Armed with some tree identification reference sheets from Nature Detectives, we headed to our local park to investigate.
We tied this activity in with some maths, discussing how to tally and thus, counting in fives. We discussed data, and made a bar chart to see which were the most/least common trees. Once we had identified numerous trees in the park, we guessed how old some of them were using this method.
The method uses your hand span to measure around the tree. All three boys tried, and used the different calculations according to the measurement of their hand span. Simple pleasures for small boys.
Fast forward to bits of paper and lidless pens being thrown in my bag and the boys were soon hanging upside down in their favourite climbing trees. Their confidence is growing and they slip past me in a whisper – no longer taking shaky steps but stepping confidently from branch to branch, ever upwards. It’s not until they reach the top branches, thinner and less stable, that they worry how they’ll get down. They’re a joy to watch as the day begins to wind down.
We wander home down the canal path, picking great handfuls of dandelions and racing ahead of each other with breathless giggles.
‘Mum! You take that path and we’ll stay on this one. We’ll see which one is quickest!’
My eldest loves the sticky-weed. Officially known as Galium aparine, or Cleavers – it sticks to most things thanks to its covering of tiny, hooked hairs. It’s also commonly known as Sticky Willy, which obviously, three small boys find hilarious, and I find myself wishing I hadn’t mentioned it.
‘Mum, why have they painted the town through the tunnel? Look! There’s a Wickes lorry! There’s a school! Mum! They’ve painted the actual street we’re walking under!’
I love their running commentary on life. It makes you stop a while and marvel at the awe with which they see the world. It’s infectious, and I love it.