Tag Archive for: under fives

Little Citizen Scientists Wanted for the Big Butterfly Count

The Big Butterfly Count is free, enjoyable, educational, and hugely worthwhile for children and families to take part in.Calling all little citizen scientists — we need your help — and parents too! During part of July and early August the Big Butterfly Count takes place across the UK and the more children and families that take part, the better. All it needs to take is 15 minutes and taking part will help butterflies, daytime-flying moths and the conservation of nature and biodiversity in general. What’s more, it’s a free, enjoyable, educational, and hugely worthwhile activity for children and families to take part in. In today’s post, we’ll tell you everything you need to know in order to take part in 2024’s Big Butterfly Count. Little citizen scientists: get ready!

The Big Butterfly Count 2024

Starts: Friday 12th July
Ends: Sunday 4th August

What is the Big Butterfly Count All About?

The Big Butterfly Count is the world’s largest survey of butterflies. It takes place in Britain each year during the period when adult butterflies and daytime-flying moths are at their most prolific and active. These wonderful creatures are sadly threatened, with UK populations of many having plummeted over the last few decades.

“Right now, butterflies and moths are sending an SOS” (Butterfly Conservation)

The giant ‘citizen’ survey therefore aims to keep tabs on populations of particular species each year so that any changes in their numbers can be identified and any adverse issues affecting them identified. Only then can appropriate conservation measures be implemented to help them recover.

In addition, because butterflies and daytime-flying moths suffer from the same threats as other pollinators and wildlife (climate change, use of indiscriminate pesticides, habitat loss, etc.), trends in their populations can be used as a barometer for the state of wildlife, biodiversity, and nature in general.

So, if you and your little one(s) would like to take part and become citizen scientists, read on and we’ll explain the easy process of taking part.

“One of the great things about the Big Butterfly Count is that anyone can play their part, whether young or old.”

What You’ll Need

Families can use either the free app or ID sheet to identify butterflies and daytime-flying moths they spot.You’ll need a tiny bit of preparation, but it’s quick, free, and easy…



  • For families with smartphones or tablets, download and use the Big Butterfly Count app — it’s free and also includes instructions and all the identification charts, links, and useful information you or your child will need to complete the task.

Download the 'Big Butterfly Count' app for IOS Download the 'Big Butterfly Count' app for Android

The butterfly identification sheet for England for 2024's Big Butterfly Count

Choose a Location for your Butterfly Count

Before commencing your own butterfly count, you’ll need to identify a suitable location in which to do so. That could be your garden, local park, somewhere in the countryside, or simply somewhere like a hedgerow. Wherever it is, it will need to have flowers in bloom in order to attract butterflies and/or daytime-flying moths. And, of course, it needs to be safe, with any little ones having suitable adult supervision.

The Best Places to Spot Butterflies

You/your little one will want the best chance of spotting butterflies during the Big Butterfly Count. With that in mind, the following types of locations are likely to have the greatest potential for success:

  • Places where there are lots of flowers, blooms, or wildflowers;
  • A sunny location that’s also sheltered from the wind;
  • Flower meadows and anywhere with brambles;
  • Clearings in forests where wildflowers are growing;
  • Areas with long grass if they contain wildflowers;
  • Hedgerows that contain wildflowers;
  • Glades or forest clearings where a wide variety of trees and plants can be found at different developmental stages;
  • The middle of the day is often a great time to see butterflies.

How to Do Your Butterfly Count

Over the course of 15 minutes, count the butterflies and daytime-flying moths that are included on the ID chart or smartphone app.Once you’ve chosen a suitable location that has flowers blooming and is ideally sunny and sheltered, you are ready to count butterflies and submit them to the Big Butterfly Count survey.

Over the course of 15 minutes, count the butterflies (and daytime-flying moths) that are included on the ID chart or smartphone app (only about 21 of the possible 60+ species are targeted in the Big Butterfly Count*). You/your child can log your sightings either directly in the app or by marking them on your butterfly ID printout. Don’t worry if you don’t see any at all within the 15-minute window — that counts in the survey too.

* If you/your child would like to identify and log butterfly and moth species not included in the Big Butterfly Count, you can do so using an alternative smartphone app, iRecord Butterflies, which you can use any time of year.


You can either stay in one spot or walk while counting during your 15-minute slot.

  • If staying in one spot, you need to count how many of each targeted species you see at the same time. That’s so as to avoid counting the same butterfly more than once.
  • If walking during your 15 minutes, it’s far less likely that you’ll encounter the same butterfly more than once. Therefore, you can simply count up how many of each species you see during the 15-minute walk.

You can do as many 15-minute surveys as you like within the survey dates. Each can be submitted as a separate survey, along with the date and location for each.

See the Results!

Once you and your child have counted and submitted your results, you are officially Citizen Scientists! Well done! We hope it was fun and interesting as well as being a good thing to do to help the adorable butterflies, moths, and conservation of the natural world itself.

If you’re wondering what the results of the thousands of citizen scientist surveys across the UK are, you can check these out on this interactive map or the equivalent map available through the Big Butterfly Count smartphone app. You will have to wait until the results are available, i.e. for 2024 this will be from the 5th of August. Once available, you’ll be able to see counts and details of what was spotted in all areas of the UK. Try zooming in on your own area, which will include your own survey(s) within the data presented.

Other Ways Children Can Help Butterflies

Children and families can help butterflies in other simple ways too.In addition to taking part in the Big Butterfly Count, children and families can help butterflies in other simple ways too. What’s more, they’re also fun, educational, and make the world a better place. Additional ways to help butterflies – and other pollinators – include:

  • Sowing wildflowers in gardens and outdoor spaces;
  • Making gardens and outdoor spaces more wildlife-friendly;
  • Putting out pieces of overripe fruit (apples, oranges, bananas) and shallow dishes of water for them to sip at;
  • Refraining from using harmful chemicals in gardens (e.g. pesticides, weedkillers, slug and snail killer, etc.);
  • Keeping gardens ‘natural’ — e.g. avoiding replacing lawns with fake grass, mowing too often, or paving over areas that can be kept natural.

