• Sarah Dann

Magical Nature

Before I start todays blog, I just wanted to address a quick question I just received. A nanny just said that she is going out this morning to find rocks (Wonderful!) but was worried that she didn’t have acrylic paint like I used yesterday. Acrylic paint is absolutely not necessary. It is simply what I had in my arts & crafts box. Any liquid paint will work, glitter glue, crayons will work too. Nail vanish can even be used, you could paint little red hearts! Or maybe a friend has paint that you could borrow?

It is important to remember, anything I post certainly doesn’t need to be followed to the letter T, and simply there as a guide.

Once again, my heart is filled with absolute joy from a message from a mother. I can’t express how much I love seeing messages from you all, keep them coming! Knowing I am helping someone, somewhere, is what is driving me forward every day. This is what I received, “Thank you so much! M wanted to sit next to her new pet rock at dinner. It got its own chair (an emoji crying with laughter inserted here)”. They certainly can be pets too! I simply love how little minds work.


I wanted to bring something to the table today which I know everyone has either on their bookshelves or at least knows it very well indeed. Then I wanted to take it to the next level, and then the next level again and then one more. How far you take it with your little ones, is up to you, but for me I feel each level is just as enthralling and exciting as the last.


The hungry caterpillar has been around since 1969, a true beloved classic which describes to children the cycle of the butterfly. I wanted to mention that there is also another book which I adore which is written by Julia Donaldson, called Monkey Puzzle. This book for those who don’t know, starts off with a little monkey who has lost his mum and a butterfly guides him through a jungle showing the monkey various animals trying to find his mum. The little monkey eventually says “Butterfly, butterfly, please don’t joke, can’t you see none of these animals look like me?”, to which the butterfly responds, “You never told me she looks like you.." Of course the butterfly didn't know what animal to look for, as none of her babies look like a butterfly, and theres a beautiful illustration by Axel Scheffler of little caterpillars.


I fully understand that buying this book may not be an option, and of course libraries are now shut, so I wanted to provide you with a YouTube video I enjoyed watching & listening to of the monkey puzzle being sung, which I think your children might enjoy even if they have the book.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iIn8sjN1pgw

Did you enjoy listening to it as much as I did?

Both these books provide wonderful opportunity to talk about the fascinating life of a caterpillar.

The hungry caterpillar eats that lovely green leaf and that what inspired me for todays activity.


First step, pop on those shoes and head outside to gather leaves of all kinds and sizes, rinse off that mud and leave to dry.


(I wonder which leaf the hungry caterpillar would prefer out of my collection?)

Here, I would like to enter the magic of leaf rubbings. Somehow even when we know what leaves look like, when hidden under paper and we start rubbing away with a crayon, we are made to notice the intricacy of the structure of a leaf and we start to realize how beautiful mother nature truly is. If rubbing is too advanced for your little ones, still head outside and gather a selection of leaves so you can have fun painting and printing. Your child will still get to see all those integral veins. (Also, the rubbing doesn't have to stop at leaves, what else can you find to take rubbings of?)





If theres anything I love more than a good children’s book, is a children’s book that you can take a step further, like the bear in the window with 'We're going on a bear hunt'. Well I think this is something fantastically educational and enables children to have their first pet, without having any long-term commitment or mess!

Amazon provides some fantastic ‘butterfly kits’ which are terrific at these times, as they will send you the kit, which includes directions on how to order your LIVE caterpillars online. These will be sent to your door, and your child can watch with their own eyes the astounding cycle of the butterfly. Maybe you have done this before, maybe it is time to dig it out and experience the magic again!

You certainly don't need to get this set in particular, there's many types, all equally great. I just wanted to include this one as it is on sale in the states for $19.20 and I think is a great deal!



Unfortunately, in NZ, I have heard deliveries are not being made at the moment, but do not despair. I have something equally great to share with you.

So, we have all been looking at that map of red spots scattered across the country of cases of corona and the death toll, depressing isn't it. Well what if I told you, you can watch little happy yellow dots instead moving slowly north?

What if I said having to slow down in this fast paced world, will help us to let children to discover this increble world we live in?

Well here it is,



With spring here, Monarch butterflies are making the great migration from Mexico, all the way up the country. Nature is in full swing and people all over the country are posting pictures and blogs to log this magical migration! They will reach as far north as Canada.

Now you can't tell me that is more fun to look at then the red corona dots! Please share this map and exciting news with your children, it will show them that the world is still going on, and if monarchs haven't reached you yet, watch carefully because they are on their way!

My texan friends, have you spotted any?


You can also share that Monarchs after they start laying eggs, only live for a short time. However, the eggs they lay turn into baby caterpillars who do what they do best, which as we know from the hungry caterpillar, they munch away on that tasty milkweed (their favorite food).



Then they enter the pupae stage,



Finally spreading its beautiful wings.



Somehow it knows innately to keep flying north. So the great migration continues. I knew birds migrated, I certainly didn't know butterflies did, did you?


I will finish with this beautiful couple:




For more information & tracking pop over on:

https://journeynorth.org/monarchs/news/spring-2020/03192020-advancing-monarch-migration


For those who can,

Happy Butterfly Hunting!

Those who can't yet, enjoy the butterfly kit, and rediscovering the fun of rubbing and printing!

Happy Discovery Day!


Hope I have included something for everyone today :)!

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