You rock!
You rock!
Scott Dunlop

I’m aware that the environment needs to be given regular hugs and so on, but sometimes it’s great fun to bring the environment home and smear paint on it.

One of the best days we’ve had recently was a trip to a nearby beach. Not any old sandy curve, but a small bay with a neat fringe of sand shielded from the sea by entrancing rock pools. I did have to lay down rules for my kids involving never removing living creatures from the sea because: A) those creatures will die and stink up the car until Nottingham Forest wins the FA Cup again [i.e. FOREVER], and B) those creatures will die. Full stop.

[Side note: Sea Urchins- I don’t get them. The kids always want to ask me questions about them, and I don’t have answers. There’s a shortage of literature on Sea Urchins, too, so my discourse on them is mainly limited to “don’t stand on ‘em”].

There maaay be a huge sign on that beach that proclaims “LEAVE THE ROCKS ALONE OR YOU WILL BE TORTURED”, but we hardly ever leave there without a few smooth pebbles.

I’d say that’s a small price to pay for ensuring that my kids don’t drag an entire kelp forest back home.

This last visit was different, though. We were pebble-pilfering with a purpose; so that we could paint them.

When the plan is to paint something on a pebble, you look at it differently. What kind of pebble makes the best canvas? I managed to locate a few big, flat ovals. My kids found a couple of handfuls of round stones too. Some were clearly bricks that had been slightly smoothed by the sea, but it remained their choice.

Karen, like all good pre-school teachers, is addicted to stationery. Not many people can say they have a box of eyes at home, but we do. We brought out the paints, glitter tubes and eyes and sat outside making magnificent rock creations. There was a duck, a ladybird, a man with skew eyes and a car. A flower-stone with a message and many more.

There we were, out in the wild (garden), expressing our creativity on stone, like our ancient forbears. Maybe the future archaeologists will try and figure out what our primitive scribbles mean, but I doubt they’ll come to any conclusion other than that we had a good time.

I’m not trying to torture you (or bore you), but rather share that nature can be integrated into the weekend in many different ways, preferably ones which involve ice creams on the way home.

Do you and your kids have any special nature activities you enjoy? Share your nature tips for getting outside during winter to, and you could win a R250 voucher.

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