Iver Environment Centre is a bit of a hidden gem, just off the road going from Slough to Uxbridge. We first visited it a few days before Thomas was born and it’s become one of our favourite places to visit. During the school holidays, they have family fun mornings and afternoons with craft sessions as well as adventure days and weeks for over 7s. We’d booked a family fun morning with a craft session on bees and pollination.
Each table at the craft session was set up for use by a single household. We hadn’t booked Thomas into the craft session as it was over threes but this meant he could have joined in if he’d wanted to. He was quite happy sitting there drawing and rearranging the coloured pencils though while Sophie made a pipe cleaner bee.
Sophie made her bee by twirling black and yellow pipe cleaners around a pencil to form the body. She then twisted a white pipe cleaner into a circle and twisted it again around the middle to form a figure of eight. This made the wings which she then slotted in between the black and yellow coils to complete the bee.
We then drew some flowers on the top of some paper cups and Daddy hid a sweet under one of them for Sophie to find with her bee. The session leader explained that bees’ eyesight is different from ours and they see colours on flowers differently. Sophie then used a UV light to look at the paper cups using bee vision to find which one was different. It happened to be the one the sweet was hidden under but that was pure coincidence!
We then wrote our own secret messages on paper flowers using a UV pen before heading out into the gardens to visit the beehives and learn more about how bees communicate. Sophie already knew about how bees do a waggle dance to let other bees know where to find nectar and pollen thanks to Go Jetters. She was in her element joining in and doing a waggle dance with the other children.
We also learned that the yellow centre on forget-me-nots changes to white after they’ve been visited by a bee which is something I never knew before. I had to take a closer look at the forget-me-nots in our garden later on. Sure enough many of the flowers have white centres!
The session finished with the children dressing up as a bee and picking up pollen from a giant fabric flower. Thomas made the most adorable little bee!
There was also a trail around the grounds to find the answers to a crossword puzzle all about pollination. Sophie enjoyed looking out for the clues for this.
Thomas loved the new log trail in the natural play area. It’s a little high up in places for him, but Daddy was on hand to help him along.
The animal sounds board in the orchard was a big hit with both children. They loved turning the dial to hear all the different sounds.
Sophie also enjoyed being a pollinator. She used a paintbrush to pick up pollen from one flower and transferred it to another flower of the same type. We talked about the different parts of the flower that we’d looked at in our home learning last year and how the pollen is transferred from the anthers to the stigma during pollination.
Sophie also enjoyed trying out the barefoot walk. I’m not sure if this is a new addition or if we just haven’t noticed it on our previous visits.
We had a great morning at Iver Environment Centre and loved learning more about bees and pollination. The ticket price is very reasonable at £4 for entry per child over 3 (no charge for accompanying adults) and an extra £4 per child for the workshop. The ticket also books a space in the small car park. Spaces are limited to 15 households each for the family fun morning and afternoon. If you’re in the area, I’d certainly recommend it as a place to visit with children. We’ve always enjoyed the craft workshops and the children love exploring the gardens, particularly the rainforest area.
Visiting Iver Environment Centre – what you need to know:
Iver Environment Centre
Iver Environment Centre is open on selected days during the year. Entry needs to be prebooked through the website.
Opening details are correct at the time of posting.