#Heathland At Home activities
Make a nightjar nest
Specially for Heath Week! Did you know the nightjar comes all the way from Africa to nest on the Thames Basin Heaths? It doesn’t make much of nest, but finds a nice spot and lays its eggs right on the ground! Download the template and have a go at making your own!
Watch as Warden Flo shows you how…
A Heath Week special! We make these adders in Heath Week every year at our craft gazebo pitstops. But this year’s a bit different, we can’t meet you out on the heaths, so we’re bringing the crafts to your home!
Heathland Nature Trail
The next time you visit one of the Thames Basin Heaths, why not take our Heathland Nature Trail sheet with you and go on an epic journey of discovery?
Are you lucky enough to spot a Dartford warbler? Can you find three different types of heather? What do gorse flowers smell of? [Be careful, it’s spiky!] What are the birds saying to you?
Don’t forget to let us know what you find!
Make a bird from salt dough
Ever wished you could have your very own little Dartford warbler, nightjar, or woodlark at home? Well, now you can, in salt dough form!
We’ve created a step-by-step guide for you to make your own 2D or 3D ground-nesting bird model!
Colouring For Mindfulness
These are stressful times! If you want something to help you slow down and appreciate the smaller things, then perhaps this mindfulness colouring sheet might just be the thing.
Spend five minutes colouring in a bit of bracken or a whole afternoon decorating a sand lizard. The choice is yours!
Don’t forget to share using #HeathlandatHome!
Make your own silver-studded blue!
Have you ever seen a silver-studded blue butterfly floating across the heather? Now you can make your very own, using our 8 step guide!
Colouring In Our Heaths
Uh-oh, something’s happened to our favourite heathland ground-nesting birds – they seem to have lost all their colour! Only you and your pens and pencils can help them out.
Be as accurate or as creative as you like… But don’t forget to share your creations with the world using #HeathlandatHome!
Do you know the name of the flower that turns the heathland landscape purple? Or the name of the snake with a zig-zag pattern?
Test your knowledge of heathland in this brand new downloadable puzzler.
Let us know how you get on… Or if you need any clues!
Heathland Word Search
Do you like searching for things?
How about downloading this word search and help us find the heathland species we have carelessly mixed in our big pile of spare letters?
Once you’ve worked your way through the list, there’s a bonus mystery word – Can you find it and let us know what it is?
Green Tiger Beetle Game!
Beetle is a classic dice and drawing game involving a generic beetle.
Well, we are now excited to launch what is probably a world-first Green Tiger Beetle-specific game that you can play with the whole family.
Can you use your lucky dice skills to roll a 6, draw the body and then roll the correct numbers to be able to draw a complete beetle before your competitors?
What are you waiting for? Download the Green Tiger Beetle Game now!
Get to Know Heathland Plants!
Heathland plants are just as important as the animals – After all, without heather, what would we have called heathland?!
Using the downloadable fact-sheets, can you find out enough information to be able to complete the worksheets and become a true “Heathland Plant Master”?
Note: Answers are also included, so don’t take a sneaky peak before you’ve given the activity a proper go!
Don’t forget to share using #HeathlandatHome!
Heathland Plant Spotter
How about downloading a handy spotter sheet to complete on your next visit to one of the Thames Basin Heaths? You can tick off the plants you find and learn a bit about them along the way.
Our heathlands provide a home for some amazing plant life – Some of it harder to find than others! It also flowers at different times, so you might have to visit more than once.
Please remember to search only from main paths as, between March and September, birds may be nesting on the ground or in nearby vegetation and are easily disturbed. Thank you for helping to give chicks the best chance of survival.
Using some computer wizardry, you won’t need to print the spotter out and can tick plants off on your phone. Magic!
Spring has sprung!
Spring is finally upon us. But, how do we know that it has finally sprung?
There are lots of signs letting us know that winter is over and spring is here and using the downloadable spotter sheet you can check if spring has actually arrived near you…
Autumn is here and it feels like it’s raining all the time! How else do we know?
There are lots of signs on the heath that tell us that summer is over and autumn has arrived – The nightjars have headed off to Africa and the purple heather has turned somewhat browner! It is the time for nuts, seeds and berries and fungi starts popping up everywhere.
Use the downloadable the spotter sheet to find out if autumn has arrived on a heathland near you…
Winter is here!
Winter has arrived and it’s getting chilly on the heath. What else can confirm that this is the case?
There are many signs that tell us that autumn has passed and winter has arrived – The Dartford warblers look for warm places to hide in large gorse bushes and the nightjars are still sunning themselves in Africa!
Use the downloadable the spotter sheet to find out if winter has arrived on a heathland near you…
Nature is not just there to look at. You can also hear it… feel it… smell it. Just don’t taste it!
Use this downloadable worksheet to help you tap into your nature senses to discover just how much is all around us.
Can you take on the challenge of finding something wildlife-y from A all the way to Z?
For some letters you might have to get creative… And, no, you can’t pretend there’s a zebra in your garden!
What are you waiting for? An epic alphabetical nature journey of discovery awaits…
Wildlife is all around us – But how do we know? Have you got what it takes to be a super nature detective and look for the clues to show that wildlife is here?
Download the guide and compile a photographic or sketched record of what you find or complete the recording sheet.
Let us know what you find!
If you love both nature and maths, this activity sheet is perfect for you!
If you’re keen on one, but not the other, why don’t you try multiplying nature by maths, download this activity sheet and see how you get on!
Maths is everywhere! Can you use this worksheet to find the answers in nature? See if you can take photos of or draw what you find and let us know
Get out in the garden and look really closely under leaves, logs and in the deepest, darkest, dampest nooks and crannies… What can you see?
The chances are that there’s a whole new previously undiscovered world of little creatures that have been going about their everyday lives just out of sight.
These activity sheets will help you to record what you find and encourage you to get to know these little creatures by starting to piece together the mystery of just who and what they are and what amazing lives they lead!
If you want more help with identification of what you’ve found, www.buglife.org.uk/bugs/ is a fantastic place to start. Once there, you’ll find a useful ‘Bug Directory‘ and a handy interactive yes/no ID tool. You can always take a photo and send it to us and we can try to let you know what it is!
Heathland is amazing!
Lowland heathland is a rare habitat that provides a home for a variety of fascinating wildlife, for example: –
- Nocturnal nightjars migrate to and from Africa to spend the summer raising their families on our local heathlands. They are primarily active at dawn and dusk, feeding mostly on moths and making strange churring noises that have helped to give them a significant place in British folklore.
- Caterpillars of silver-studded blue butterflies trick ants into providing protection by singing hypnotically to them and providing a sweet, tasty liquid out of their bottoms! A persuasion strategy that, if successful, can keep them safe from would-be attackers, or, if they are rumbled, can end up with them being eaten!
- The green tiger beetle is one of the fastest insects in the UK and can sprint across the sandy soil at speeds of over 60 cm per second. If scaled up, this would be the equivalent of a horse running at 250 miles per hour!
- Carnivorous sundew plants entice hungry insects to sweet globules of sticky liquid on their leaves. When the insects arrive to feast, they get stuck and are slowly digested. A slow and grisly demise!
- Many heathland birds nest on or very close to the ground, so are incredibly prone to disturbance. Between 1st March and 15th September, these birds, like the Dartford warbler, the woodlark and the nightjar need space to feed and breed. During these times, please keep to the main heathland footpaths and ensure your dog is under close control and kept out of the vegetation.
If you would like to find out more about your local heathland, download some of these fun resources…