Tag Archives: kids

Binky Bear is sat on a beehive

The Importance of Bees

A beekeeper friend recently told me that to him honey-production isn’t the bees’ most important function but plant pollination is and it is astonishing how quickly children take environmental concepts on board in their earliest encounters with the natural world. A strange insect in the garden soon becomes a familiar friend and the memory is shared forever with the parent or grandparent who first made this possible.
a bee keeper is tending his hives

A bee keeper tending his hives

Helping bees together

With an astounding 270 odd bee species in Britain alone (just under 250 of which are solitary bees) - and all of them pollinators - we have to look after them. One of the ways we can do this is by helping to make outdoor spaces bee-friendly. Park authorities and farmers are becoming aware of the importance of protecting pollinators’ environments and in our small way we can help by growing bee-friendly plants. In addition to thinking of flowering plants water is essential for bees as are places for solitary bees to hunker down during the winter months in banks and in compost heaps. Bee-friendly garden, bee-hotels: https://meonvalleybeekeepers.co.uk/help-the-bees/create-a-bee-friendly-garden/ Poisonous plants to look out for: https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?pid=524 Make a bee-hotel https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/39691792
bees on a thistle

Bees on a thistle

Bee Facts

Honeybees survive the winter by snuggling close together in the hive to keep warm. Interestingly they don’t hibernate. Their honey sustains them, so they must produce enough for the cold months. In a good season in the UK a beehive can produce 27 kg of honey but this is around 11 kg more than the bees actually need. How lucky we are - they pass that excess onto us to have with our toast and butter! Scientists have recently been able to decode sounds made by queen bees in the beehive according to a paper published in the journal, Scientific Reports, in June 2020. The “tooting and quacking” sounds tell the tens of thousands of worker-bees the queens want to come out. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-53029218

Dancing bees

Our amazing bees can also tell their fellow workers where they have found a good source of nectar and to do this they perform a ‘dance’. Scientists call it the “waggle” dance and it imparts an amazing amount of precise information. From this performance the workers can make a bee-line to the nectar. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LU_KD1enR3Q
Binky checks out the bee hive

Binky checks out the bee hive

Why are bees important?


Know your Bees:

Bee identification. https://friendsoftheearth.uk/bees/bee-identification-guide

Interesting facts.

Interesting facts. Bee-lines in your area and helping a tired bumble--bee https://www.wwf.org.uk/learn/fascinating-facts/bees?pc=AUT005007&gclsrc=aw.ds&&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIwrXzhKHo6gIVCYjVCh1ymgz6EAAYAiAAEgKvxfD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

Binky and Bees

If you are interested in bees like Binky is, you might like to get to know Binky better. He has lots of adventures and you can read all about them here: https://binkybear.co.uk/shop/  
Giving and Receiving

Giving and Receiving for Kids

A social experiment in the U.S. in 2015 asked children to choose between giving and receiving the perfect present. Surprisingly instead of choosing the gift of their dreams for themselves, they all chose to buy something for a parent. Thoughtful gift-giving really can develop a sense of empathy and on that front alone it’s worth considering. For time- and cash-strapped families shopping for birthdays and Christmas presents can be stressful. Parents often end up buying more than they intended and spending more than they can afford. But things are changing and many are questioning and discussing what the act of giving actually means.

Want, need, wear, read

The 4-gift rule beloved of so many parents in recent years, may be a little sanctimonious, but it has helped many families simplify their present-shopping strategy, primarily at Christmas. It leads to fewer unwanted gifts and kids (especially tots) aren’t overwhelmed by too much ‘stuff’ all at once. The 4-gift rule explained - https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-37822791

Talk about it

As children grow up and in family discussions the idea of a gift can be explored and expanded to include giving time to others and valuing what we already have, as well as considerations of excess and waste.
free gifts

free gifts

Think home-made

More recently the 4-gift rule has morphed into 5-gifts and includes something home-made. Making their own gifts gives children the personal satisfaction of actually seeing the surprised look on mummy’s face when she opens her present. Some cookies or a tiny posy of flowers from the garden are fun things to make with granny, especially for Mother’s Day. IMG_0467_s[1]


Saying thank you becomes an act of giving in its own right and writing thank-you cards can be a fun activity to share with kids. If they can’t think what to say, here are three simple steps to follow. Easy-peasy… . https://pinholepress.com/blog/teach-kids-to-write-thank-you-cards-in-3-steps/ https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/social-experiment-asks-children-to-choose-between-giving-or-receiving-the-perfect-present-a6781436.html https://www.habitsforwellbeing.com/the-gift-of-giving-and-receiving/ https://www.rootsofaction.com/gift-giving-families/ ‘No one has ever become poor by giving’ - the words of Anne Frank
Gardening For Kids

