I’m reaching out to you at this extremely difficult and uncertain time in all our lives, not just on a national level, but global too.
I understand you must be feeling worried and fearful of how things will turn out but I want you to know that R&S is here to support you through these challenging times.
Dr Jane Goodall has shared some wonderful messages of hope and her unshaken belief in a brighter future, because when things are in crisis, hope has the power to transform.
Our special guide below has been specifically tailored towards Roots & Shoots activities that can be undertaken during this difficult period of isolation. For me personally, nature has always been a wonderful escape and indeed a healing tool in difficult times and I take every opportunity to embrace it whenever I can.
Stay safe and well, support loved ones, neighbours and your local communities.
We are with you all the way!
Executive Director, Education
List of Action Points
Follow Roots & Shoots on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram; we’ll be sharing good news, positive stories, helpful advice and more. It’s more important than ever that we stay connected, stay positive, be kind and remain hopeful.
Informed reading from our Global offices
Good news for teachers, parents and all home educators
One big way Roots & Shoots UK can help you is through our teaching resources and articles.
We offer a whole library of free lesson and activity plans that can be done at home, require minimal if any resources, and will guide students/children step-by-step with the opportunity to reflect on and discuss what they’ve learned.
Best of all, they’ll help your children to focus on something productive and positive. It will give them the chance to take action, interact with the natural world and reap the recognised mental benefits of watching nature.
Even for those of you in towns and cities with less access to the natural world, we have plenty of ideas for activities that are perfect for weekends and school holidays, from craft ideas to upcycling items to growing plants.
And we’ll also be sharing other online resources that you might find useful through our social media channels, from online galleries from interesting museums to live chats with scientists and conservation experts, and much more.
All of these will give children a sense of focus and control, and the opportunity to interact with other people.
How it works
Each of our lesson plans are grouped into a collection or ‘mission’, listed below. Within each mission there are different lessons and activities, and we’ve picked out the best ones for your time at home. There is a lot of variety and the sessions can be linked to specific parts of the curriculum, ranging from maths to geography and history to science.
My Local Area – While we can’t wander far, it’s still possible to do these activities based on a balcony, garden or on a short walk during the day.
- Local Safari – You don’t have to go far to find wildlife, there’s plenty to spot in your garden or on your balcony!
Reduce, reuse and recycle – These activities are all about the energy we use and the waste we produce, so they’re perfect for doing at home.
- My PET project – If you’ve got plastic bottles around the place, this activity is all about how you can transform them into something beautiful or useful.
- What uses energy at home – Do you know how much energy your TV, computer and microwave use? This activity will help you find out.
People – Roots & Shoots is as much about helping, inspiring and motivating people as it is about helping animals and the environment, and these activities will help you do just that.
- Inspirational scientists – Meet some amazing scientists and conservationists who have made a difference
- Fairtrade: Create a radio/video advert – Get creative! Fairtrade products ensure workers are paid fairly for what they produce. Children can learn about this, then create something that explains this message.
Forests – We rely on forests and trees for so much. They provide clean fresh air for us, they are the lungs of the planet, they are home to animals and insects, and an important element of life on earth.
- The forest environment – This activity is all about looking at how forests have changed over time, and links well with geography.
- What lives in forests – If you’ve got any woods or even just a cluster of trees near you, this activity is all about spotting the animals, insects and plants that call it home.
Dustbowl – Most of the plants we rely on for food depend on pollinators like bees. Without them, huge areas of land would be barren, bare dust bowls. These activities are all about helping pollinators and the ecosystems that revolve around them.
- Make a bee-friendly garden – Now is the perfect time to do a garden project! Learn about the flowers and plants bees and other pollinators are attracted to, then grow them from seed!
- Springwatch – Track how spring is springing up in your garden or local area by recording the first time you see different flowers, insects, birds and animals.
Iceworld – Man-made climate change is having a major affect on the global environment. Earth’s climate has been affected, with cold Ice Age periods where the planet was covered in ice. These activities look at past climate, and how our actions today can feed into climate change currently.
- Which animals lived in the ice age? – A fun activity looking at the amazing ice-age animals that used to roam the UK, including woolly mammoths and sabre toothed cats.
- Where does your food come from? – It takes a lot of energy to move food around the planet, so how far has the food on your dinner plate travelled? This activity is all about food miles.
Miscellaneous – We’ve got lots of short, fun activities that are perfect for a morning or afternoon session. Collected under the main Roots & Shoots areas of focus — people, animals and the environment — you’ll find everything you need explained in the work plans.
Grow a wildlife garden
Now is the perfect time to get gardening, so you can grow some of the beautiful wild flowers and plants that insects need to survive and thrive. And you don’t even need a garden to do it! These plants can be grown on a balcony or window box.
You can order seeds from one of the many online seed shops or you might spot some at your local shop. Growing the seeds into new plants is one great project, and you can upcycle your old toilet roll tubes into ready-to-plant seedling pots.
Then, when your seedlings have grown enough, record how the plants grow, identify what plants you’ve got, then spend some time each day watching and recording which insects come to visit! If you want to go further, you can also use this activity to talk about food chains too.
Set up a bird feeder
Bird feeders are great ways of bringing nature close and helping it at the same time. If you’ve already got a bird feeder, make sure it’s topped up with birdseed. If not, it’s really easy to make one at home from an old plastic bottle, or you can make a simple seed cake that can be hung like a feeder from a tree or fence, on your balcony or just outside your window.
Then, all you need to do is watch and see what birds visit. The RSPB has some great guides to help you identify the birds that come, and you could even use this as a basis for some maths lessons in recording, percentages, averages etc as you work out how many species of birds visit, and which ones are most common.
Weekend and holiday activities:
Did you know that your wildlife spotting can help scientists learn more about the natural world, which can help them protect it? There are lots of projects that ask people to record the different animals and plants they see, so that scientists can track where and when they’ve been spotted.
Many of these projects involve things you might see in your garden, or near your home, such as bluebell plants, butterflies or bees, so you don’t have to go far (or anywhere!) to be able to join in, and the records can all be entered online.
Get crafty and upcycle
There’s only one thing better than recycling or using less in the first place, and that’s turning something that’s going to be thrown away into something useful and beautiful.
We’ve got lots of easy craft projects that can be done at home with just a few items like glue, paint and string, and can help turn things you might otherwise be throwing away into things you’ll treasure instead. This includes everything from making shopping bags to pretty candle holders to decorative shelves.
Have a garden mini-adventure
There are plenty of mini-adventures you can have without going far at all. Just changing everyday things up a bit can make it feel like a holiday! Try cooking your food outside, or build a den in your living room and have a picnic dinner in it. Spot wildlife or stars out the window, or learn about a new activity you’ll try later in the year.