Tag Archives: Nature Explorers

Get the kids outside this summer holiday!

Children listless with the same old, same old? Fed up of trips to cinemas and soft-play and the local park? Whilst we bask in this glorious weather, why not think about packing up a picnic and heading out into the great outdoors for fun and adventure?

Yep, it's my kids again...

Yep, it’s my kids again…

Here are some excellent events happening around the area over the next few weeks:

1. Volunteering at Bothwell Community Garden

Come along on Wednesdays and Sundays at 2pm and show your children how they can play a vital part in keeping our garden looking lovely. They can help to water the plants or wash plant pots in the sunshine; and we have a number of books in the office to help them if they would like to go bug-hunting or flower spotting at the bee and butterfly borders, the woodland walks or the orchard. Spotting sheets are also available at the brilliant Nature Detectives site.

Bring a picnic, and enjoy basking in our sun-trap in front of the potting shed!

(Please ask children not to step on or pick any of the flowers or plants; and we ask that children are closely supervised by an adult if they wish to go down to the bog garden).

2. Nature Explorers at the David Livingstone Centre

Every Tuesday at 1.30pm. £2.00 per child, adults free. Meet at the shop. Please see my review for more information on this excellent activity.


3. Spinning A Yarn – Summer Storytelling And Picnic at The Children’s Garden

Based within the beautiful Glasgow Botanic Gardens, The Children’s Garden is a delightful, safe space for children to come and grow together. On Sunday July 28th, 12pm to 3pm. Free, though donations gratefully received

This time, storyteller Wendy Woolfson will join the children in the willow tunnel. Throw her your thoughts and she’ll weave them into stories. Bring a picnic or food to share. Come, relax, play and enjoy the sunshine and bounty of the garden.


4. Chatelherault Country Park

The park is hosting both a drop in art club on Tuesdays and a drop in activity club on Thursdays until early August. Details can be downloaded as a PDF document here.


5. Wild Woodland Adventures Children’s Festival

Saturday August 3rd, 10am to 5pm. Join the Scottish Wildlife Trust at the Falls of Clyde for a fun packed day. For costs and to book, please call 01555 665262 or contact fallsofclyde@swt.org.uk


Other great places we have on our doorstep to explore include the stunning Bothwell Woods and Clydeside Walk to Bothwell Castle; Summerlee Museum of Scottish Industrial Life in Coatbridge; Kittochside Museum of Scottish Rural Life (the visit to the working farm is amazing) and Calderglen Country Park in East Kilbride; Greenbank Gardens NTS (just outside Clarkston); or why not take a stroll down the Glebe and find out how Bothwell’s very own new woodland at Bothwellpark is coming along?

We would love to know how you are spending your summer – drop us a line at bothwellcommgarden@yahoo.com and let us know what you and your children would recommend – if you have any photos of great days out, either at the community garden or further afield, that you’d like to see on this website do please send them in, we’d love to see them!




Review – Nature Explorers at the David Livingstone Centre

The National Trust for Scotland are running a ‘Nature Explorers’ club for children every Tuesday during the summer holidays. I had taken my little smashers (aged 4 and 7) up to the garden this lunchtime; so as the weather was looking fine, we thought we would extend our outdoor time by taking a stroll through the edge of Bothwell Woods, and over the bridge to Blantyre to check out the club.

We were greeted by Richard and Duncan who were our guides for the afternoon and we (five children and two token grown-ups, who are welcome to either accompany the group or to relax with a coffee and a book for the duration) headed down to the Explorers’ Garden for some bug hunting. Despite the weather having been so dry, making sightings of creatures such as snails, woodlice and earwigs difficult, the children spotted a great number of beasties that they could view in magnifying tubs; with Richard describing the differences between creatures such as spiders and harvestmen perfectly for his young audience to understand. We also had a very informative, child orientated talk about bumblebees and their importance to the environment as pollinating insects, and the children were given ‘spotter-sheets’ to take home so they could identify other bumblebees they see.


We moved then down to the pond, where the children hugely enjoyed pond-dipping; discovering, amongst other things, diving beetles, sticklebacks, great pond snails and tadpoles in several stages of development (if you look closely at the picture, you will see some ‘teenage’ tadpoles with the legs already formed). The children found the tadpoles particularly fascinating and, again, Richard and Duncan answered every question simply, yet informatively and enthusiastically.

All too soon the 90 minutes were up, and it was time to return our pond beasts to their homes and head home (via the toilets to wash our hands, and the ice-cream freezer to suck money out of mummy’s wallet, of course); and my boys are desperate to come along again next week. Each week will focus on different aspects of nature, so there may not be more pond dipping; but parents are welcome to ring in advance to find out what will be on the menu in forthcoming weeks.

To sum up, I am really glad I took the boys along. I would say that the 90 minutes is just the right amount of time to keep most children enthralled (my 4 year old, who does not have the best attention span, started flagging a little towards the end and just ran around the trees); I would say it is absolutely perfect for children aged between 6 and 10. Richard and Duncan were fantastic with the children, explaining everything in a really understandable and fun way which generated plenty more questions and stories from the children, which is a sure sign of great teaching, in my opinion. Mini-beasts, birds and underwater creatures all feature in the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence (my sons have studied mini-beasts both at nursery and at school) so this is an ideal opportunity to either reinforce their knowledge and interest, or introduce them to the subject in a very hands-on, hugely entertaining way. And visiting our garden, and walking to Blantyre through the woodland made it an even greater adventure!

Nature Explorers at the David Livingstone Centre, Blantyre (meet in shop)

Every Tuesday during the summer holidays, 1.00pm – 2.30pm

£2.00 per child, adult supervisors free of charge (no need to have NTS membership or pay for entry to the museum).

Tel: 0844 93 2207 or email amritchie@nts.org.uk for further information. Leaflets on this, and other events at the David Livingstone Centre are available in the foyer of Bothwell Library, or see http://www.nts.org.uk


Every Tuesday 1.00pm – 2.30pm