Nature & Little Acorns Nursery, Padiham

Little Acorns Nursery & Preschool is in Padiham, Lancashire, near Hapton, Rose Grove, Burnley, Altham, Huncoat, Read, Simonstone, Sabden, Higham and Wood End. Little Acorns Nursery in Padiham is perfectly located for children’s involvement in the Big Butterfly Count and for being close to nature. That’s important, because nature is incredibly beneficial to children — and adults, of course. Nearby are parks, hills, waterways and the gorgeous Lancashire countryside. And, at our Padiham nursery itself, we have a lovely garden with a wild zone for children to explore. These areas allow children to get close to nature in a safe, supervised, environment. They also support the nursery’s tailored curriculum including any specific areas of interest for children under our care.

Consider a nursery place for your child at Little Acorns Nursery in Padiham today. Here, they will get the very best start in a nurturing, homely environment where we will bring out the very best in them. Choose an option to get started:

Our location in Padiham, Lancashire, means that our nursery is also near Hapton, Rose Grove, Burnley, Altham, Huncoat, Read, Simonstone, Sabden, Higham and Wood End.

Lancashire's Walk & Talk Scheme – Boosting Children's Communication & Language

Today we explore what the Walk & Talk scheme is all about, its aims, the benefits to children, and how families can get involved.Lancashire’s Walk & Talk Initiative is a scheme that’s wholeheartedly supported by the childcare practitioners at Little Acorns Nursery in Padiham. We encourage all Lancashire parents to take part too. It’s an initiative that is incredibly simple but has far-reaching benefits for children in their early years. Let’s take a look today at what Walk & Talk is all about, what its aims are, the benefits to children, and how families can get involved.

What is the Walk & Talk Scheme & Where Did it Come From?

As this explanatory video explains, going walking and talking helps children hone attention, listening, communication and language skills.The Walk & Talk scheme is an initiative started by Lancashire County Council back in September 2022. The idea is simply to encourage families to get outdoors and, while doing so, to communicate with each other whilst they walk so that children can improve a variety of skills. As their explanatory video explains, going for a walk helps children hone attention skills, listening skills and, when proactively conversed with, communication and language skills too.

Key Aims of the Scheme

Key aims of the Walk & Talk Initiative include:

  • The Walk & Talk scheme can reduce the 'word gap' by helping children learn new words and widen vocabulary.a reduction in the ‘word gap’ — helping children learn new words and widen vocabulary;
  • supporting parents with ideas for deeper interactions with their children;
  • encouraging adults to talk with children more during everyday activities;
  • garnering a deeper sense of curiosity in children;
  • encouraging conversational skills in children, for example, knowing how to take turns when discussing things;
  • getting children outdoors more often — it’s great for their well-being.

The Walk & Talk Scheme

There are so many beautiful places in Lancashire where families can explore. While doing so, they can both walk and talk with little ones to promote the importance and benefits of communication.

“Our Walk & Talk initiative aims to get families outside and promote the importance of communication.” (Lancashire District Council)

The Walk & Talk scheme also aims to encourage children to use a variety of senses.The scheme also aims to encourage children to use a variety of senses. These include, for example, sight, smell, touch, taste, hearing and, of course, active listening. When out on walks there are so many different things for children’s senses to be stimulated by and each lends itself to a conversation. Whether it’s the sound of birdsong, the feeling of the wind on their faces, the smell of freshly-cut grass on the breeze, the noise of traffic, the dazzlingly beautiful colours of blossom, or the mouth-watering smell of food cooking around the neighbourhood or town, walking is indeed a feast for the senses.

The secret, of course, is for adults to discuss such things with the children and that’s all a part of what the Walk & Talk initiative is all about. So, whether you’re at the beach, in a shop, at the park, in the garden, or out in the street with a child, take every opportunity to ask them to describe what they see, hear, feel, touch and, when appropriate, taste. Feed back to them too, to expand the conversation.

Get Involved

“Let’s make walking and talking a priority.” (Lancashire District Council)

Walk & Talk Examples

Stuck for ideas of what to talk about as you walk with your child, or do you need some examples to get you started? No problem. Here are a few ideas to give you a flavour of the type of conversations you can start with your little one.

Walk & Talk activity ideas for when you're walking along streets, in town, or travelling on roads with your child.When you’re walking along streets, in town, or travelling on roads with your child, ask them to spot and name any numbers on signs, road signs, number plates, or buses. Ask them how many wheels the bus or lorry has. What noise do the cars make when they pull off from the traffic lights? What does a red traffic light mean? How about a green one? Have they noticed the difference between the sound of an electric car compared to a petrol or diesel one?

Activity ideas for walking and talking with your child in the park.If you’re at the park with your child, get them to notice things around them and point them out to you. Examples might include flowers, dogs going for a walk, ducks on the lake, birds, bees, and different types of leaves. Discuss them. Perhaps even encourage your child(ren) to make up a poem about what they see or hear.

Walk & Talk activity ideas for when you're in the garden with your child.Similarly, you can instigate a conversation with them about the flora and fauna in a garden. Can they spot and describe a butterfly? What is the butterfly doing? What is a bee doing and why are they important? (Click the thumbnail images for more ideas).

Conversation ideas for when you're at the shops with your child.At the local shops, you might ask your little one what they can hear, for example background music, the babble of chattering people, tills being used to scan items, and so on. How many bananas do we need this week? Can you fetch them for me, please? Let’s discuss what’s left on the shopping list. And can they smell the lovely scent of food cooking in the bakery section?

Tips for Successful Communication with Your Child

  1. Get their attention, for example, by saying their name or by pointing out something interesting during the walk.
  2. Try getting down to their level. There, you can communicate face to face whilst ensuring they’re actively engaging with you and looking at or listening to things you’re pointing out to them.
  3. Ensure they know you’re listening and responding to them too, for example, through what you say, nodding, keeping good eye contact, not interrupting, avoiding finishing sentences for them, and so on.
  4. Allow your child(ren) proper time to respond to something you’ve pointed out or asked them about. While their language skills and knowledge are still developing, they’ll need more time to respond than an adult might.
  5. When appropriate, add extra verbal detail for them to build on their language, knowledge and understanding of conversations.
  6. If your child expresses an interest in something, ensure you follow that interest and explore it further with them. When they’re already interested, you are pushing at an open door.
  7. Say, “well done” to them and give them praise when they do well, for example, when they learn a new word, phrase, or fact.
  8. Don’t forget that communication is not just verbal and children will therefore need to take your lead in the way you also use facial expressions and body language to convey some types of communication.
  9. Remember too that every activity is an opportunity for talking, communication, and learning.
  10. Make it fun! When you make walking and talking with your child fun, they’re more likely to enjoy and learn from it.

