Sunday, 16 June 2013

RSPB - Wildlife Explorer Club

Last  month my boys were introduced to the RSPB Wildlife Explorer Club via my Dad who is an avid RSPB member and volunteer. He asked me whether he could take the boys once a month....of course I said yes. This month however, he was away and so the boys asked me to go with them.

It runs once a month and is at one of our local RSPB locations - Freiston Shore. It is aimed at children aged between 5 and 16.....but there is some flexibility in this as Harry (4) is able to go. You can either drop them off or you can stay with them. I decided to stay as this is what the boys wanted me to do.

After an introduction to the day's topic, 'Insects' - all the children (around 45!) were divided up into age-appropriate groups. Mine were in a group of 8 children, most accompanied by a parent due to their age.

Our first session was perhaps the most formal - a slideshow and talk from one of the 'experts'. It was called 'Insects - the good, the bad and the ugly' where children were encouraged to consider their pre-conceived ideas about various insects. It was actually very interesting and the children were engaged throughout. This actually surprised me as it was a pretty long presentation. For some children this age, I feel it could have been a little too long to be honest. My only 'gripe' was the annoying mother who insisted on answering many of the questions aimed at the children!!! There's always one!

After more cake and coffee we were onto our second session - Arts and Crafts where the boys firstly learnt about the life cycle of a butterfly and then made their own mobile. This was great - age appropriate and differentiation was by ability. It was lovely to see both Sam and Harry engaged in this activity as neither are naturally talented in arts and crafts, and at home would rarely pick to carry out this sort of activity. It was also a chance for parents to sit down and have quality time with their children - I LOVED it! The staff were also very patient and willing to help the children which was great to see - nothing was too much!

The last session was proceeded by yet more of the homemade cakes (I must have eaten my own body-weight in cake but it was delicious!). This was Harry's favourite session. It was split into two parts - we first had a talk from who can only be described as a 'moth expert'. Various moth traps had been set locally the night before and now they were being opened with the children - amazingly the moths did not immediately fly away and so the children could show them to their friends, letting them know what each  one was called. I have never seen so much enthusiasm for moths!!! There was also a stick insect which the children were able to hold (not sure where this comes under the heading of 'moths' but never mind).

We then went out to catch our own insects using a sweep net and pooter....both items now firmly on both boys' birthday lists! The excitement was immense.....real insects! All the children had a go at 'sweeping' with the nets and of course 'pootering'.....we had to remind Harry not to blow of course. nI really wish I could tell you exactly what the boys found in the meadow - next time I will write it down!

Well - that sums up our first experience of WEX - and I can honestly say that it was wonderful! We had 4 hours of entertainment which cost less than £5 for all of us. Amazing value for money. WEX runs once a month and next month they are invited to go on a trip....where? I'm not sure yet but if this session is anything to go by, it will be great fun (oh...and educational too!!)

You will no doubt notice an 'outdoors' theme as this blog boys LOVE it!


Cost -
£3.50 for Sam and £1.00 for Harry (refreshments were donations)
Timings - 9.30 - 12.30
Summary - Great value for money, well organised and interesting, boys loved it

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