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Fun and Games with Nature 2

Drink nature's own peppermint tea.

Water Mint is a very common plant along the banks of the river. If you accidentally trample water mint, a scent of "polos" or toothpaste will infuse the air around you. You can make a tasty tea from the leaves. Take a thermos flask of hot water with you so you can pour it over the mint leaves right away. You can also take a bundle of mint back home, where you can use it, either fresh or dried. Mint can be recognised by its reddish leaves and stems and by its strong scent of peppermint. You will not be able to confuse it with poisonous plants.







Build a boat made of bark


If you cross a bridge over the river, it's always fun to drop a stick in the water, and see how fast it flows downstream. It is also easy to make a small boat, and if there is more than one of you, you can have a little race. You will need a piece of bark or a piece of soft wood for the boat's hull, a thin stick for a mast and a large leaf to use as a sail.


Make a small hole in the bark or wood to press in the the stick/mast. Put the leaf onto the mast by pushing the stick through the top and bottom of the leaf. Put the mast and sail onto the hull and the boat is ready for its maiden voyage downriver. 






Whistle with a blade of grass


By holding a blade of grass between your thumbs, you can make a "grass flute" that can make a pretty loud noise. The sound can vary, depending on the stalk of grass you use, and how you hold it between your fingers. The stalk of grass must be held tightly lengthways between your thumbs. There must be a small gap between your fingers, with the stalk of grass in the middle, with air on both sides.

Put your mouth to your fingers right at the hole and blow hard, so the grass whistles.  It takes a little practice, so don't give up if you don't get it right the first time. 







Headbands of bulrush leaves

If you can find the long bulrush leaves that grow beside the river, you can make a fine headband.

Place two long leaves in parallel. Take a third leaf and braid it up and under the parallel leaves to form a braided zig-zag pattern. When you get to the end of the leaves, you can insert new leaves as an extension to the old leaves. When you joining the ends of the wreath, lay the parallel leaves over each other and weave the two layers of leaves together.  Fix them by weaving into the "old weaves". Insert a fern leaf, a horsetail, a flower or a bird feather as decoration.

The thick brown bulrushes can be used in a fencing match, with down guaranteed to fly all over the place.