A High-Quality Early Years Education at Little Acorns Nursery, Padiham

Little Acorns Nursery & Preschool is in Padiham, Lancashire, near Hapton, Rose Grove, Burnley, Altham, Huncoat, Read, Simonstone, Sabden, Higham and Wood End. Fostering good communication and language skills is, of course, all part of the wonderful early years education that children under five gain at Little Acorns Nursery in Padiham, Lancashire. Indeed, we nurture all aspects of the learning and development of all our babies, toddlers and preschoolers; we bring out the very best in them to ensure they have all the tools to thrive and succeed in every way possible. So, if you are looking for the best nursery for your child in Padiham or live nearby in Hapton, Rose Grove, Burnley, Altham, Huncoat, Read, Simonstone, Sabden, Higham or Wood End, contact us to explore a possible place for your child at our exceptional nursery and preschool. We’ll be happy to answer any questions, show you and your little one around, or register your child for a childcare place.


British Land Mammals – Free Poster for Children

British Land Mammals – Free Poster for Children

Last month, we published 20 Benefits of Nature to Children, which explained the profoundly positive impact that nature has on children. Indeed, it can transform their lives cognitively, emotionally, spiritually, creatively, and even academically. With that in mind, we continue our series of free nature-based posters that children and families can download and print out. Today’s poster is all about British* Land Mammals. Children can display it in their rooms or print it out as a reference sheet to use when out in nature. How many of the mammals can your child name — or spot over the coming months?

“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” – Albert Einstein

The free poster features high-resolution reference images of 20 land mammals that can be spotted in Britain, including anything from badgers to weasels. There are several types of deer, plus mice, foxes, hares, hedgehogs, rabbits, squirrels and more for children to name and try to spot when out and about. Some, like red squirrels, for example, are less commonly seen than others — but that’s all part of this challenge! Here’s a preview:

Preview of the free poster featuring 20 land mammals that can be spotted in Britain. Click to download.

Click the poster image or this link to first download the poster in Acrobat PDF format, then either view it on a screen or print it out using your printer’s best printing settings and paper for best results.

Other Free Nature-Based Posters Available for Kids

The British Land Mammals poster is part of a growing set of nature-based posters that children and families can freely download and collect from this nursery website. They are attractive and educational — and little ones generally love animals. Other wildlife posters in the same series include minibeasts, birds, and butterflies, plus an autumn nature hunt poster that’s along similar lines.

“Because little nature lovers grow into big nature lovers.” – Unknown

More Reasons to Get Children Interested in Nature

As well as the benefits of nature already mentioned, getting children interested in the Great Outdoors will also benefit their fitness, knowledge, empathy, and awareness of ecological matters. Learning that we need to nurture nature and look after the future of the planet are all things that can come from an interest in nature in childhood. So, downloading today’s poster may well become a step along the path to a healthier lifestyle and greener choices for a child. As the saying goes, “from little seeds grow mighty trees” and that’s a perfect metaphor to illustrate where the simple act of printing out nature-based posters could lead for any child.

“Children are born with a sense of wonder and an affinity for nature. Properly cultivated, these values can mature into ecological literacy, and eventually into sustainable patterns of living.” – Zenobia Barlow

Nature Around Little Acorns Nursery & Padiham, Lancashire

Little Acorns Nursery & Preschool is in Padiham, Lancashire, near Hapton, Rose Grove, Burnley, Altham, Huncoat, Read, Simonstone, Sabden, Higham and Wood End. Children and families from Little Acorns Nursery in Padiham are lucky to be surrounded by parks, hills, waterways and Lancashire countryside. Here, a rich variety of wildlife may be seen, including perhaps some of the mammals featured today. Patience, perseverance, self-control, active listening, and a degree of quietness will be needed if some of the more shy creatures are to be spotted. Those are all good skills for children to practise, though.

“If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder … he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in.” – Rachel Carson

At our Padiham nursery, we also ensure that children get to spend time in our lovely garden and its wild zone. These are regularly adapted to complement specific learning topics being covered in the nursery’s curriculum, as well as to suit children’s individual nature-based interests.

If you are considering sending your baby or child under five to our excellent childcare nursery and preschool, please select an option below:

It may help to know that our nursery/preschool is also close to families in Hapton, Rose Grove, Burnley, Altham, Huncoat, Read, Simonstone, Sabden, Higham and Wood End.

  • * For the purpose of this poster, British refers to those mammals that can be seen and found in Britain. While not all of those featured were originally indigenous to the British Isles, they’re here now and are therefore an integral part of today’s Britain.
Get Ready for Pyjamarama 2024

Get Ready for Pyjamarama 2024

Get ready for Pyjamarama 2024. This year it arrives on Friday 17th of May in nurseries, preschools, schools and homes all around the Nation. That date is not carved in stone, though, as some settings may find an alternative date more convenient for their particular circumstances.

What is Pyjamarama?

Pyjamarama is a one-day fundraising event that's organised through the children's reading charity BookTrust.Pyjamarama is a one-day fundraising event that’s organised through the children’s reading charity BookTrust. It takes place each year across a variety of UK settings including homes, schools, preschools, nurseries and more. As well as being great fun for those organising and taking part, the initiative is beneficial to millions of disadvantaged children. The ultimate aim is to raise money to fund the purchase of books and resources, so that every child in the UK gets the chance for bedtime stories and each family has proper reading opportunities. The initiative is hugely popular, great fun, and transforms lives. Today, we take a look at what to expect, how to get involved, and the many benefits of Pyjamarama.

“Spend a day in your pyjamas to raise money for BookTrust and be part of something amazing.”

How Does Pyjamarama Work?

Settings like Little Acorns Nursery in Padiham first register with the Pyjamarama fundraising scheme, well ahead of the event date. In return, they receive a free downloadable fundraising pack. This contains information and activity resources that they’ll be able to use with the nursery children on Pyjamarama day as well as things like posters to publicise the event. Access to BookTrust’s Pyjamarama Hub will also be given. This allows access to additional resources and activity ideas for children to take part in.

On the day itself, the idea is for children and staff to come to the nursery/preschool dressed in pyjamas to add an extra element of fun. Having said that, PJs are not obligatory — children can wear something else if they prefer, for example colourful T-shirts. Either way, we ask that each child brings £1 with them. This will be donated to the BookTrust charity to raise money for disadvantaged children, who might otherwise not have access to bedtime stories. The ensuing day will be relaxed and fun, with time spent together reading and sharing stories, watching specially-recorded videos from children’s favourite authors and taking part in a whole host of other fun, reading- and story-related activities.

