When showing a group of children round a residential centre we arrived at the main field.
What's that thing with the tail on the field asks one?
My heart sank thinking it might be a rat from the burn or from the neighbouring land as it's not the best first impression. Where, point to it please I asked.
Over there, the grey thing with the bushy tail a few said enthusiastically.
Oh that's a squirrel I answered, relieved, they come onto the field to look for food.
Can we touch it asked the children - if you can catch it you can take it home I replied, knowing the squirrel wasn't going to hang around.
At that 30 children took off at full speed in an attempt to catch the squirrel who was up a horse chestnut tree before they'd taken 10 steps.
What did I learn - not all children who live in cities get to even go to greenspaces and parks to see wildlife.
I was facilitating a code of conduct session with some 6-8 year old boys, where the rules were set by them for the rest of the term. Normally it's 'don't wander off', 'be nice to each other' and the like.
One boy looked at me and said I think we should have a no farting rule.
Laughter erupted from the cohort and the boys sat there looking quite pleased with himself, while the other adults looked mortified.
Sorry we can't have a no farting rule I said, everybody has to fart sometimes, we can have a you must say 'excuse me' though if you do fart rule, would that do. Yes the boy replied.
The rest of that evening all you could hear was little 'excuse me' voices!
What did I learn - apart from little boys pass gas a lot, you only need to be smarter than the smartest 8 year old.
Would you like to go for a walk I asked my group of 6-8 year olds at a summer holiday activity club.
Nah, that's boring they replied and we're tired.
OK, what do you want to do then I asked.
Can we do the bushcraft fire session now.
OK I replied but we'll need to go and collect small twigs and stuff for the fire.
We then spent the next 90 minutes going for a walk around the grounds to collect twigs and kindling.
What did I learn - small children rarely go for a walk for the sake of it, an adventure or a purpose to the walk makes all the difference.
On a Easter holiday activity club I was explaining orienteering and was going to set the children off in small groups to find the markers.
One group came running back very out of breath shouting about being chased.
It turned out they'd managed to get between a Roe deer doe and her kid and she's chased them. We spent the next little while chatting about deer.
What did I learn - mention the deer.
Showing a group of children around a residential centre I mentioned the wildlife they might see - resident badger, deer, squirrels, buzzards, bats, swifts and so on.
Just then a group of 3 Roe deer wandered into sight at a distance and off into the trees.
I advised the children to stand still if they saw the deer again and wanted to watch them and don't get between the mother and her young.
Why not asked a few, she'll chase you I replied.
And eat us asked one boy - no they don't eat people, then they'll attack us with their horn things (antlers) - no they just chase you away.
What did I learn - don't assume children know anything about wildlife and they have vivid imaginations.
A 6 year old boy comes across to me on a summer holiday adventure club crying.
What's wrong I asked - that boy he says, pointing at another, called me names. Now we know that isn't nice and not allowed I say to him. What did he say - he called me a muggle he said.
Do you know what that is I ask - no, so I try and explain in my best 'serious' face about Harry Potter, witches, wizards and muggles.
Then I speak to the 'accused' and ask if he called the boy a muggle - yes, why I ask - because he can't do magic he answered. You can't argue with that. Apologies were made.
What did I learn - 6 year olds still like Harry Potter.
This one comes courtesy of my husband and his tutoring business.
A boy managed to change his microsoft teams name to 'reconnecting’. Every time the teacher came to him in the online lessons his screen was blank and it said reloading so she kept skipping him. This only lasted a short while until she twigged.
What can you learn from that - children are fiendishly clever when they want to be!