Prince Charles offers families relief during 'incredibly hard year' with half-term activities

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MONMOUTH, WALES - JULY 09:  Prince Charles, Prince of Wales visits Humble by Nature Farm on July 9 2015 in Monmouth, Wales. Humble by Nature is a working farm which was saved from closure by Kate Humble and her husband Ludo Graham in 2010. It includes a rural skills centre as well as a farm shop, cafe and adventure playground.  (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Prince Charles at Humble by Nature Farm in 2015 in Monmouth, Wales. (Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Prince Charles has launched a set of half-term activities for families to give them ideas for something to do while they take a break from online learning.

Charles, 72, has drawn on his and his wife Camilla's love of nature to share a week's worth of outdoor fun and games for relief after what he called an "incredibly hard year".

Over six days of half-term, the Clarence House accounts on social media will share a new challenge, from planting a seed, to painting and creating, and to finding patterns in nature.

The challenges all reflect some of the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall's royal work with their patronages and have been designed to be accessible from all environments, urban, rural or seaside.

Charles, who is a grandfather of four, will encourage people to share their creations and findings with him on social media, using #POWNatureChallenge.

MONMOUTH, WALES - JULY 09:   Prince Charles, Prince of Wales takes part in a bush-skills class during a visit to  'Humble by Nature', a working organic farm run by broadcaster Kate Humble, on July 09, 2015 in Monmouth, Wales. (Photo by Anwar Hussein/WireImage)
Prince Charles trying a bush-skills class during at 'Humble by Nature', in Wales. (Anwar Hussein/WireImage)

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In a video introducing the challenge, Charles said: "I know it has been an incredibly hard year for everyone. We’ve all had to think very carefully about how to keep ourselves and our families safe, which has meant we have had to stay very close to home.

"I am sure you feel as frustrated as I do about that – not being able to get outside as much as you’d like to, especially if you live near a park or some local countryside. And now, of course, is a special time to be doing that."

He added: "It’s at this time of year that all sorts of wonderful things start happening as Nature wakes up the world from its Winter sleep.

Buds on trees will soon become leaves, bulbs will start pushing Spring flowers up through the soil and we’ll soon be hearing the wonderful sound of birdsong every morning.

"These things will happen near you, whether you live in a town, or a city or in the countryside."

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 13:  Prince Charles, Prince of Wales inspects insects with Loyd Grossman and pupils  St.James & St.John Church of England Primary School as he launches the new Royal Parks charity, of which he is a patron, at Hyde Park on July 13, 2017 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Jeff Gilbert - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Prince Charles inspecting insects with Loyd Grossman and pupils St.James & St.John Church of England Primary School in 2017 in London. (Jeff Gilbert - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Setting the challenge, he suggested children ask their families to go out with them to "take a really close look at the wonderful things Nature is now doing", and "report back"

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The weekly activity list:

Day one - Plant a seed

Monday, 15 February: Plant a seed using an old egg box or an unused pot. Fill the pot with soil or cotton wool and scatter it with cress seeds or plant the seeds from some of the fruit or vegetables that you have eaten this week.

The challenge is supported by Garden Organic who said they hoped it would start a "lifelong passion" for gardening.

Britain's Prince Charles, Prince of Wales reacts as he meets with horse loggers from the British Horse Loggers, as they work in Tyn-y-Coed Forest near Llantrisant, south Wales, on July 1, 2019. - The Prinec of Wales is Patron of the British Horse Loggers, an independent group formed to represent those either working with horses in forestry or anyone interested in the art of horse logging and supporting the skill, and the only national body representing those working in the industry. (Photo by Arthur Edwards / POOL / AFP)        (Photo credit should read ARTHUR EDWARDS/AFP via Getty Images)
Charles meeting horse loggers from the British Horse Loggers, in Tyn-y-Coed Forest near Llantrisant, south Wales in 2019 (Arthur Edwards/AFP)

Day two - Draw an elephant

Tuesday, 16 February: Draw an elephant using things found in nature. Use the biggest leaves on a tree to make ears, and try a bark rubbing with crayons or pencils to add texture.

The challenge is supported by Elephant Family, of which Charles and Camilla are joint presidents.

Day three - Go to local wetlands

Wednesday, 17 February: Find and visit local wetlands, like ponds, streams, lakes, seaside saltmarshes and canals and spot birds.

This challenge is supported by the The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT), which has a live camera on its website of their wetlands. Anyone without access to nearby water is encouraged to spot birds on the site instead.

Offering their support, the WWT said "latest research shows that blue spaces involving water may be even better for people’s wellbeing than green spaces".

NEW DELHI, INDIA - NOVEMBER 08:  Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales pose with two of the 101 painted sculptures, named after the 101 elephant corridors that have been mapped across the country, at an
The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall with two of the 101 painted sculptures, named after the 101 elephant corridors that have been mapped across India, at an "Elephant Parade" during the Elephant Family charity event in 2017. (Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

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Day four - Make a mini garden

Thursday, 18 February: Make a miniature garden on a plate, using materials from your fridge, cupboards, a garden or park.

This challenge is supported by the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, which the prince has been patron of since 2016.

Day five - Paint a paperweight

Friday, 19 February: Find a stone or pebble and paint it with an animal. It could be a favourite animal or one that needs protecting, like a bee or a hedgehog.

This challenge is supported by the Wildlife Trust, which Charles has been patron of since 1977.

Day six - find patterns in nature

Saturday, 20 February: Spend time outdoors looking for patterns in nature. Look closely to spot any symmetry on leaves, seeds, seashells, plants, and even in the houses and buildings you pass while out walking. Spend some time observing, studying and perhaps even recreating the patterns you find.

This challenge is supported by The Prince's Foundation, which Charles founded in 2018.

Some of the responses to the challenges submitted online will be added to a gallery on the Clarence House social media pages the following week.

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