At the end of the day, children who took part in Pyjamarama will receive certificates to take home. All money raised by the children and setting will subsequently be sent off to the fundraising team at BookTrust.

Pyjamarama is Fun, Educational & Worthwhile

Pyjamarama raises funds to give disadvantaged children and their families opportunities for reading and bedtime stories.Pyjamarama is always a fun day for both adults and children. The added aspect of pyjamas makes it special, quirky and relaxed. And, at the end of the day, it’s incredibly worthwhile. Not only does it raise money to give disadvantaged children and their families opportunities for reading and bedtime stories, but it also encourages those children taking part in Pyjamarama to read more, for pleasure as much as anything. Additionally, it gives children a different perspective and encourages altruism and empathy for others less fortunate than themselves.

“Raise vital funds to help every child get a bedtime story.”

How Pyjamarama Helps Disadvantaged Children

Every £1 helps. So, children and parents — please get involved. Here’s how fundraising can typically help:

  • £25 is enough to provide 15 under-fives from deprived communities with books and reading resources.
  • £50 is enough to provide an entire class of primary school children with a selection of books to share and read at home.
  • £100 would allow the BookTrust charity to help teenagers in a struggling secondary school reconnect with reading.

How Can You Get Involved?

“Through Pyjamarama we want to help support the children who are at risk of missing out on the joy and confidence that bedtime stories provide.”

If you haven’t already seen them, look out for posters and a letter to parents highlighting the date for Pyjamarama at your child’s setting this year. On the day, please ensure your child goes to nursery/preschool or school with £1 and is ideally dressed in PJs although, as we said before, it’s not obligatory — but is a lot of fun when everyone joins in.

More details and a FAQ about getting involved in Pyjamarama as a setting or individual can be found here.

“Naomi has seen how reading takes her into imaginary worlds and helps her deal with everyday worries and is amazed how it is also helping her to do well in all subjects at school.”

Little Acorns Nursery & Preschool, Padiham

High-Quality Weekday Childcare in Padiham, Lancashire

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

Babies and under-fives get the very best start at Little Acorns Nursery in Padiham. As well as offering a convenient childcare service in a loving and homely environment, children also receive a comprehensive early years education at Little Acorns. We also support all Government-funded free childcare schemes including free childcare hours for eligible 2-year-olds and free childcare hours for eligible 3 and 4-year-olds. Contact us if you’d like to register your child for a childcare place. Or, if you’re not yet sure, why not arrange a guided tour? We can show you and your little one around to see how well they fit in. We’re also here to answer any questions. Please choose a button to get started:

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

Little Acorns is a nursery and preschool in Padiham, (BB12), also being conveniently close by for those in Hapton, Rose Grove, Burnley, Altham, Huncoat, Read, Simonstone, Sabden, Higham, and Wood End.

BookTrust is a Registered Charity, number 313343.

20 Benefits of Nature to Children - Including Under-5s

20 Benefits of Nature to Children - Including Under-5s

Nature is incredibly beneficial to children.One of the many reasons we love nature and nature-based children’s activities here at Little Acorns Nursery is that nature is incredibly beneficial to children. What’s more, the benefits start right from their earliest years and are profoundly powerful to little ones. There have been many studies about this over the years and they all seem to conclude that nature is incredibly good for us all, especially so during the early years. Today’s post looks at 20 of the key benefits that spending time in and around nature holds for children and, with Spring now upon us, it’s the perfect time to begin getting little ones outside more, weather permitting.

1. Nature Stimulates Imaginations & Creativity

The natural world is an amazing and multi-faceted place, brim-full of wonder and fascinating flora, fauna, landscapes and terrains. As such, it’s a place where children will naturally play, build, create, invent and imagine. Young imaginations can simply explode with creative ideas; such is the range of possibilities that are available to children who spend time out in nature.

2. Nature is Good for the Body

Spending time in nature will help children hone fine and gross motor skills, and improve coordination, balance, and fitness.Spending time in and around nature means children are more likely to be active, for example, walking, running, skipping, climbing, playing, making, or simply building a den. Such activities will not only help them hone fine and gross motor skills, but will also improve coordination, balance, and fitness. Those skills will help them day-to-day while expending energy in this way will help them maintain a healthy weight and body-mass index.

3. Nature is Good for the Mind & Spirit

When the world is getting on top of you, time spent in or around nature is sure to be a great antidote, even for children. Spending time in nature is known to reduce stress, relieve depression, lower anxiety levels and naturally give people, including children, a greater feeling of well-being.

4. Nature Gives Children Freedom

Nature gives children a huge sense of freedom.One of the more obvious benefits of nature is that it gives children a huge sense of freedom that they might not otherwise experience. Being in The Great Outdoors allows children, under appropriate supervision, to run, explore, and play in ways that are far more free than in any other situation. This will also give them a huge sense of natural joy.

5. Nature Facilitates Discovery

Time spent close to nature aids natural discovery too and that’s never more important than in children’s formative years. Out in the natural world, there are a myriad of amazing things to discover, whether they’re flowers, trees, blossoms, insects, minibeasts, animals, birds, or seasons. Even rocks can be fascinating! Discovering new things first-hand is a perfect way for children to learn more about the natural world around them — and their place within it.

6. Nature Promotes Profound Thinking

All this discovery and freedom will spark natural questions in the minds of children. What does this do?” … “Why does it look and behave like it does?” … “How did it get here?” Indeed, “How did I get here?”. Nature encourages children to think about the world in new, profound ways. Such questions are a healthy part of every childhood; they help children learn, and may even lead to careers in such things as science, medicine, or research.

7. Nature is a Feast for the Senses

Through the senses, children will learn more about the world and generate millions of new connections in their developing brains.The stimulation of the senses is never more important than during children’s early years and spending time in nature is the perfect vehicle through which to do so. With so many colours, sounds, smells, textures and even (under adult supervision) tastes available in the natural world, it is indeed a feast for children’s senses. Through the senses, children will learn more about the world and generate millions of new connections in their developing brains. It’s almost magical!

