Too many mince pies and Netflix? Feeling like it’s too long until the summer? Struggling with fewer opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors? Then read on….
As we navigate our way through tighter restrictions and fewer chances to exercise in our local neighbourhoods, it is easy to lose contact with the world around us. In January, we also tend to experience more difficult extremes of winter weather, making getting out and about even more difficult. However, by reconnecting with nature, you can become more relaxed and less stressed, even during this winter month. According to the UK’s mental health charity MIND, nature helps us to be more active and confident. What’s not to love? Read on for 5 family friendly ways to get closer to nature in January.
1. Join the Big Garden Birdwatch!
Bring nature closer to you later this month with help from the RSPB, by taking part in the world’s largest wildlife survey Although you might not be able to get together with loved ones at the moment, you can make plans with friends and family to join together for an hour between the 29th and 31st January. The Big Garden Birdwatch helps the RSPB, which is the largest nature conservation charity in the country, in tracking wildlife around the UK. There are also plenty of other activities which the whole family might want to take part in this month on its website, such as taking part in a “Wild Challenge”, “Upcycling for nature” or creating a bird bath! You can also complete a quiz to work out which garden bird you are… I’m a blackbird apparently!
2. Help a hedgehog!
You could build a hedgehog home if you have a garden with access for hedgehogs. According to Hedgehog Street, the population of Great Britain’s only spiny mammal has fallen considerably. We’ve lost a third of these wonderful creatures from our towns and cities and a half from our rural areas. By providing shelter and supporting this amazing charity, you can help these cute creatures to flourish.
3. Create a bug box!
The Woodland Trust has a great selection of ways to enjoy nature. It offers guidance on building a bug hotel on its website, as well as several resources to help little ones get inspired by nature in their own backyard. Building a bug hotel is a brilliant activity which the whole family can take part in, whilst helping wildlife on your doorstep. Elsewhere on the Woodland Trust’s website, you can find lots of other activities for children to do during the winter lockdown months such as making natural artwork and becoming a nature pirate or expert tree tracker. For more information, click here.
4. Walk for wildlife
The World Wildlife Fund has a brilliant Seek app which you can download which helps you to identify any living thing on your walk such as plants, flowers, insects, birds and animals. When you identify a species, you’ll be able to find out all about it, as well as seeing how common or rare it is for your area and the time of year. You can also run, walk, or cycle in your own garden or local community and raise valuable funds for WWF’s conservation work around the world through its challenge event ideas this year. Its fundraising pack is available here. Not only are you getting closer to nature, but you are giving something back too, and keeping healthy by doing it!
5. Plan your 2021 summer adventure
“The idea of waiting for something makes it more exciting”Andy Warhol
Anticipation of events to look forward to can give us pleasure. So much pleasure comes from excitement about the future, so why not get planning or preparing for your next trip outside, whether it be a weekend in the country or a travelling tour around the North Coast 500? By planning a family camping or caravanning trip, you are undoubtedly going to get closer to nature with your accommodation choice, whilst you could include new adventures which actively involve you all getting close to nature as part of your holiday activities. How about dolphin spotting along the Moray Firth in Scotland? You could look out for basking sharks along the Causeway Coast of Northern Ireland or even take a Red Squirrel Spotting Tour in the Kielder Forest! Try the Caravan and Motorhome Club’s Website to start planning your next summer adventure…..
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