Children’s Activity 19: Find 10 Different Leaves In The Park

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For this, you’ll all have to get wrapped up warm and go out for a nice walk to your local park or woodland. This is the perfect time of year to find leaves as they’re all falling from the trees! As well as having fun playing with the leaves and feeding the ducks, take time to have a look more closely at the leaves and see if you can identify 10 different types. Collect them all together and take them home to create a scrapbook!

Some common leaves you might find are:

Yew
Beech
Birch
Elder
Hawthorn
Holly
Hazel
Horse Chestnut
Larch
Oak
Scots Pine
Sycamore
Whitebeam
Willow

You might surprise yourself with how many you actually recognise but for some extra back-up why not get your hands on a children’s tree book like the RSPB’s First Book of Trees.

Children’s Activity 20: Bake A Cake

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I’m sure nearly all of us have baked a cake at some point in our lives and it seems it’s becoming very popular with shows like The Great British Bake-Off on TV and the huge number of celebrity chefs we see too. It’s a really fun and simple thing you can enjoy doing at home and with some practise you really can get some remarkably tasty treats! This is an old recipe for a carrot cake for you to try out with your children. Not only has it got healthy carrots in it, the end results are ludicrously tasty. I’ve never had a better carrot cake before or since!

Ingredients:

350g (12½ oz) carrots
56g (2oz) pecans
110g (4oz) self-raising wholemeal flour
110g (4oz) plain wholemeal flour
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
240ml (8floz) vegetable oil
170g (6oz) soft brown sugar
4 eggs
2 tablespoons golden syrup

Method:

Start off by grating the carrots and chopping the pecans. Put to one side. Sieve together self-raising flour and plain flour (both wholemeal) with cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg and bicarbonate of soda. (Tip the bran bits left in the sieve into the mixture.)

Whisk together the vegetable oil, sugar,eggs and golden syrup. (Heat the spoon first and the syrup will slide off easily.)

Add this to the dry ingredients and mix until it’s nice and smooth. Stir in the carrots and pecans. Tip the mixture into a greased, lined tin and cook at 160ºC for an hour, or until cooked. If you think it may be cooked, take a clean knife and press it right through the centre of the cake, when you withdraw it, if the knife is clean, it is ready!

Topping Ingredients:

200g (7oz) cream cheese
56g (2oz) softened unsalted butter
56g (2oz) sifted icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Topping Method:

For the topping, mix cream cheese, softened unsalted butter, sifted icing sugar and vanilla essence, until smooth. Allow the cake to cool and then add the topping. This cake will keep for a few days in an airtight container.

Children’s Activity 21: Pick Some Strawberries

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This one may have to wait until next Summer / Autumn, but, if you really want to get involved now you should still be able to find some blackberry bushes! Why not combine this with a nice family walk? You may have to drive out to the countryside to do this if you don’t already live near any areas with blackberry bushes. Once they’re picked, if you manage not to eat them all, you can turn them into a simple apple and blackberry pie!

If you do wait until next Summer, do some research into local farms that let you come along and pick strawberries. You generally go and pick them, have them weighed and pay a small amount for them. Obviously you are taking the time to pick them, which would normally be done by farm staff so you get tasty, British strawberries for a lot less than you would at the supermarket and it’s something fun and a little bit messy that the kids will love.

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November 22 2012

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