8. Nature Fosters a Sense of Responsibility

When a child is tasked with feeding animals or tending to growing seeds and plants, they will naturally gain a sense of responsibility. After all, feeding and watering flora and fauna is literally a matter of life and death when you think about it. So, allowing children to become more responsible and to look after someone or something else is one of life’s most valuable and important lessons.

9. Nature Promotes Empathy

Nature can also promote feelings of empathy in children. That’s another key trait for children to nurture, and nature will help them achieve it. Whether they’re looking after a plant, feeding a bird or animal, or simply observing them, such activities will help many to put themselves in another living thing’s shoes. Fostering greater empathy is a great skill to develop and will stand children in good stead into adulthood.

10. Nature Fosters Environmental Consciousness

Being around nature can help children lean towards environmental issues, learn about the problems, and become part of the solution.Being around nature regularly can also help children lean naturally towards environmental issues, learn about the problems and become part of the solution. An appreciation of nature is indeed the first step towards becoming environmentally conscious and proactive. That’s a great thing for the planet, particularly as today’s children will become tomorrow’s custodians of the Earth.

11. Nature Gives a Sense of Perspective

Nature is also a great leveller. When issues are troubling children at home or day-to-day, spending a little time in nature, surrounded by beautiful trees, flowers, wildlife and landscapes, will help to put things into perspective. Sometimes seeing the bigger picture can help children see the little things for what they really are. That’s a healthy thing too.

12. Nature Helps Children Academically

Studies over recent decades have shown that, if children spend time in and around nature, they perform better academically. Findings include improved reading, writing, mathematics and even better test results.

13. Nature Improves Concentration in the Classroom

Part of the above may be to do with improved concentration following time spent in and around nature. For example, children coming in from a break in the park or the setting’s garden are shown to have greater focus, i.e. improved concentration once they return. It’s almost as if nature recharged them! Even a simple view of nature from the classroom window has been shown to help children’s performance in the classroom — which is incredible when you think about it.

14. Nature Supports the EYFS Goals

A key part of the education of children under five is the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). This is an important framework that prescribes the format, content and approach that will benefit children significantly during their early years learning and development. A set of EYFS ‘goals’ is part of that and spending time around nature helps children achieve many of those goals, particularly with respect to understanding the world, physical development, communication and language, and personal, social and emotional development. We’ll follow up with more information about the EYFS in a separate guide in due course.

15. Time Spent in Nature Improves Sleep Quality

Studies also show that spending time out in nature helps children to sleep more deeply. Sleep, particularly deep sleep, is immensely good for children and adults alike, so that’s hugely important and will help young minds and bodies to recharge and refresh.

16. Nature Promotes a Healthier Lifestyle

Spending all this time outdoors, and it being so interesting and a lot of fun, means it’s more likely that children will have an interest in nature and outdoor life when they’re older. That’s healthy for them in all the ways described in this article, and can therefore only enrich their lives and encourage healthier lifestyles into adulthood.

17. Nature Enhances Social Skills

Spending time in nature can boost confidence, language, communication and social skills.Children generally team up with friends when they’re playing and exploring outdoors. Spending time playing together in natural environments fosters many different kinds of interaction. This can boost confidence, language, communication and social skills. Stronger bonds and a deeper understanding of peers are likely to form from this.

18. Nature Helps Children Build Additional Skills

Playing, learning, creating and discovering with friends in natural environments will present both opportunities and challenges. These are great for the development of skills like teamwork, cooperation, leadership, problem-solving, critical thinking, the assessment of risk and more. Such skills will be useful throughout children’s lives.

19. Time Spent in Nature Opens Up Possibilities

When children spend time around nature, all kinds of possibilities open up to them. These include the chance for discovery, learning, adventure, invention, hobbies and even careers that are in some way linked to or influenced by childhood exposure to nature. Conservationists, zookeepers, wildlife photographers, travel writers, explorers and even some TV presenters ended up doing their jobs because they connected to nature from an early age.

20. Spending Time Around Nature is Great Fun!

We should not forget one hugely important aspect of nature — spending time around it in childhood is huge fun! The natural world opens up endless opportunities, adventures, new places, discoveries and new ways for children to be entertained. It’s no wonder that children love being outdoors so much — the joy is clear to see on their faces whenever they spend time in The Great Outdoors.

With all that in mind, the overall message is to give children safe access to nature as often as possible — it’s incredibly good for them and nature teaches them so much.

Nature at Little Acorns Nursery, Padiham

Little Acorns Nursery & Preschool is in Padiham, Lancashire, near Hapton, Rose Grove, Burnley, Altham, Huncoat, Read, Simonstone, Sabden, Higham and Wood End. At Little Acorns Nursery in Padiham, we know just how important nature is to children. That’s why the nursery has its beautiful garden, a wild zone, a mud kitchen and a planting area where children can get hands-on with nature. We often adapt such areas to suit particular learning activities that children are focusing on at specific times of the year.

To enquire about a place for your child at Little Acorns Nursery, please get in touch using one of the following options:

Our high-quality nursery/preschool in Padiham is also conveniently located for those nearby who require a childcare nursery near Hapton, Rose Grove, Burnley, Altham, Huncoat, Read, Simonstone, Sabden, Higham and Wood End.


It’s 5-Star Food & Fun at Little Acorns Nursery in Padiham

It’s been five-star food, fun, and feasting at the Nursery during February this year! Children enjoyed making and eating pancakes, parents got to eat breakfast with nursery staff and children for Valentine’s Day, our 5-Star Food Hygiene rating was awarded again for another year, and our little ones even got involved in our Recipe of the Month. We’ll spill all the beans for you below, although not literally of course.

A Renewed 5-Star Food & Hygiene Rating

Little Acorns Nursery, Padiham, has been awarded a 5-star rating for Food Hygiene by the Food Standards Agency.Our Padiham nursery had its annual inspection by the local Environmental Health Officer recently. The purpose was to ensure, as required in all settings serving food, that Little Acorns Nursery has high standards of hygiene and follows the food preparation guidelines specified by the UK’s Food Standards Agency. Once again, Little Acorns Nursery passed with flying colours, achieving a full 5-star rating. That’s the best rating possible and reflects the highest levels of quality for food preparation, the food itself, cleanliness, and competence of staff. So, our thanks and utmost respect go to Kim, our in-house chef/cook, whose high standards, skill and expertise do the children and the nursery proud.

