WWT’s wetland centres are great places to take in some fresh air and appreciate what the great outdoors has to offer, but with our centres currently closed now’s the perfect time to explore what’s around you. From local streams, ponds and lakes what watery places will you find?
It may still be chilly out, but getting outside for some fresh air and exercise is one of the best ways we can boost our wellbeing. And we know it can be hard to motivate the kids when you’ve done the same walk 10 times. So, to help change things up, we’ve pulled together some activities with a wetlands twist to help you have fun this half term.
However, not everyone (yet!) has the luxury of a wildlife-filled wetland in their local area, and some people might need to stay at home. Or, you might just want to stay snuggly and warm for a while – there’s nothing wrong with that! So we’ve also collected together ideas to bring the outside in through creative crafts that are so much more fulfilling than another afternoon watching TV.
Wet weather can only mean one thing…
It’s time to find the biggest puddle you can and jump right in! If it’s a rainy day, get your wellies and waterproofs on and wrap up warm so you can splash around in comfort. If you’re feeling brave, you could even do a rain dance. How big a splash can you make?
Wintry weather doesn’t always have to mean staying inside. Download our winter guide winter wetland guide for more ideas on making the most of winter nature and improving your wellbeing.
Go duck spotting
All week this half term the Prince of Wales Trust are setting interactive and creative challenges on their Instagram. This Wednesday, we’re excited to be setting a very special Waterside Wednesday Challenge based around one of our best-known wetland birds – the duck!
Details of the challenge can be found on Instagram.
Be an urban wetland ranger
It’s a myth that you can only find amazing natural sights in the country. At this time of year, it’s a great time to look closer at your local river, pond, lake or marshes, with lots of bird life busily preparing for spring. You might even start to see buds and catkins appearing on some wetland plants.
Check out our urban birds spotter sheet for some of the most common species you might encounter.
Make a mini pond
Did you know that early spring is the beginning of breeding season for frogs, toads and newts? They need healthy wetlands with lots of oxygenating plants to find a mate and lay their eggs. To help them, why not try making a mini pond or a toad hall? Amphibians are declining worldwide so need all the help we can give.
Complete the senses scavenger hunt
Enjoying nature isn’t just about looking. Our senses scavenger hunt is an ideal way to really open your mind to all the wonderful sensations nature has to offer. You can choose as many or as little items to find as you want, depending on how long you have.
Bringing nature indoors
The ancient Japanese art of origami has always been timeless fun, and is a great way for children to appreciate the natural world with its huge range of paper animal shapes. It’s also mindful and relaxing, not to mention cheap. All you need is a square of paper, and some decorations for personalizing your creation.
Watch our wildlife webcams
Are you missing our wetlands? Us too! Luckily, we have a few wildlife webcams where you can tune in and see what’s going on at some of our centres. It’s so peaceful to watch the wildlife going about their day, or catch a spectacular sunset or sunrise in the right weather accompanied by gentle splashing and sounds of the birds. Currently you can watch the goings-on at WWT Caerlaverock, Slimbridge and Llanelli. And keep an eye on our YouTube channel where we regularly post videos on wildlife and our conservation work.
Write a watery haiku
Poets and artists have been inspired by water and wetlands for hundreds of years, fascinated by their ever-changing nature and tranquility. Why not channel your inner Matsuo Basho and have a go at writing a watery wetland haiku? Follow the instructions in the image below to get started.
Make a collage using old Waterlife mags
We always look forward to receiving a new issue of Waterlife magazine, then spending a satisfying morning absorbed in its stories and breathtaking wildlife photography. Once you’ve finished reading your magazine, it’s always nice to keep it, but one way to reuse them is to carefully cut out your favourite images to form a whole new artistic creation. The sky is truly the limit and it’s amazing to see a picture forming from something that was originally totally different. All you need is some safety scissors, glue and a large piece of paper.
The Waterlife magazine wrap is completely compostable and you can recycle your magazine when you’re done crafting your masterpiece.
Make a bird feeder
We’ve all been really enjoying the birds we can see from our windows during lockdown, as they provide a wonderful lifeline to the outside world. So why not give something back and help them keep going over the winter when food is scarce by making a bird feeder?
If you don’t fancy making one or don’t have the time, we have a wide selection of bird feeders and food available from our online shop.
Help! I’ve run out of things to do…
We have plenty more nature-themed boredom busters to keep everyone entertained and occupied on our fun and learning hub.
Stay in the loop
You can keep up to date with the latest stories and news on the WWT blog. Although we’re in lockdown, our work behind the scenes is still continuing, as we prepare our wetlands ahead of the spring breeding season and continue our vital conservation work.Read the blog