Nature quiz to try with the kids

I was wheeling my bike back from Freightliners City Farm today with a bale of straw on it… This post is by Nicola Baird (actually my bike is smaller, but the pic shows it’s more normal than I thought).

The kids are at school and although they sometimes help me shift loads around this is one task easier without them. Of course I look strange, and there’s always a wit ready to shout out, “Hey” jokes, EVEN though it’s straw.  We’ve all heard the urban myth that most children are a bit muddled about where milk comes from (tetrapak cartons, duh!). While this survey on the fab blog Love Outdoor Play shows how only 1 in 5 children knows the difference between a bee and a wasp. Though come to think of it, does it matter after all both stings hurt ridiculously.

Smell a rat
I bet you’ve hoped your own kids weren’t quite so confused by wildlife. After all even if they don’t go outside much, knowing your rodents has become an important TV-watchers skill as it seems rats regularly appear on the news during camera shots at Number 10 Downing Street.

Because I live in central London I don’t really expect people to have big nature skills – although obviously some have incredible knowledge, far surpassing my own. Every year I try to learn a little more, in the hope that I can share the info with my girls – and they are good too. What are you like? Here’s a little spring quiz to see how well you (and your kids) know the world now that the sap is rising… 10 questions, starting now!

Naturekid QUESTIONS:

1) Does a hen lay eggs sitting down or standing up?

2) What time is it a gourmet’s delight to eat nettles?

3) Why do foxes scream on January and February nights?

4) What do tiger worms dislike enough to go and die of misery if too many are put in their compost bin? Clue: it’s not vegetables.

5) Do slow worms have legs? Do they live in the UK? Have you ever seen one?

6) When you see the first snow drops (and they are up in London already), what is fun to do?

7) Do you know another name for some plants, eg, lambs’ tails, and old man’s beard?

8) Which dies after it’s stung you? A bee or a wasp?

9) Which farm animals can be milked?

10) Which female bird can sing?

Find out how you did with these answers below – it’s more fun to share this with your child, though not sure the Tiger Mum in you will approve…

ANSWERS

1) It’s standing up! I’ve had hens in my back urban garden for four years and at last, today, I saw my hen Violet pop out an egg. She bent forward, put her wings in an uncomfy rainbow position, gave a fierce squawk and there it was. This is fast food at its best.

2) Early spring nettle shoots are delicious (and iron-rich) in soups and souffles. I pick them with gloves but some people love the sting…

3) It’s mating season. Cue cringe making from children. Lola politely said “they want to have a girlfriend and as we live near a pub assumes that’s normal behaviour in the search for one!”

4) Compostable nappies and citrus peel, especially loads of oranges.

5) The answer is no, yes, and the truth, see pix of the legless lizard here! A run over one counts.

6) I try to make nature spotting more fun by offering a wish whenever we see a new flower pop up again. This renewal of the world is amazing. It is illegal to dig up wild snowdrops, although you can split your own clumps in the green if you want a better display next year.

7) They’re all around now: lambs’ tails = catkins; old man’s beard = wild clematis

8) A bee – see how sad it is for the bee to be lured into a killer sting situation.

9) This is a standard Pony Club “know your farm animals” question. The answers include cows, goats, sheeps and possibly buffalo (depending on how often you eat mozarella).

10) Mostly female birds are quiet. The exception is the robin, go girl!

Good luck sharing your nature knowledge with your children – there are loads more ideas in my book Homemade Kids: thrifty, creative and eco-friendly ways to raise children.

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