By Bruno Passo
Nature Tots Leader
Looking back over the summer, we’ve had enormous fun in the woods at Ardingly Nature Tots; building dens, lighting campfires and drinking hot chocolate. We’ve explored our surroundings with treasure hunts and followed paw print trails through the woods. We’ve made dragonflies, snails and spiders using natural materials collected by the children such as seeds, sticks, leaves and clay. It has been amazing to watch this group of youngsters grow and develop as their physical coordination and dexterity have come on in leaps and bounds. We have challenged their balance with low ropes, built bridges from planks, and cambering over fallen trees and logs. One of the things I am most pleased about is how the children are now comfortable speaking to the rest of the group, giving each other helpful instructions, sharing ideas and experiences. For example, one of the children brought in photos of the blackbird’s nest outside her bedroom window, so we could all follow the progress of the chicks from eggs to fledging as the weeks went by. We also learned about plants and how they grow by planting runner beans for the children to take home and watch the roots and sprouts develop – some of the children proudly brought in photos of their giant beanstalks which had grown taller than they were!
Although it is sad to see them go, I am happy in the knowledge that they will be starting school as more confident children, and I can’t wait to meet the new recruits this September. Our autumn activities will include gathering berries and leaves to make wild paints, building shelters for ourselves and for hedgehogs, gathering nuts for our squirrel stashes, and toasting toffee apples. Children must be accompanied by an adult and booking is essential. If you would like to bring your child aged 3-5 years along for mornings of family-friendly wildlife activities at Standgrove Woods, Ardingly or one of our other groups across Sussex, please visit: www.sussexwildlifetrust.org.uk/naturetots for further information and online booking.