deep trouble.

The Best Places to Spot Butterflies

There are some obvious, and not-so-obvious, places where children are most likely to see the most butterflies:

  • Around flowers and blossoms, as nectar is their food.
  • Especially around butterfly-loving plants like Buddleia, also known as the ‘Butterfly Plant’.
  • Around calm, sheltered, sunnier spots, especially in the middle of the day — although they’re around any time of day if it’s warm (above 20ºC if it’s cloudy). Butterflies are delicate and do not like the wind.
  • Butterflies love brambles, flower meadows and forest clearings (‘glades’) where wildflowers grow.
  • They’ll also be drawn to forests and glades where a variety of different tree and plant species are growing at different stages of development.
  • Areas with long grass and hedgerows are good spots if they contain wildflowers.

Look But Don’t Touch

Butterflies are very delicate creatures, with wings that are easily damaged. Therefore, teach children not to try to catch or hold them. It’s best if families simply look rather than touch. Also, try to keep fairly still because butterflies can sense movement from multiple directions and are constantly on the lookout for danger.

Little Acorns Nursery & Preschool, Padiham

Little Acorns Nursery & Pre-School is in Padiham, Lancashire, near Hapton, Rose Grove, Burnley, Altham, Huncoat, Read, Simonstone, Sabden, Higham and Wood End.

Children also get to immerse themselves in nature-based activities at Little Acorns Nursery in Padiham, where we offer high-quality weekday childcare for babies and children under five. The service is much more than that, though, as we give children the very best start in life, nurturing them in their early years to become the very best version of themselves by the time they leave us to start school. Their learning and all areas of personal, social and emotional development come on in leaps and bounds during their time with us. This gives them all the tools they’ll need to thrive going forwards. We also support all the free childcare schemes offered by the Government to eligible families, including free childcare hours for 2-year-olds and up to 30 free hours per week for 3 and 4-year-olds and much more.

For more information, to register for a childcare place, or request a guided tour with your child, please get in touch using an option below:

Apply for a Place Book a Tour Message Us 01282 680 822

Little Acorns is a nursery & preschool in Padiham, also being convenient for families nearby in Hapton, Rose Grove, Burnley, Altham, Huncoat, Read, Simonstone, Sabden, Higham and Wood End.