Recipe of the Month

To expand their learning and development and to nurture children’s interests, nursery children get heavily involved in our Recipe of the Month each month — and it’s been no different during the first part of the year. For January, it was the inclement weather that influenced the outcome of the new year’s first Recipe of the Month. Having witnessed snow, rain, hailstone and wind in recent times, the decision was made to choose a warm and healthy meal and, indeed, the final choice went down a storm! The recipe chosen for January was Warm Winter Stew.

One of the Little Acorns Nursery children peeling potatoes for January's Recipe of the Month.Because the recipe heavily involved potatoes, this also tied in nicely with the book Supertato, which our preschoolers have been looking at in tandem with discussions about food and the importance of a healthy diet. The photo shows one of the children peeling potatoes. Others peeled vegetables and even made their own dumplings. The fun activity helped to nurture children’s learning and the development of new skills and knowledge. The final result was both tasty and a huge hit with the little ones!

Recipe of the Month for February almost decided itself, as you’ll see below…

Pancake Time!

Nursery children loved mixing ingredients to make pancake batter on Pancake Day.Shrove Tuesday, a.k.a. Pancake Day, arrived on the 13th of February and it gave us a great opportunity to organise pancake-themed activities for the nursery/preschool children … for the entire week! After all, who doesn’t love pancakes? So, as you’ve no doubt guessed by now, our Recipe of the Month for February was home-made pancakes and it’s a recipe the children really enjoyed getting involved in. They loved mixing ingredients in a bowl to make their own pancake mix. We even set up a ‘Pancake Bar’ (see the main photo at the top), which included lots of yummy toppings that children could use to decorate their pancakes. The toppings included strawberries, bananas, chocolate spread, jam, lemon, sprinkles, honey and cream.

The theme continued all week with further pancake-themed activities laid on for the children. Even the toddlers had fun as they recreated pancake-making by ‘pat-pat-patting’ play-doh pancakes at the play-doh table in the nursery’s home corner.

On Valentine’s Day, the Food Theme Continued

Food prepared for Valentine's Day at the nursery.Valentine’s Day, which arrived on the 14th of February, also involved lots of food. After all, as the saying goes, it is often thought of as the language of love! At the nursery, we organised a lovely Grab ‘n’ Go Breakfast for our parents. This was followed by a special 3-course Valentine’s Day meal for our children in our lovely new dining room, which was set up like a little restaurant (see the photos). Children had sausage rolls to start, cheesy chicken and red pepper pasta for the main course and strawberry mousse – with sprinkles – for pudding. Accompanying this was some delicious blackcurrant juice. It all went down a treat with our nursery children, as did several other activities that were themed towards Valentine’s Day.

Healthy Meals & Snacks at Little Acorns Nursery, Padiham

Our talented in-house chef Kim ensures children receive healthy, nutritious and balanced meals.Kim, our talented in-house chef, prepares tasty home-made meals and healthy snacks for children at the nursery. Meals are prepared freshly, on site, using high-quality ingredients, which are locally sourced whenever possible. They are delicious as well as being nutritionally balanced to include a healthy mix of fish, meat, pulses and vegetables. Learn more about our menus and our approach to serving children here. The link also includes some new example menus that we’ve recently put together.

Special Diets are Catered For

All diets are catered for at Little Acorns Nursery, so if your child is allergic to anything, is vegetarian, vegan, or requires things like halal or kosher food, simply let us know and we’ll make the appropriate arrangements.

Little Acorns Nursery

High-Quality Weekday Childcare in Padiham, Lancashire (BB12)

Little Acorns Nursery & Preschool is in Padiham, Lancashire, near Hapton, Rose Grove, Burnley, Altham, Huncoat, Read, Simonstone, Sabden, Higham and Wood End. If you have a baby or child under five and require the best weekday childcare service near Padiham in Lancashire, do consider Little Acorns Nursery. As well as looking after little ones, we give them a high-quality early years education too. Indeed, we bring out the very best in every child and help them achieve personal bests across the board, so they’re ‘school-ready’ by the time they leave us to begin school around the age of five. Contact us if you’d like your child to have the very best start in life — we’ll help children grow into the very best version of themselves, so they’re ready to take on the world and thrive! We’d be delighted to show you and your little one around and you’ll soon see how well they will fit into our warm, caring, and homely environment.

Get in touch today to explore more about a childcare place at Little Acorns Nursery, Padiham.

Little Acorns Nursery & Preschool in Padiham may also suit families in nearby towns and villages including Hapton, Rose Grove, Burnley, Altham, Huncoat, Read, Simonstone, Sabden, Higham and Wood End.

New & Improved Dining at Little Acorns Nursery, Padiham, Lancs.

New & Improved Dining at Little Acorns Nursery, Padiham

Recent months have seen some positive new changes at Little Acorns Nursery in Padiham, which will improve the lives and experiences of children at the setting. One such change is the implementation of a new, self-contained dining room, designed specifically to recreate the feel of family mealtimes. Today’s post explains how we went about it, what form the new dining room takes and, most importantly, how this new space will benefit the children under our care. We also cover our approach to the children’s food menu, which has been updated as part of our Healthy Child Programme. Let us know if you have any feedback!

The New Great Oaks Dining Room

Attractive William Morris-style wallpaper was hung on a ‘feature’ wall.To make way for the new children’s dining room, an existing room at the setting was repurposed and totally revamped. Starting in Summer 2023, the contents of the existing room were sorted and relocated where needed, leaving a wonderful new space to use as the new ‘Great Oaks’ dining room. Walls, ceilings and skirting boards were prepared and freshened up with new paint. Attractive William Morris-style wallpaper was also hung on a ‘feature’ wall. Large canvas wall images were displayed to form interesting focal points and storage was added in the form of a large cabinet and a small cupboard. Large and small dining room tables and chairs were added for the different age groups along with high chairs, which will be close at hand whenever needed. All this sits on a durable floor with an attractive wood finish. All in all, the outcome is a pleasant home-from-home for children.

How the New Dining Room will Benefit Children

This new ‘Great Oaks’ dining room has been designed to benefit children in several specific ways…

  • The new dining space is designed to recreate family meals at home.As well as simply being a pleasant and highly functional place for children and staff to eat and drink, the new space is designed to recreate family meals at home. Eating meals here with peers and childcare practitioners will have a cosy, homely, feel, rather like being part of an extended family. The space lends itself to a convivial atmosphere where children can recharge and relax as well as eat and drink.
  • It’s a distraction-free environment too. When combined with the relaxed atmosphere, this allows free-flowing conversations and interactions to take place. Children can then discuss things like their interests, what they’ve been doing at home, what they have enjoyed at nursery, and so on.
  • This opens up natural communication pathways between our children and practitioners, allowing staff to learn much more about each child’s likes, dislikes, areas of challenge, model language, and so on. By discovering such feedback, practitioners are then able to follow each child’s lead and build appropriate content, resources and activities into their learning environment and bespoke learning plan.

