As soon as it became evident the schools were going to close, I started to think about what children might be able to do at home, even if and when unable to go out. I love nature and birds particularly, but am aware not all children grow up knowing the names of native birds or even the plants in their garden – as illustrated beautifully in the superb book The Lost Words.

A nature hunt which involved children finding, studying and beginning to learn about the nature in their own back garden seemed like a good use of unexpected time at home. I wanted to be able to signpost good sources of information for children to use to be able to identify and read information about what they find. I also thought it would be a good way of collating the local wildlife, in a similar style to The Big Garden Bird Watch.

Screenshot 2020-03-21 at 16.45.56 (1)I tweeted Robert Macfarlane who very kindly shared my tweet with his followers and was overwhelmed with the responses. There were so many wonderful resources I thought I would put together a blog post so other teachers or parents might be able to dip in and make use of them as they wish. I’ll do my best to organise them and provide a brief description so you can hopefully find what is relevant to you more easily. I have provided websites/Twitter handles where possible.

Please note, this list is by no means an endorsement or affiliation; I’m simply passing on ideas that have been shared with me.

Please feel free to leave a comment with any further suggestions, or tweet me @ccmercer 

treeGeneral Wildlife Resources
WWT @WWTworldwide – Save and celebrate wetlands. Range of free downloadable visual resources and activities for kids available on – Get noticing nature/your weekly guide to noticing nature

WWF @WWF-uk Things to do at home – lots of resources on one page and more coming soon including quizzes and teaching resources

@woodlandtrust – UK’s largest woodland conservation charity. Includes a page on the website to help identify UK animals and plants. – Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust – some resources available and more coming soon A website for crowd-sourced citizen science projects. Listen to baby noises, transcribe arctic plant collections, help locate black holes and much more.

@iNaturalist A web and app-based global community where anyone can share their observations of wild organisms. They don’t provide ID help on Twitter but if you post a photo to iNaturalist their community can help you.

National Geographic – Lots of resources and apparently recently all have become free of charge for children – education for sustainable living. US site. Activities relating to food, climate change, soil etc

Minstead Study Centre– starting a daily nature journal challenge via Twitter @minsteadCC

Stories in Stone @sisydmt – community and heritage projects. Activities and funny facts coming soon.

Green Futures YDMT @GreenYDMT – a youth environment project launching virtual walks and activities that can be done in a back yard or garden.

My Learning @mylearning_org Free learning resources from arts, cultural and heritage organisations across the UK. Great mini-beast resource.

@naturebygreen – nature photographer running Wildlife Wonder sessions from next week. Nature observation sessions aimed at children/families wherever they live

@nailemoreira – Author running a nature journalling workshop for kids 8-12 on Thursday 26th March 4pm EST. Also checkout the Stimola Live website for other author workshops. – garden schooling blog

@hedgehogfriend13 including some hedgehog friendly activities Activities for you and your family to help urban wildlife – lots of teaching resources covering many subjects including 11 DIY forest school activities

#geographymole – Twitter hashtag could be a writing or discussion prompt for variety of ages. Could inspire similar projects.

NWF Ranger Rick – website free until the end of June has activities coming soon. Photos of wildlife free lesson plans and downloadable activities National Park Service (US) Lots of educator resources including birds colouring pages with brief species notes

#30dayswild – collection of blogs including some children/teens 22 ways to leave home without actually leaving the couch, from virtual zoo exhibits to museum gallery tours. The Great Indoors – inspired indoor activity ideas resources to support primary and secondary pupils in learning about the area of Gwent

@womblesofficial – rethink reuse recycleIdeas on how to improve your local environment

inaturalist app – helps identify the plants and animals around you

@united4wildlife – free online courses for conservation Learning Through Landscapes has a free outdoor learning online support group – free virtual forum to guide families and educators on outdoor learning

Colouring Books – BHL free colouring books all nature based.

@openculture – download free colouring books from 150 museums

RSPB @natures_voice – Loads of online resources including small projects

Merlin Bird ID by Cornell Lab  – app to help identify birds with 5 questions or a photo. Includes US and Europe amongst others. Online resources to enjoy birds from your home lots of bird-based ideas for adults/teachers/children
ORCA @ORCA_web – Protects whales, dolphins and porpoises in and around UK. From Monday providing interactive lessons, activities and Q+A sessions. – tune in to a web cam to watch anything from sea otters to jellyfish

@thenfb – National Film Board of Canada. 4000 free online films including 100+ about nature.

Netflix – Night on Earth series following the nocturnal activities of animals. Also Planet Earth. watch the osprey webcam

Decorah eagle livecam  c/o youtube

Educational Games– We Are The Rangers; a series of lessons and worlds about wildlife conservation developed in partnership with United for Wildlife. 

General Teaching Resources 
Twinkl is offering a month’s free membership for parents and teachers. Resources include forest school type activities.

BBC Bitesize. Loads of resources