Birdwatch: calm your mind and ignite your curiosity with learning to birdwatch or identify through their song.

 

Watching birds can be relaxing and rewarding as we observe these feathered creatures going about their day-to-day lives. When we get to know the birds around us it provides an opportunity to tune into daily and seasonal rhythms that often guide their behaviour and movements.

 

Observing birds is a powerful form of mindfulness. It allows us to be present, to feel connected to something greater than ourselves. It’s not about their names – but the way we feel when that connection finds us.

 

If unfamiliar with bird watching let go of any preconceived ideas. Find a place in nature to sit or slowly wander. Allow patience to find you, observe without expectation, and soon your senses will take over.

 

Check out these resources:

 

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Find a sit spot: tune into your surroundings by quietly sitting in nature.

 

Uninterrupted time in nature helps let go of the stresses that pull our hearts away from what matters most – family, friendship, dreams, and adventure. Finding a place to sit and ‘be’ can take practice. But eventually, your mind will find its rhythm, and nature will sing to you.

 

As you begin to practice spending time in a ‘sit spot,’ start with a minute or two. Eventually, you will know the right amount of time and can let your mind drift with nature.

 

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Plant veggies: nurture the earth and your soul by planting veggies and herbs in your garden or a pot.

 

 

There’s nothing quite like homegrown produce. The smell of freshly picked tomatoes, the crunch of newly podded peas and the anticipation of pulling your first carrot or beetroot from the soil. Whilst there is some work involved – gardening is a journey of trial and error, nurture, and nourishment.

 

Here are five ways to get you prepared and excited about gardening:

 

  1. Select the right veggie patch that suits your space (from pots to raised garden beds there are plenty of options)
  2. Make sure your patch is in a nice sunny position, sheltered from strong winds
  3. Prepare your soil with good quality compost and for extra nutrients add some aged horse or cow manure
  4. If just starting out, choose fast-growing reliable veggies that you like to eat (a combination of herbs, leafy greens, root-based veggies, and those that produce vegetables from a flower i.e. tomatoes and zucchinis)
  5. Water your veggies regularly
  6. Tend to your garden with joy and it will teach you many things.

 

One of South Australia’s most loved gardeners and presenters is Sophie Thompson (Sophie’s Patch) has a great book, blog and often hosts and presents at events.

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Stargaze: connect with the night sky by stargazing and finding constellations or listen to podcasts about the stars.

 

 

For thousands of years, the stars have inspired, guided, and fascinated humankind. They served as a form of navigation and Dreaming for Aboriginal people and have inspired artists, poets, and scientists.

 

The sight of a clear night sky in the outback is never forgotten. Shooting stars, the Milky Way, and constellations are a few things to get lost in.

Find a spot to gaze and learn about constellations, such as the Southern Cross and Orien’s belt, and see if you can place them.

 

For some more inspiration, check out:

 

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Weave: practice mindfulness by gathering leaves, flowers and grass with a friend to weave nature bracelets and necklaces.

 

Weaving is an accessible and meditative pastime and can take many forms, with differing techniques used to create functional and decorative items such as basketry, textiles and home décor, like wall hangings. Natural materials used in weaving can include wool, grasses, cotton and an abundance of other plant fibres, making this a tactile and creative way for children to connect with nature and express themselves through art.

 

Check out this DIY Nature Weaving Blog on the Nature Play SA blog.

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Create habitat for insects: contribute to conserving wildlife by creating habitat for native bees and other insects by building or sourcing an insect hotel.

 

 

There are many things we can do to provide habitat for wildlife such as planting native seedlings, having logs and rocks, a bird bath, having bare soil in some patches and making and installing bee hotels.

 

For more inspiration check out:

 

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Plant native seedlings: connect with local wildlife by attracting butterflies and ladybirds to your garden by planting native seedlings in your garden or pots.

 

 

Using native plants in our gardens is an important way helping our local wildlife have food, shelter, and somewhere to raise the next generation.

 

Check out these tips to get you started:

 

 

Check out Three easy ways to DIY seedling pots on the Nature Play SA blog.

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Walk barefoot: get grounded and find some cool earth to walk barefoot.

 

Walking barefoot is one of the most simple but effective things we can do for our senses. It grounds us.  Over time our feet can harden and get used to different surfaces. In every season, try and get some time to walk barefoot outside.

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Whittle: learn the art of whittling and whittle wands, tools, or other creations.

 

Whittling is a great way to learn a new skill and can be very rewarding. It takes patience and helps with concentration and focus. Follow these steps to create a wand:

 

  1. Select a stick about 15 to 20cm as thick as a finger
  2. Select your tool (they vary from peelers, rounded knives, and knives with sharp points to carve details)
  3. Create a blood bubble (tip: your arms shouldn’t reach anyone around you)
  4. Whittle away (put your elbows on your knees to create a safety triangle). Always whittle away from your body, the blade should glide, if it gets stuck adjust your angle and try again, a glove provides extra protection just in case.
  5. Sand your wand
  6. Decorate your wand with paint, string, feathers other nature finds
  7. cast your spells!

 

Check out the range of whittling tools available at Nature Play SA and this great book 50 things to make with a penknife.

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Make mud balls: soothe your senses by exploring the art of dorodango (mud balls).

 

Gritty, cold, wet, sloppy, icky, sticky, joyous mud – the secret weapon in your sensory-rich outdoor toolkit. It may be messy, it may even be inconvenient, but it brings with it the makings of pure happiness for people of all ages. Dorodango is a form of mud art that originated from Japan. Follow these simple steps:

 

  1. Using dirt and water form a big mud ball
  2. Cover your mud ball in dry sand and let it dry really well (a day or so)
  3. Once dry, rub some dry dirt on it
  4. Begin to polish it with a cloth and you will have your shiny new creation

 

Keep experimenting until you get the perfect mud ball!

 

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Race bark and sticks: channel your competitiveness by heading to a flowing creek and race bark and sticks.

 

Racing sticks and bark is super fun, easy and can be a little competitive! All you need to do is go to a flowing creek with bridge or somewhere to safely drop sticks or bark into the water and then see whose sticks/bark is the fastest!

 

Check out 9 Best Adelaide Creek Walks for some inspiration on where to go!

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Fly a kite: get your body moving and head to your local reserve or beach to fly a kite or go to a kite festival.

 

Kite flying is such a relaxing and fun way to spend an afternoon. You try your hand at making one or purchase one. It can too windy to fly kites so it’s all about testing out the conditions and soon enough you will be an expert in no time!

 

Be sure to check out the annual Adelaide International Kite Festival.

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Explore a jetty: spend a morning or evening at a jetty learning about marine creatures or go fishing, crabbing or squidding.

 

Jetties are part of the Australian coastal identity. They are perfect for strolling, fishing, or just watching out over the ocean. If you are a keen fisher – there are plenty of opportunities for crabbing, squidding and fishing.

 

For some inspiration, check these out:

 

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