The Menu Board

  • Our chalk menu board communicates which delicious meal combinations our in-house chef has lined up for the week.Another area of focus for one of the walls is the new chalk menu board. This is an attractive feature and one that communicates which delicious meal combinations our in-house chef has lined up for the week. Our practitioners talk children through the menu board each day to spark both interest and conversations with them. As well as being a great way to let them know what food to expect, the chalkboard menu is also another opportunity for little ones to begin to link letters to words and ultimately to real-life things that they’ll encounter.

The Menu Itself

  • Our talented in-house chef Kim ensures children receive healthy, nutritious, and balanced meals.As part of our Healthy Child Programme, our menus were thoughtfully reviewed back in the summer of 2023. Through Kim, our talented in-house chef, children receive delicious, home-made meals, which are freshly made with high-quality ingredients. Kim ensures children receive a healthy and nutritious balance between meat, fish, vegetables and pulses.

Our Approach to Serving

  • To encourage and continually promote independence, Chef Kim serves components of the meals separately. This gives the children the opportunity to choose and, for older children, self-serve how much they would like of each type of food. This is approached in an age- and stage-appropriate way. Our older Seedlings, for example, will be supported in holding the large serving spoon and the portioning out of their meals. For children from the Little Acorns Room, the serving bowl is passed around the table with nursery practitioners supporting children if they need help.
  • Small details such as the cupboards, mirror and wallpaper make the new space feel like a home-from-home.As well as promoting independence, this approach also encourages useful feedback from children in respect of any likes, dislikes or opinions that they may have about each meal.


  • We have also implemented a face washing station for the children. As well as promoting good hygiene, this encourages their development within the area of self-care, helps the children develop enhanced gross motor skills, and allows the children’s confidence to grow when faced with such new challenges.

Menu Examples

The menu at Little Acorns Nursery rotates on a 4-week basis. Here’s what’s on offer this term (Spring 2024):

  • Mixed Mediterranean vegetable pasta
  • Vegetable chilli with tortilla chips
  • Mac ‘n’ broccoli cheese
  • Spaghetti Bolognaise with garlic bread

All in all, the new dining experience at Little Acorns Nursery has been a huge success and it’s not just about how homely the newly refurbished room is. By allowing the children the freedom to serve themselves, we have noticed children are promoting good manners themselves, taking turns nicely, cooperating beautifully, and even helping other children who may require extra support. Above all, though, we have found that our children are now eating more at meal times — and that’s a wonderful outcome!

Little Acorns Nursery School, Padiham

Little Acorns Nursery & Preschool is in Padiham, Lancashire, near Hapton, Rose Grove, Burnley, Altham, Huncoat, Read, Simonstone, Sabden, Higham and Wood End. Little Acorns is a wonderful nursery and preschool located in Padiham, Lancashire, also serving nearby families from Hapton, Rose Grove, Burnley, Altham, Huncoat, Read, Simonstone, Sabden, Higham and Wood End. If you’d like your baby, toddler or preschooler to have the very best start in life, do get in touch to explore the possibility of them attending Little Acorns Nursery. We’ll make them feel right at home from the start and help to bring out the best in them. By helping them become the best version of themselves during their time with us, they’ll eventually leave us suitably prepared for school — and ready to thrive!

Get in touch today to discuss a nursery/preschool place for your child, arrange a guided tour of the setting, or ask any questions. We’re here to help and cannot wait to meet you and your little one!

World's Biggest Garden Wildlife Survey – & Children Can Play Their Part

The World's Biggest Garden Wildlife Survey – & Children Can Play Their Part

The Big Garden Birdwatch is organised by the RSPB each year.Children, adults, and whole families are gearing up to take part in the world’s biggest garden wildlife survey in early 2024. Organised by the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds), the Big Garden Birdwatch requires just one hour of your time during late January 2024. It’s free, hugely worthwhile, and will benefit nature, conservation, and children themselves. So, why not set a date for your diary and take part? Today’s post explains how to enrol, what to do, and how it will benefit all parties involved.

Why The Big Garden Birdwatch is So Important

Song thrushes have declined by 80% since the survey began.The Big Garden Birdwatch is designed to keep tabs on wild bird populations in the UK. It’s a survey that’s been undertaken across the UK every year since 1979 and allows the RSPB and conservationists to monitor whether any bird species are under threat. Sadly, survey findings in recent years have found this to be the case, with overall bird populations having declined by a staggering 38 million in the last 60 years. Song thrushes alone, for example, have declined by 80% and even the UK’s most populous bird species, House Sparrows, have declined by 57% since the survey began.

By continuing with the survey each year, insights will be gained as to whether populations are growing or shrinking over time. Only by watching such trends can conservationists decide what needs to be done to help reverse any decline and help birds thrive once again. Declines in bird populations may even be an indicator of wider problems within nature, for example, because of chemical use in crop farming or even  inappropriate Government environmental policy. So, this is important and every one of us can easily play our part.

More Reasons for Families & Children to Take Part

This activity is a great way to get children outdoors, close to nature, and to introduce them to the concept of nature conservation.The Big Garden Birdwatch is also a great way to get children outdoors, close to nature, and to introduce them to the concept of nature conservation. By taking part, children can contribute to bird conservation as well as directly benefit in a number of ways themselves. For example, they can learn to identify different types of birds, educate themselves about these wild creatures and the natural environment, enjoy the fresh air while escaping from electronic screens, and enjoy all the many benefits that nature holds for children. Nature and the Great Outdoors are hugely beneficial to children, whether physically, spiritually, cognitively, educationally, or simply in terms of improving overall well-being. Nature benefits children in an incredible number of ways — follow the bold link for more details.

How to Enrol in the Big Garden Birdwatch 2024

Once enrolled, you'll then be sent a free guide with visual reference of the birds to look out for during your survey.Enrolling your child or family into 2024’s Big Garden Birdwatch is easy and free. Simply register here and you’ll then be sent a free guide including visual reference of the birds you may see during your survey. Whether you receive a digital guide or a printed one will depend on your preferences selected when signing up. The guide will tell you/your child exactly what to do, but we also give you a brief flavour below.

