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Thrive: Summer Outdoor Nature Activities for Children and Families (by Gillian Powell M.Ed.)

Thrive: Summer Outdoor Nature Activities for Children and Families‘ by Irish Author Gillian Powell M.Ed. We are delighted to add to our product category ‘Exploring Nature with Children’ with this wonderful new outdoor themed book!

With over 30 years experience in the Early Years sector Gillian wrote this book based on her own first hand experience with children. The book was written with the aim to guide, inspire and help both Early Years Educators and families to connect with the outdoors and nature in Summer time.

Thrive: Summer Outdoor Nature Activities Book Contents

The first of a series of four books for Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring; this wonderful book has lots of activity ideas covering various topics such as Healthy Eating, Sensory Walks, Science, Maths, Well Being and Climbing. The book includes pictures as a visual to many of the activities and is aimed at children between 2 and 8 years old. This book would be a great addition to any Early Years Setting to have on hand for staff members who might need some inspiration or guidance when connecting with the outdoors and nature in the Summer Time.

Gillian says;

‘I believe that Summer is a time of abundance and imagination. This Summer edition of Thrive will explore nature and outdoor activities that will develop children’s cognitive and creative thinking. These activities have been tried and tested over thirty-two years working in an early years setting. The underlying principles of this book reinforce the importance of nature for children and families. Thrive continues to emphasise mindfulness and holistic emotional well being, for children and families.’

Summer Time gives children the opportunity to be outdoors where they can be free to explore the world around them. Furthermore, playing outdoors can benefit children in many ways from exposure to sunlight, movement of body, improvement of balance and coordination and finally, sensory engagement. The below video gives a taste of the ideas that are included in the book.


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Have You Seen These Super New Products from Insect Lore?

Super new products from Insect Lore now available! We are continually adding to our outdoor nature range of products on the Early Years Shop. If you are looking to engage with outdoor learning then check out our three new products from Insect Lore. These are a great addition to any service for learning about the world outside. They include a giant version of our original Butterfly Garden that has space for double the amount of butterflies. Other new products include a Life Cycle Microscope and fabulous 3D Butterfly stickers that flutter in any type of light breeze!

Learning about insects, small creatures, plants and trees opens up a whole new world to children. They will have the opportunity to recognise the different type of bugs and insects that live nearby. They also have the opportunity to get up close and study them. They can learn about their shape, pattern, discover how many legs they have and whether they have wings or not. They can also learn about the life cycle from seed to plant or from caterpillar to butterfly.

Children will learn so much from this process and being able to see it happen themselves is a magical experience! With the Insect Lore Butterfly net habitat children will be able to see for themselves how caterpillars transform into beautiful Painted Lady Butterflies. It is a wonderful process that many preschools all over the world have being carrying out for years with the children in their service.

Super New Products from Insect Lore Available Now!

  • Giant Butterfly GardenThe Giant Butterfly Garden is a bigger version of the much loved regular Butterfly Garden. However, with the Giant Butterfly Garden you receive a larger enclosure measuring 45cm, caterpillar voucher to redeem 6-10 caterpillars and Painted Lady butterfly life cycle stages figurines. Remember the caterpillars are shipped between March and September so order now if you wish to carry out the process before the end of the school year!
  • Life Cycle MicroscopeThe Life Cycle Microscope allows children to zoom in on their favourite creatures and outdoor objects with up to 8 times magnification. It features large, comfortable eyepiece lenses making it easy for young children to use. It has a large over sized knob for zooming. In addition, it has an LED light to showcase the details in the slides or on any other object the children would like to examine. It also includes four slides showing the amazing butterfly life cycle but slides are not required. You can place feathers, bugs, leaves and more directly on the illuminated base.
  • 3D Butterfly Stickers – These 3D Butterfly Stickers are highly life like and flutter in any small breeze. They are a great addition to any caterpillar to butterfly theme in a classroom setting for decorating artwork or gifting to children as a job well done on the project completed! They are also a great addition to any nature theme activities. Each sheet includes 10 butterflies and 5 small flowers. Colour chosen at random (blue, green or red).

All of these products are now available to purchase on the Early Years Shop! A great addition to any Early Years Service for nature themed activities!


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Get Outdoors – More Great Products from Insect Lore!

