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Offline Fun

Researching an African icon: Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela International Day is celebrated every year on July 18th (his birthday) since 2009, when it was announced by the United Nations in recognition of the former South African President’s contribution to the culture of peace and freedom.


So we would like you to do two things:

        # Get the know the former South African president by researching his life and main achievements;

Read the documents uploaded below and answer some of the questions

        # Get involved this Summer in making the World a better place (Start by your street, your neighbourhood, your town!)


Let us know what you are planning on doing or what you have already done. Take photos too, and we will put it on the website. You know that at Firs Farm, we LOVE when people get involved in what they truly believe in.

Nature Watch

Watching Birds

Do you know your Robin Red Breast from your magpie? Then let’s go birdwatching!

Put your wellies on (or your flip-flops, depending on the weather) and go for a walk in your local park. The Firs farm Wetlands is great, so is the Bury Street wetlands because they’ve both got ponds and/or a river. Now OPEN YOUR EYES! (AND EARS).

I will not show you the birds, but I will describe them to you. It’s up to you to spot them!

Land birds:

  • The Robin Redbreast is a small bird (10 to 14 cm) with a brown back and an orangey red face and breast and a white belly. Its song has a high pitch.
  • The blackbird is a medium bird (20 to 25 cm) with black feathers and a bright yellow beak.
  • The magpie is a larger bird (40 to 46 cm) with a black head and back, a white belly and a green or blue tail. They often fly as a pair. They are very intelligent birds.
  • The crow is a larger bird (40 to 47 cm) with black feathers all over and a large black beak. They have a rather intense stare and an intimidating call. They too are very intelligent (they are both the family of birds).
  • The ring-necked parakeet is a larger bird (35 to 40 cm) with bright green feathers and a red ring around its neck. Its call is just horrible, like a screeching noise!

Water birds:

  • The male duck is a colourful, webbed (with flipper-like feet) bird with a large yellow beak. It has a green head and a brown chest, a white back with blue wings. The female is a little smaller with brown feathers all over.
  • The coot is an all-black medium bird with a distinctive white beak. At the moment, the mums are busy with babies and can be seen followed by 3 or 4 little ones.
  • Its cousin, the moorhen, is a little smaller, blackish all over but with a red and white beak and long green legs (which you won’t see since the birds are in the water at the moment with their babies!)


Happy bird-watching!

Flower pressing


I bet you don’t know what a “herbarium” is… It is more fun than it sounds! It is a book where you stick your dried plants. Let me show you.

(Well, you can quickly watch this too:

or read this:

This is what you need:

Step 1: Collect

Pick a whole range of flowers and interesting leaves. Write where you have found them. Make sure you do not damage them or take too many.

Step 2: Press

Place the leaves flat and the flowers either closed or carefully spread the petals open. Close the book and weight it down with heavy books or objects. Store in a warm, dry place for a few days and check daily.

Step 3: Collate

Once the plants are dry, remove them carefully and use PVA glue to glue them unto a book for making your “Herbarium”, or on a card for displaying in a frame.

Create a label with the name of the plant if you are able to identify it.

Or make some beautiful art:


Family History Book

Have you ever wondered what life was like when your Grandad was a kid, or your Grandma was a teenager? Well, why not ask them!!

Think of 4 or 5 questions to ask them, then give them a call. You might want to make some notes in a diary so you remember.

Here are a few questions to help you:

Were you named after a family member and does your name have a special meaning?

Did you have a nickname that your siblings called you? How did you get it?

Where were you born? What was your house like when you were a kid?

What was your favourite game/toy when you were 10?

Did you share a room with anyone?

How did your family spend time together?

Did you have a favourite subject/teacher at school?

At what age did you leave school?

What did you do after that?

How did you meet Grandma/dad? What year was that?

What was my mum/dad like as a child?

Were they ever trouble?

Family Tree

Have you ever seen your family tree? If not, why not make your own.