How to Take Part in the Big Garden Birdwatch Survey

In brief, here’s what you, your child, or your family will need to do sometime during the period starting on Friday the 26th of January 2024 and ending on Sunday the 28th:

  1. Keep a tally of the maximum number of birds of each species that have actually landed at any one time on your survey patch.Decide on a natural spot where you’ll undertake your hour’s birdwatch. Your garden, local park or even a balcony will do fine.
  2. Taking care to stay unseen and unheard by visiting birds, keep a tally of the maximum number of birds of each species that have actually landed at any one time on your survey patch during the hour. Don’t count any that haven’t landed.
  3. Between the 26th of January and no later than the 18th of February 2024, you can report your findings online at www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch
    Alternatively, if you are using the physical survey form from the RSPB’s printed guide, post it to FREEPOST RSPB BIG GARDEN BIRDWATCH by the 13th of February 2024.

By contributing to this crucial conservation project, children will be doing their bit for our little feathered friends – and the planet. What’s more, it’s great fun!

Learn more about how to take part in the Big Garden Birdwatch survey here.

If your children enjoy the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch, encourage them to download our free poster that identifies 40 different species.Enjoying Birdwatching?

If you find that your children enjoy the activity, please encourage them to download our own Bird Identifier poster, which features 40 British birds that they can look out for during the year. It’s free and more information about our free bird poster is available here.

Nature & Children Go Hand-in-Hand at Little Acorns Nursery, Padiham

Little Acorns Nursery & Preschool is in Padiham, Lancashire, near Hapton, Rose Grove, Burnley, Altham, Huncoat, Read, Simonstone, Sabden, Higham and Wood End. We love nature at Little Acorns Nursery in Padiham! Here, children can play outdoors in our wonderful garden, which features its own wild area, planting area and even a mud kitchen. We know how good nature and the outdoors are for children, particularly in their early years, so actively encourage them to take part and benefit from everything they offer.

To enrol your baby, toddler or preschooler at Little Acorns Nursery in Padiham, please get in touch using an option below. We look forward to receiving your call, nursery application, message or tour request whenever you’re ready.

We are a high-quality nursery and preschool in Padiham, Lancashire, BB12. As such, we may also suit families who require outstanding childcare services near Hapton, Rose Grove, Burnley, Altham, Huncoat, Read, Simonstone, Sabden, Higham and Wood End. We support various free childcare schemes too, making childcare services more affordable for eligible families.

Let's Go on an Autumn Nature Hunt – a Fun Outdoor Activity for Children!

Our autumn nature hunt is a fun, educational activity for children that also comes with a free reference sheet.As leaves start to blanket the ground and the earthy scents of autumn begin to infuse the air, it’s the perfect time to engage children in a captivating adventure that celebrates the season. In today’s post, we’ll introduce you to an Autumn Nature Hunt, an exciting outdoor activity for children that’s not only entertaining but also educational.

Explore the Beauty of Autumn with a Nature Scavenger Hunt

The autumn season offers a unique opportunity to immerse children in the wonders of nature. The changing colours of leaves, the falling acorns, and the crisp air make it an ideal time for outdoor exploration. This nature-based treasure hunt is designed to get children of all ages outdoors, closer to nature, where they can enjoy the many benefits that outdoor play and exposure to the natural world provide.

Download Your Free Reference Sheet

To make this autumn-themed nature hunt even more enjoyable, we’ve created a reference sheet that children can use to check off the items they find. This sheet should keep them engaged and help them learn about the beauty of the season. N.B. supervising adults will need to decide whether children should simply spot the items or collect them. Factors including hygiene, safety considerations and the child’s age and abilities should inform their decision.

Download this free reference sheet for the autumn-themed nature hunt. (Click to save/download).

What You’ll Need

Before the commencement of this adventure, ensure your child has the following:

  1. Our free reference sheet. We’ve prepared a free reference sheet that features images of various natural items children can look for during their outdoor excursion. The A4 sheet includes leaves of specific colours, catkins, wild hazelnuts, pine cones, acorns, oak leaves, pine needles, ‘winged’ seeds, horse chestnuts, sweet chestnuts, pumpkins, cereal crops, sunflowers that are now turning to seed, and even some fruit that may be found at this time of year. It’s available below, for free, in Acrobat PDF format and you can download and print it for your convenience.
  2. Adult supervision in place. Ensure that adult supervision is available, especially for the youngest children. Safety is a priority, so be certain to keep the kids out of harm’s way while they explore.
  3. Safety precautions. Teach the children about safety precautions. For example, emphasise the importance of not running off out of sight, avoiding poisonous items like fungi, not touching berries, keeping all items away from mouths, and being cautious around things like chestnut cases, which have sharp points.
  4. Good hygiene. Encourage the little explorers to exercise good hygiene practices and wash their hands thoroughly after the adventure.

The Autumn Nature Hunt is a fantastic way to connect children with the wonders of nature, encourage outdoor play, and create lasting memories. So, download the reference sheet, gather your young explorers, and set out on a journey through the enchanting autumn landscape. Remember to emphasise safety, ensure adult supervision, and cherish the opportunity to immerse your kids in the beauty of the season. Enjoy your autumn adventure!

Little Acorns Nursery, Padiham, Lancashire

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

We understand the incredible importance of nature and outdoor play to children; they bring enormous benefits to children of all ages. So many, in fact, that we’ll publish separate guides on those benefits in the near future. So, watch this space.

Little Acorns is a high-quality childcare nursery in Padiham, Lancashire, offering the very best childcare and early education to babies, toddlers and preschoolers. As well as giving little ones the very best start in life and ensuring they are as ‘school-ready’ as possible by the time they leave us, we help them to become the very best version of themselves. Part of this is achieved through a learning and development programme that’s tailored to them as individuals. In this way, they achieve personal bests across all areas of their development.

If you would like to explore the possibility of sending your baby, toddler or preschooler to Little Acorns Nursery, please get in touch using one of the following options:

Little Acorns is a nursery and preschool located in Padiham, Lancashire (BB12), also convenient for families seeking high-quality childcare near Hapton, Rose Grove, Burnley, Altham, Huncoat, Read, Simonstone, Sabden, Higham or Wood End.

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.