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Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Slow Down: Bring Calm to a Busy World with 50 Nature Stories + 15 Nature Activities

One of the biggest lessons 2020 has taught us, if not forced us to learn, is to slow down. Take note of the world around us and pay more attention to nature. Realise the little moments are the big moments and the seemingly insignificant moments are the most important. If ever there was a children's book that perfectly encapsulates this message, it's this one, Slow Down by Rachel Williams.

Slow Down: Bring Calm To A Busy World With 50 Nature Stories

slow down by rachel williams

Slow down is not your typical children's picture book. Filled to the brim with many, many beautiful stories and gorgeous illustrations, Slow Down is more like a nature encyclopedia for both children and adults alike. Instead of one single story, it includes 50 different nature stories, explaining how at any given moment there are many different significant events happening in nature all around us. The stories include a duck teaching her ducklings to swim, an ocean wave forms, crests and breaks, a tadpole becomes a frog, a snake sheds it's skin, water lilies open on a pond, plus 45 other tales about how the weather, animals and plants survive and interact on a daily basis.

All around us, nature is turning, growing…and working. Every day, hour by hour, magical transformations happen right in front of you. But it's not always easy to see them… Slow Down implores us all to take stock of life and how we spend our time, in order to slow down and really appreciate everything that is going on all around us every single day. To pay more attention to nature and realise the seemingly insignificant moments are the most important and what may appear to be small to us, is actually a really big deal.

frog life cycle illustration from slow down by Rachel Williams

The girls love flipping through the pages looking at all the gorgeous pictures and my eldest will sit and read through the stories herself. I often pick it up to flick through the pages myself. It's also a great book to have on hand for homeschooling, or just for those moments when children ask questions about how or why things happen. My favourite story in the book is how a tadpole becomes a frog because it was a beautiful visual way to show the girls the frog life cycle and we used it alongside our frog life cycle small world. The book is a great way to spark a child's interest in the world around them and a great starting point for inspiring many nature adventures.


If you're anything like us you'll be instinctively wanting to slow down and appreciate everything nature has to offer after reading this book. To get started here's 15 different activities you can do during the day and night to get the kids out into nature to experience some of the wonderful moments captured in Slow Down first hand.

1. Watch the sunrise.

Wake up early and watch the sunrise. Sunrise times change throughout the year depending on the season, so look up on a weather app or Google to see when the sun is estimated to rise the next morning.

2. Watch bees pollinating flowers.

If you have flowers in your garden, chances are you'll have bees at some point. Sit back and observe how they go from one flower to another. Just remember don't disturb them as they may sting if they feel threatened and a bee sting is not nice {especially if you're allergic like me}.

3. Build a butterfly feeder to attract butterflies to your garden.

It's easy to build a DIY butterfly feeder and set it up in your garden to attract more of them to visit your garden. You'll need some sugar water, flowers and some fruit. Read how we made our own DIY butterfly feeder here.

DIY butterfly feeder by Finding Myself Young

4. Close your eyes and listen.

Lay down somewhere comfy outside and close your eyes. What can you hear? Birds chirping? Leaves rustling in the wind?

5. Watch a ladybird walking or flying.

If you find a ladybird in your garden, don't pick it up. Sit and observe how it walks across the ground or plants. Where do you think it's wings hide when it's walking? If you're lucky you might see it fly as well.

6. Look at dew drops on leaves.

Look closely at plant leaves either first thing in the morning, or after it's rained {or the plants have been watered} and look at the shapes of the dew drops. What do they look like? How many can you see? What happens if you touch them?

7. Look closely at ants.

Look on the ground and find some ants. Watch them as they move around. Where are they going? Are some of them carrying food back to the nest? Where do you think their nest is?

8. Make a bird feeder

Make a bird feeder and hang it in your garden to attract birds to visit. You can easily make a bird feeder at home from recyclable items. Read how we made our own DIY recycled bird feeder here. There's also lots of other bird feeders using toilet paper rolls, cardboard, old cups and plastic bottles here.

DIY bird feeder made from a recycled milk bottle

9. Collect leaves and study them.

Collect leaves from different plants and study their similarities and differences. What colours are they? Are they small or big? Long or short? Wide or skinny? Do some leaf rubbings with crayon and paper to get a better look at the differences in the veins of the leaves.

10. Look at the sky and watch the clouds.

Lay down somewhere comfy outside, look up and watch the clouds blow across the sky. What do the clouds look like? Which way are they blowing? Are they moving fast or slow?

11. Make a frog pond.

You can set up a little pond area within your garden to attract frogs. Make sure there are also rocks and somewhere for the adult frogs to seek shelter like a PVC pipe or pot laying on it's side. If you don't want to set up a real pond, you can make this frog life cycle small world I did with my girls.

12. Watch the sun set.

Look up what time the sun is expected to set and sit outside and watch the sun go down. If you're lucky you may even see a pretty pink sunset some days.

13. Look for bats flying at night.

Just as the day turns to dusk the birds go home and the bats come out to explore. Go outside and look in the sky to see how many bats you can see flying around.

14. Watch the night sky for shooting stars.

Look up at the stars in the night sky. Can you see any of them moving? You may be lucky and spot a shooting star! Don't be fooled by those tricky flashing plane lights though.

15 Look at the moon each night to see how it changes.

Go outside and look at the moon every night. Each night you will notice it's shape slightly changes. Sometimes there will be a full moon and sometimes it might only be a tiny sliver. Draw a picture of what you see each night so you can track moon's lunar cycle.

Disclosure - this post contains some affiliate links for your convenience, which means I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you, should you make a purchase. We were kindly gifted a copy of Slow Down from Walker Books for the purpose of review.

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