Project Wild Thing

I first heard of Project Wild Thing a few months ago on Twitter. My first reaction was ‘They stole my name!’ because I co-founded an outdoor playgroup a few years ago with the name ‘Wild Things’ (If you are interested have a look here to see what kind of things we get up to.)

My righteous indignation is of course unfounded for two reasons. Firstly,  we blatantly stole the name from the celebrated and  brilliant book ‘Where the Wild Things Are‘ by Maurice Sendak and, secondly, Project Wild Thing is about all the reasons that we first started our group. Continue reading

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Den-tastic!

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My kids love making fairy houses, and they are brilliant but what they are really doing is honing their den building skills!  It is usually possible to find a spot to make a little fairy house on a campsite but not all campsites can provide the decent bit of woodland that is required to make a good den.  However, our recent visit to the fabulous woods of Inwood Campsite provided the perfect opportunity for den building. Continue reading

Penknife and String No:2 Elder Bead Necklace

The Elder is a brilliantly versatile native tree.   From its flowers and berries you could make elderflower cordial, fizzy elderflower champagne, elderflower frittas, elderberry jelly, the list goes on.

Apparently a sprig of elderflower in the brim of your hat and rubbing elder leaves onto your skin can act as a natural mossie repellent.. Haven’t tried it myself but next time I have the opportunity I will.   I have recently discovered, from a forest schooling friend, that the wood of the elder also has some interesting uses, including the opportunity to make little wooden beads.

My oldest daughter is having a forest school style party for her seventh birthday (Seven! Really?), and we are going to have a bead making session so we had a practice in the garden the other day. Conveniently, there is a large elder bush behind our house, but there are loads around if you look out for them. Anyway, here is a short tutorial in how to make elder beads and yes it could be done with just a penknife and string, although a few more tools will make it a little easier!

So, firstly locate the right type of wood, you need a good long straight branch, approx the thickness of an adult finger.  It should be quite green too.  Ideally cut it off with a small saw (if camping, you could quite easily just snap a branch off).

Making elder beads

Some stripped and unstripped branches.

Continue reading