A family tree maps out where you come from, i.e. your ancestors. It starts with you, coming from your mum and your dad, then their mums and dads, etc. You can also include siblings, but then the tree becomes rather bushy, but it’s nice to see all your uncles and aunties too.

You’ll need to speak to members of your family and ask for names and dates of birth (it’s nice to know what year people were born)

It will look messy to start with but once you’ve got all your info, you can organise neatly:

Questions you can ask:

What was you mum called? When was she born? Did she have any brothers or sisters? What were they called? Where were they born?

What was your dad called? When was he born? etc.

Does anyone else in the family have the same name as me?


· Create a circuit routine (e.g. star jumps, bunny hops, skipping, burpees, press ups, two-footed jump)

· Recording pulse before and after an exercise (e.g. star jumps for 1 minute). Repeat daily and record pulse data in a table.

· Ball skills – e.g. seated throw, overhead throw, throwing and catching to a partner, bounce and catch (turn these into games e.g. number of catches you can do in 1 minute without dropping)

Making your own music

Can you make a bottle instrument out of 2 or 3 plastic bottles in your house like the House of Sound presenters did?

Put different amounts of water in each bottle then blow gently across the top of the bottle. This will need practise – all musicians need practise to get better.


· Dissect a flower to investigate the parts of a flower that are important in the life cycle of a plant.

· Using your knowledge about the best conditions for plants to live and grow in, grow your own plant! From cress on your windowsill to seeds in the garden. Record your observations.

· What can you predict about a plant and how it grows from the size of its seed? Plan and carry out investigations to test your ideas.

Some ideas that may keep you entertained while at home!


  • Paint rocks and make a rock family 
  • Paint flower pots and sow some seeds
  • Bake - my favourite is jam tarts! 
  • Make puppets and put on a puppet show 
  • Make/ grow a mini garden 
  • Make a treasure map with clues to hide around your house and garden 
  • Make paper planes
  • Do some junk modelling and make anything you want!
  • Make a little city or in a shoe box 
  • Make a fort or tent to play or read in


Find a photograph or a picture in a book/magazine. Make up a new story about the characters in the picture or the scene of the photo. What’s going on?


Create a Time Capsule

Create a time capsule or first person account of living during the COVID-19 pandemic! Collect pieces of news, social media posts, recipes your family has been cooking, music playlists, books, movie reviews, or family interviews (Ask questions like: What have you learned about yourself during physical distancing? How does it feel to work from home?). You can also do this activity as a family!


Find a pattern in your home (Think: wallpaper, floor, rug, furniture, tile). Learn how to draw that pattern!


Are the best things in life free?

Think about:

Things like friends, family and good memories are free. Stuff like trainers, movies and video games cost and can be expensive. What great things you can get for free, and what things you can give for free, like your time and your attention? How about holidays and days out to amusement parks and things where there is more opportunity to spend time with people and see and experience new things? What about sharing a movie or video game with people?


Scavenger hunt

Solve the riddles!

1. What can travel around the world while staying in a corner?     

2. What has many keys but can't open a single lock?

3. What runs all around a backyard, yet never moves?

4. What tastes better than it smells?

5. What has a bottom at the top?


Check out the answers to see if you were right

 1. A. stamp. 2. A piano. 3. A fence 4. A tongue 5. Legs



Where in the world would you like to go? Write a recommendation for a friend. What physical and human features does that place have? What animals are there? Draw and label a picture of the place you would like to visit.

STEM activity

Using rolled up newspapers/ paper create the tallest tower you can. What maths/ science/ engineering skills do you need to use? You could take a photograph of your finished tower or draw it with measures. 

Ping pong story telling!

Write the opening sentence to a story, then someone else writes the next line. Then it's your turn again!

Keep alternating until you have a full story. Read it through- how does it sound?

Kindness Jar

Every time someone does something kind, write it down and put it in the jar. When the jar is full, you all deserve a special treat!

Sketching activity

Sit at a window and draw a detailed sketch of what you see.