National Trust: Acorns – Magnificent Moths at Sheringham Park

Today Maebh & I, along with our friends Godelieve and Harvey attended the organized activity – Magnificent Moths put on by the Acorns Toddler Group from Sheringham Park – National Trust.

As I posted before, it’s basically an outdoor learning group for kids ages 2-4 which meets twice a month from 10:30 – 12:15 normally in the Bower Section of Sheringham Park.  They do a story, trail, song, poem, etc all which have to do with the “theme”.  Rob the Ranger & a few of the organizers, were the same as those who organized the Animal Tracking adventure Soren & I attended back in February Half Term and recently the beach event we also did with Godelieve & Harvey – It’s A Shore Thing

We started off doing a little search for stickers with photos of various moths & beetles (some of which we saw today) scattered all around before heading outside into the field.

We checked out the nine mouse traps set last session which was “Mice Are Nice” but we missed that session, though I’m sure it was great too.  Their craft was super cute and something that I will do with Maebh.  All these cute projects can be hung on the tree at Xmas time!   Of the nine traps, there were zero mice but two bank voles, which are native here, so that is why I didn’t know them until now.

This boy, [who loved to suck on his fingers :)] actually squeezed that a bit
and the little bank vole jumped so high, nearly out of the bag!

Then we walked towards the Bower section of the park for the rest of our session.  There we all gathered around a large light box which they used to capture these various moths & beetles. It was lined inside with egg cartons cut in half and had two sheets of plastic on an angle with a open section where they enter. As the insects come towards the light at night and essentially get trapped.   Before the session, they took the majority out and stored them in these little plastic bug containers which have magnified tops so it is great for the kids. I’ve seen these little insect type kits for kids & love them. I think it’s a must find toy for the kids.  I suppose at the beach you could put in very small crabs or shells and  view up close.

They had some interesting finds.  It was a bit busy with all the kids grabbing at the bug containers and loads of noise, so I didn’t hear exactly the names of each one, but Maebh’s favorite was the “pinky one”.

Maebh’s favorite “pinky moth”

They also had a chance to hold an actual beetle.  I took a bunch of photos of that as they were so gentle with it.  First Harvey held it and then Maebh and then back to Harvey. You can see their little hands and how comical it was to pass it back with the help of Godelieve.

We then moved along to an open field to play the game, Bat/Moth.  A bit like Marco Polo – the person with the blind fold was the BAT and then he’d say MOTH and then a person who played the role of the MOTH would say BAT, so the bat was to find the moth at night. It was about 30 seconds, as no kids wanted to do this, except one!   So Ranger Rob did it with Sally, one of the volunteers – sort of a dud!

We then went inside the building to have a snack and do a craft.  We did cellophane months and newspaper moths.  They also found a black beetle in the bathroom, so we got to look at that up close too.

After we did that we headed outside for a story and sing-a-long.  Keeping with the theme, they read the story of “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle.  And coincidentally in western Massachusetts (2 hours west of Boston), you will find  The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art.

When it was over, the kids popped around and played near the pond area seeing the tadpoles, who were still quite tiny.   I took a photo of a pretty bell flower with a bee buzzing from pollen to pollen.

Bee is off to the right… 

Pointing out the beetle which she touched today.
No idea what they are saying, but all kids love maps.

On the way out, Harvey climbed up on a bench and Maebh so wanted to do it, but lacked the confidence to stand up straight, but she did end up doing it for a few seconds, before wanting to come down.

We then went back to Godelieve & Harvey’s house for lunch, where Maebh got to play with Harvey’s toys.  She loves the horse, which she named Corielle (Soren’s horse during his first horse lesson) and loves to play his mini wooden guitar.

I really like they way they do these sessions and the exposure to nature she gets on these events. I’m considering keeping her home on Wednesdays when she starts Nursery school in the Fall anyway, so perhaps she and I can do this together next year too. Very soon, she’ll be going in school full time, for the next 20 years.

The final session for this term is Wednesday, July 10th – Don’t Worry BEE Happy!

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