Time to get outdoors! As the weather becomes warmer and drier there is now much more opportunity to be outdoors with the children in your service. At the Early Years Shop, we have some great new products added to our Exploring Nature with Children category. These include a Butterfly Feeder, a Ladybird Magnifier and Wildflower Seeds. If you are looking to encourage nature to your outdoor area then you can use these products to help you!

Simple additions such as growing some wildflowers or having a butterfly feeder in your outdoor area will begin to attract different forms of insects. This is not only a great way to help the environment but a great way of teaching children about nature. Children can learn about the life cycle of a plant from growing the flowers, how insects such as bees and butterflies use the plants to feed and what those insects look like up close! You do not need to have an expansive outdoor area to encourage nature to you, even the smallest of spaces can be utilised to attract nature to your door!

Get Outdoors – Three Great New Products Now Available!

If you loved the Insect Lore Butterfly Garden or the Creature Peeper products then you will also love these great new products available on the Early Years Shop. These three products are a great addition to any service to encourage nature to your outdoor area, bringing the children closer to nature!

  1. Butterfly Feeder– The Butterfly Feeder hangs in your outdoor area, filled with nectar (you can use sugared water), to attract butterflies to feed. Once the butterflies come to feed the children can use their magnifying glasses to carefully check out their patterns, features and different colours. This is a great addition to any Early Years Service who are looking to  encourage wildlife into the outdoor space for children to explore closely.
  2. Ladybird Magnifier – The Ladybird Magnifier was thoughtfully designed with young children in mind. It is both lightweight and sturdy and uses the ladybird’s wings cleverly, opening out to reveal a lens that offers 5 x magnification! This is a great product for children to carry with them as they go outside on their nature adventures! They can search for leaves, twigs, insects, pebbles and put them in their Best Ever Bug Jar for further study. It measures 11.4cm in length and 9.7cm width and the lens is approx. 6cm in diameter.
  3. Flower Seeds – This super mix of wildflower seeds includes a variety of different flowers including foxgloves, clover and forget-me-nots. These seeds have been specifically selected to benefit and attract butterflies to your outdoor area. This process helps children to understand the cycle of plants as well as learning how the flowers benefit nature as they help to feed the bees and butterflies.

All of these products are now available to purchase on the Early Years Shop! Make sure and keep an eye out for more new nature products that we will be adding to the collection over the coming months!

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Explore the Life Cycle with a Butterfly Garden

Explore the Life Cycle with a wonderful Butterfly Garden. Order your Garden now so that you can assemble it and redeem your Caterpillar Voucher online to receive the caterpillars and start the life cycle process. Many nature themes are suggested from children’s own emerging interests from time they’ve spent outside in the garden or from a nature walk. Children are naturally curious and ask many questions throughout the day. They like to know where things come from and how things happen!

They may ask questions such as ‘how does a butterfly grow its wings?’ Or ‘how does a tree grow so big?’ Practitioners have the opportunity to feed that natural curiosity by responding to those questions in the form of themed activities. A Life Cycle theme gives children a chance to learn about the world around them. There are various life cycles that can be explored including plants, flowers, fruit, bugs or insects.

Explore the Life Cycle with Real Life Connection

Any theme begins by providing various books, stories, charts, pictures, videos, props, games, songs and rhymes for the children. Where possible it is great to be able to make a real life connection with the information that is being learned about. Making a real life connection allows the children to engage directly as they see the Life Cycle process happening in front of them. If you decide on a caterpillar or butterfly life cycle theme, the Butterfly Garden will help greatly to make that connection as the children experience the process of caterpillars becoming beautiful colourful butterflies!

Raising your own butterflies from caterpillars takes approx. 4 to 5 weeks, meaning that by the end of May you will be ready to release your very own butterflies into the wild! At a later time you can purchase a voucher to order more caterpillars and repeat the whole experience. With the Butterfly Garden you receive a butterfly habitat with clear mesh (pop up), feeding pipette, full instructions and a voucher to redeem your caterpillars online on the Insect Lore website. Once you place the order for your caterpillars they will arrive about one week from the stated dispatch date. While you are waiting on your caterpillars to arrive you can begin the learning process about the different stages of the butterfly life cycle. You might like to start with a simple video such as the one below!