Mucking About In The Garden

Gardening is something we do all-year-round, not just in Spring and Summer.  So, as a kids activity it ticks all the boxes by getting our little ones into the open-air and sharing experiences. Plus, it’s fun AND you don’t even have to have a garden to do it! Here are some practical ways of getting started.  The BBC working with the RHS has made it easy to stimulate enquiring minds with lots of great ideas.  These include projects to do at home, in your own garden, indoors and there’s plenty of factual stuff too. What little boy can resist fascinating facts about wriggly creatures. Go to the BBC link below.
Bee On A Beautiful Flower

Bee On A Beautiful Flower

When planting in the soil or in pots choose easy to handle large seeds for little hands like peas, beans and sunflowers.  Look for plants, which can be readily distinguished from weeds. Keep a pet dandelion! An interest in gardening can be fostered anywhere and doesn’t have to be in a formal garden setting.  Scent trails, where you search for and identify different plants can be followed in your own garden, along a country trail or in a public park.  Challenging for grown-ups as well!

Green-fingered benefits

The RHS and schools, who have collaborated throughout the UK in recent years in setting up gardens and gardening clubs, point to the many health benefits of gardening for children - getting them away from screens and into the open air. RHS research suggests that kids perform better at school and develop healthy eating habits as a result of their interest in self-grown veg. The RHS Campaign for School Gardening found that children built “life skills such as confidence, teamwork and communication”. The Kings Fund in 2016 reported feelings of positive well-being, personal achievement and empowerment among young gardeners, particularly amongst children with learning and behavioural difficulties.  These youngsters in particular experience a sense of pride in a world where so often they are unable to shine.  They also find gardens to be peaceful places, “conducive to meditation”, suggests Caroline Levitt, founder of Diggers Forest School and Nursery, Midhurst.  Children learn to communicate with the world about them, which in turn puts them in touch with their inner selves.

Life-long love

Gardening with the little ones in your life can initiate a shared life-long love of plants and the outdoors. The continuity of the seasons fosters a long-term commitment to the world about us and a better understanding of the environment.   You never forget seeing your first seed emerge from the dark earth and from that moment we become a part of the wider ecosystem. Take them into the garden one warm night and just let them lie on the grass and look up at the sky.  They’ll never forget it!


http://www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/gardening_with_children/ https://www.telegraph.co.uk/gardening/with-children/life-skills-for-children/ https://www.alive.com/family/growing-kids-green-thumbs/
Ice-cream van

Treats and Rewards for Kids

We’ve been talking lately about the tricky question of what treats really are and what happens when treats become the norm.

Are sugary treats bad?

Opinions will vary but experts tell us not to underestimate the power of sugar addiction. An article in Parents Magazine states, “The average kid under 12 consumes 49 pounds of sugar per year, according to the USDA Economic Research Service.” Treats that consist of refined sugar and empty calories add up over the day, even if they seem individually insignificant. There’s also the message that is sent by using sweets as rewards. Nutritionist and Kids Kritic Spokesperson, Carolina Lima Jantac, says, “Kids associate feeling happy and accomplished with sugar”. This continues into adulthood with self-rewarding of something sweet when you feel down and ultimately can lead to habits which are hard to kick. No one is talking about an outright ban on ice cream and cup cakes but it looks like it is not a good idea to use them as rewards.

Other kinds of rewards

I’m sure we’ve all used stickers and charts at various times and they can work very well, as children can actually see their progress. Rewards that seem to work equally well can be doing something really special together that creates a memory. You can go to a park together (remember to take photos), do a class together at a local museum or gallery or what about borrowing a neighbour’s dog and take it/them on a walk.
Walking a friend's dog

Walking a friend's dog

Using Treats to motivate

Psychologists call what motivates us, our currency and your child’s currency is what motivates him or her now. It will change with time and as their priorities and latest enthusiasms change. Younger children will “jump through hoops” (as Carolina puts it) to have an extra 15 minutes of lights on before bed. Collecting sets of things can really enthuse young kids. Hang on to the cards that are handed to you at the supermarket till. Kids love collecting sets - and they’re free!

Singing from the same song-sheet.

Often grandparents and other carers are considered a “soft touch”. I know how difficult it can be to resist the pleadings of my sugar-deprived grandchildren. But I know it’s important to support the parents’ house rules. If kids are already hooked on ‘unhealthy ‘ options, it’s difficult to institute a sudden ban. They still have access to treats when outside the home. This is where grandparents can help. Paediatric psychologist, Eileen Kennedy, suggests buying the smallest-sized packet of a favourite treat or a large economy bag of small-sized packets. Keep these out of sight, which avoids mindless snacking by the kids – and by you! Always have fruit (and veg!) out on the table and visible in a bowl. LINKS: Carolina Lima Jantac, MS, RD, LD. Nutrition and Social Media Manager and Kid Kritics Approved Spokesperson.https://expertbeacon.com/why-rewarding-children-sugar-or-treats-big-mistake#.WUei6RNViko Parents Magazine http://www.parents.com/recipes/nutrition/kids/sugar-shock/ http://www.livescience.com/7695-kids-prefer-veggies-cool-names.html