Living in the countryside, we haven't had much of an urge to explore our local nature reserves as it often feels like we live in one already! However, when a homeschool trip came up to a local nature reserve we knew straight away this was going to be just our kind of thing. Mainly, because pond dipping was mentioned! I would kind of like a pond in the garden, and so would the girls, but I think the dog would keep drinking all the water and probably eating any wildlife in it so have resisted so far. This doesn't seem to have stopped frogs, toads and even lizards visiting our garden though :-)
The local trip we went on was to Vinters Valley Nature Reserve in Maidstone, just off Junction 7 of the M20. It was a brilliant afternoon, the highlight for me, being the discovery of this toad:
The reserve warden was great with the kids and very knowledgeable. We kept a record of birds seen and heard and his ability to recognise birdsong has sparked off a determination in dd1 and dd2 to be able to do this themselves. We have a CD of birdsong which came free with a newspaper a long time ago - I'm going to dig it out and see if we can learn some ourselves.
I think the highlight for dd1 and dd2 was doing the pond dipping. The element of danger of falling into the pond only added to their enjoyment! An amazing array of tiny pondlife were discovered and (mostly!) identified using identification charts, and finding empty frogspawn and tadpoles was the bee's knees!
Maybe you have a nature reserve near to you that you could visit ...