One of the best things about the summer is how quickly everything grows. In long grass, there are lots of different grasses and wild flowers to be found. Not only is this good for minibeasts and other wildlife, there are also many traditional games and past times which can be enjoyed. If there is one thing you can do in your school, it is let some of the grass grow long. Play hard, play long and enjoy the last of the summer days…
Make Grass Whistle
Find a wide blade of grass. Stretch the blade between the bone joints of your thumbs. Kiss both top knuckles and as you do so, blow gently through the small gap where the blade of grass is fixed.
Pick a dandelion and remove its head so that all you are left with is the stalk. Gently squash one end slightly and make a split in it, like a reed. Pop it into your mouth and blow. With a bit of practice you can make a whole variety of sounds. In this video clip, the stalk is removed to make different sounds. However you can make little holes to play like a pipe or a penny whistle.
You and a friend each need a blade of grass, the longer the better. Each person makes a loop with their blade, giving the ends to the other person to hold between their thumb and index finger. Loop each person’s blade together. On the count of three start tugging. See whose blade breaks first.
Each person chooses a plantain stalk and head. Take it in turns to try and decapitate the head. If your stalk wins, see how many other stalks it can behead before becoming too weak. Does the size of a plantain stalk affect its performance?
Human Spinning Tops
Find a place where the grass is nice and soft. Stretch out your arms and spin around at least ten times or until your are nice and dizzy. Then try walking in a try line…
Be a Seed Carrier
Turn an old walking sock inside out and put it over your shoe. Go for a walk through the long grass and see what seeds are being transported on the sock. Plant them in a seed tray and see what grows.
Clover thrives on many school playing fields as well as in long grass. Organise a hunt for a four-leaved clover. What tactics and what equipment are needed? Make a meticulous plan of action.
Scatter Seeds Poetically
Here’s a tree in summer (present a long grass with seed heads on it to your friend)
Here’s a tree in winter (run hand up stalk, removing grass seeds)
Here’s a bunch of flowers (present seeds caught in hand to your friend)
Here’s the April showers (chuck seeds over your friend’s head)
Have a look at the photos in this Nature Bag blog post for the illustration.
Goose Grass Ganders
Sneak up behind your friend and plant some goosegrass on their back. Time how long it takes before they notice it is there.
This is wonderfully annoying. Find the longest grass stalk you can. Pick it and use the end to gently tickle other people’s ears as you walk and talk. Don’t poke it right inside their ear as this could hurt and damage the middle ear. It is incredibly tickly. Is it possible to carry on a normal conversation when someone is doing this to you?