Picture the scene; the 3 intrepid explorers push through the undergrowth in search of the hidden wildlife. They move enormous rocks and crawl under the branches of towering trees in the hope of discovering new species unknown to mankind. So far on this trip they have found a greater spotted Wiltshire slug, a striped forest worm and seen signs of the elusive cumberland sausage racing snail.
When you’re a toddler all this excitement and adventure can be had without even leaving the garden, in fact almost every time I am in the garden with the kids now this is exactly what we end up doing – having a toddler mini adventure. I absolutely love sharing the discovery of wildlife like this with my 2 little adventurers, it’s the perfect activity for them. We’re guaranteed to find something, we don’t have to go far and they can get hands on as much as they want.
Henry wants to get right in there and touch and feel everything, Matilda is a little more reserved initially but once she sees that it’s ok she’s more than happy in picking snails and slugs up to look at them. However she does get a little annoyed when the snails aren’t where she left them and we do also have to be careful that Bracken doesn’t eat them!
I know we’re blessed with our garden being a good size and we also have a big variety of ecosystems to look at (check me with my Geography GCSE terminology). But you can have a mini adventure in even the smallest of garden, all you have to do is look under a few rocks or stones, the darker and damper the better and you’re guaranteed to find snails, wood lice, slugs , spiders and ants. If all else fails lift up the lid of your compost bin if you have one and you’ll probably find some worms and slugs.
We’ve now got a regular circuit of the garden we do which can easily keep us busy for 30 minutes as we check out all the nooks and crannies. So far I’ve focused on the bigger things like slugs and snails which they can easily see and of course don’t move very fast, but I think we’ll start looking for centipedes, ear wigs and grass hoppers.
If anyone knows of any good books or charts for identifying bugs that would suitable for toddlers then please let me know.