Growing wildflowers is an awesome way for children to increase their connectedness with nature. It’s so easy for children of any age to start the cycle by scattering Seedballs, watering and then watching the seedlings grow and develop into plants. Once in bloom, even the smallest patch of wildflowers is fascinating to explore and will teem with interesting insects, such as ladybirds, lacewing or grasshoppers.
When kids start the process by planting the seeds it gives them a feeling of ownership over the flowers that grow there. Once the flowers finish their job you even have the chance to collect their seeds and plant them elsewhere or share with friends and family.
Seeds come in all sorts of shapes and sizes; many are within pods that can be dried and emptied of their seeds. One of the best is the poppy seed-pod which blows in the wind and scatters its seeds like a salt shaker! The seeds can be spread directly on to bare soil in the autumn or spring.
This Easter why not have a snail hunt?!
Make a note of the location, colour and amount you find. Banded snails come in many different colours. Each shell is unique, much like a fingerprint. From yellow, pink to brown or striped. Count how many bands you can see, does your snail have a white lip or a brown lip? If it has a brown lip it is a Cepaea hortensis (garden snail) and if it has a white lip it is a Cepaea nemoralis (woodland snail). Banded snails are hermaphrodites, with both male and female sex organs. Snails are herbivores meaning they eat plants.
Snails what are they good for?
Snails are food for many birds, especially the beautiful song thrush and other wildlife.
Thrushes often have a favourite stone, called a ‘thrush anvil’ where they bash shells with their beak. There will be numerous broken and empty snail shells around the anvil.
The Snail Hunter (Cychrus caraboides) is a small black beetle that lives under rotten logs and eats snail! The beautiful two-colour mason bee (Osima bicolor) searches out empty snail shells and uses them as a nursery for her babies.
Remember to put your living snails back where you found them.