If you remember back in February, we celebrated Children’s Mental Health week. This week is Mental Health Awareness week. The theme this year is Nature.
I am sure you will all agree, since the Lockdown in March last year, we have all faced many challenges in our lives from home learning/working to periods of time away from our family and friends. There is a lot of good research to support the role nature can play in protecting and supporting our mental health. Children in school this week will be taking part in ‘nature’ activities which I will share with you in our next newsletter. I have attached a link below to a document from the Mental Health Foundation. It includes some fabulous ideas on this year’s theme. I have also included some top ideas that you can do at home with your children. These are from the SCARF programme that we use in school. You can find the link below. We will celebrate the week by wearing non uniform on Friday 14th May with green as the theme!
Mental Heath with Harold the Giraffe
Full details can be found on the Scarf website. Just click on Harold below.
Cloud spotting - look for shapes.
Sit quietly outside and listen for sounds - how many can you hear?
Pay attention to an insect, watch its journey closely.
Watch the flow of water and listen to the sound focus on the shapes that the water makes.
How many different leaf shapes can you see?
Bark rubbing - feel the bark and take a rubbing
Natural art - using objects from nature (blossom, twigs, stones, leaves, sand, shells etc.) to create a design or pattern.
Pressing flowers in the traditional way using books or using a microwave for a quicker way to dehydrate the flowers. Create pictures/cards using the flowers (and give to others!)
Create bug hotels, hedgehog houses and bird feeding stations to attract wildlife.
Create a miniature garden on a plate - with gravel, pine cones, succulents, twigs, leaves etc.
Make a rainmaker by recycling an old plastic bottle and filling it natural objects - pebbles, twigs and gravel.
Nature walk with list of specific things to find (a treasure or scavenger hunt) e.g. a stone that’s not round, feathers of various colours and sizes, blossom, specific shape or colour leaf, something from each colour of the rainbow and/or school colours – record your treasure on digital camera/tablet.
Allocate play leaders to lead or teach a new outdoor activity during playtimes.
Challenge the children to make up or adapt a game using natural materials.
Litter picking/collecting – also a good way of connecting with others!
Make a hopscotch grid using things from nature - twigs, pebbles etc. and play hopscotch together.
Give to Others
Grow herbs (especially mint) in little pots and give as a small gift to family or community members.
Be kind to nature (give to wildlife) build a bug hotel, squirrel or bird feeder.
Make daisy chains or weave willow bands to give to friends or family members.
Take a friend to your favourite place… hopefully somewhere they have never been.
Connect with Others
Growing seeds/plants at school or with friends or family.
Growing a fast growing plants e.g. cress (possibly in egg shell?) and share with family online via Zoom/Facetime.
Listening game with a partner – how many nature sounds can be heard?
Gardening for someone else or a school or community garden/allotment with a group/friend.
Photograph some nature and make your pictures into a collage for a card send to friend/family