Last week we were very kindly sent a selection of wildlife swatch books from the Woodland Trust, the UK’s leading woodland conservation charity. These pocket-sized swatch books are designed to help children enjoy the nature on their doorstep and identify native trees, flowers, fungi, creepy crawlies, butterflies and animal poo.
There are six books in the collection and each retails for £4.99:
- Mini Beast Swatch Book
- Poos and Clues Swatch Book
- Butterfly Swatch Book
- Fungi Swatch Book
- Leaf Swatch Book
- Wildflower Swatch Book
As the weather was so lovely at the weekend, we decided to put the Leaf Swatch Book to good use and take the boys on a leaf hunt down our little lane. We are very fortunate to live down a quiet lane on the outskirts of a rural village, so we are surrounded by fields, nature, wildlife and gorgeous countryside every single day – it’s a pretty amazing place to be raising a little family.
Riley really enjoyed being in charge of the Leaf Swatch Book, which features leaves and twigs from 32 common native tree and shrub species, clearly displayed in an innovative swatch format. The book is both tactile and lightweight, so it is very accessible for little fingers and can just as easily be slotted into an adult’s coat or trouser pocket when out on woodland or countryside walks. Great for adults and kids, these pocket-sized Woodland Trust swatch books are the perfect way to identify many British leaf types and encourage children to learn about the world around them in a fun way.
The boys are 100% country boys, so aren’t adverse to a little dirt and were only too happy to go rummaging around on the ground for leaves, as well as picking some directly from tree branches as well (with a little help obviously!).
Not only is the book small and lightweight, but also laminated, waterproof, leaf shaped and in full colour so it’s visually appealing as well as informative. Each page illustrates the leaf, seed and bare twig in winter. The back of each swatch gives a description, interesting facts and a location of where the tree is likely to be found. It comprises mainly native species such as oak, ash and hazel and species with similar leaf shape are grouped together so the swatch can be fanned out to aid cross-comparison – this is a really handy little feature, especially if like us, you discover leaves that look almost identical.
I was actually quite surprised by just how many species of tree we discovered during the leaf hunt on our little lane – we came home with quite the collection. Here are just a few of them:
We had so much fun and can’t wait to give the Mini Beast Swatch Book and Poos & Clues Swatch Book a try. If you’d like to get a copy for yourself, they’re available to purchase at www.woodlandtrustshop.com