We've been enjoying some Spring sunshine recently and feel it's the best season for wrapping up warm, pulling your Frugi wellies on and exploring the great outdoors!
Whilst you're out on your family stomp why not collect some treasures and turn them into a fun family craft project.
Anja from Mud & Bloom has shared one of the many nature inspired craft projects you can find in the Mud & Bloom subscription boxes.
These painted wind chimes look very pretty hung outside your house and make a lovely clunking noise when they get blown by the wind.
We'd love to see your nature inspired creations! Share with us on social using #frugicreates
You could also win a years subscription to Mud & Bloom by entering our giveaway below!
Make your own wind chime
What you will need
Screw eyes (you can buy these from a local DIY shop or online.)
What you need to do:
1. Go for a walk and collect some chunky sticks, we decided to have five hanging on our chime (and one for them to hang from), but you might want to have more. Ideally, they will all be different thicknesses will have slightly varying lengths, as this will make your chimes more tuneful!
2. Next you need to peel any loose bark off the sticks and if you have some sandpaper you could smooth the sticks with these, this is also quite a nice thing for little ones to do.
3. Then, choose one of the sticks for the others to hang from, and sort your hanging sticks into the order you want to hang them.
4. Take your metal screw eyes and screw them into the centre of each of the sticks that will be hanging.
5. Next, paint your sticks and leave them to dry.
6. You can then brush on a coat of varnish if you have some, clear nail varnish would work fine. This isn’t essential but will protect the colour for longer.
7. While your sticks are drying, take the longest stick, which you’ll be using to hang your wind chimes to, and cut around 50cm (20 inches) of twine. Tie the twine to both ends of the stick.
8. Next, cut lengths of around 20cm (8 inches) off your twine and thread one through the metal eyes of each of the sticks, tying them to your base hanging stick.
9. Finally, hang your wind chimes somewhere outdoors for everyone to see and listen to!
We caught up with Anja from Mud & Bloom to find out a bit more about her business and how we can encourage children to be creative and connect with nature.
Hi Anja! Tell us a bit about yourself..
I live in Bristol with my partner and three young children aged two, six and eight, I gave up my full-time job working at an international development charity in London almost three years ago to spend more time with my children and pursue my passion for gardening. I enrolled on a Royal Horticulture Society course and was originally intending to start a gardening business. But when I started writing about children and the natural world on my blog, I found a lot of people shared my belief in the importance of nature, time outdoors and free play for their children’s development and well-being.
What gave you the idea to start Mud & Bloom?
I subscribed to indoor craft activity boxes for my children when I was working full time and thought they were fantastic – having everything you need to sit down, make something and enjoy quality time with your child without having to go out and buy everything you need separately was invaluable, especially when both parents are working. I looked around and was surprised that there were no similar activity boxes catering to gardening and the outdoors.
I have always seen the benefits of my children being in nature: they are just happier if I can get them outdoors regularly. It helps us centre if we feel connected to the natural world around us, especially now when we are all so distracted and so reliant on our electronic devices. Studies show there is more and more of a disconnect between children and nature, and increasingly this disconnect is linked to the rise we are seeing in childhood stress, anxiety, and depression. Regular contact with nature has proven benefits including enhanced brain development, improved concentration, and better mental health – and of course time outdoors helps them stay fit and healthy.
I believe that all children should have access to green space and to experience putting their hands in soil and growing their own vegetables. The Mud & Bloom boxes are designed to be accessible to people with or without gardens, and each box includes organic, peat-free compost pellets to enable anyone to get growing immediately regardless of what space they live in.
Why do children love the craft boxes?
I try to give children a mix of instant gratification with the craft activities and something they will have to care for and nurture with the growing activities. The thing that unites everything in the box is that it is geared to learning about nature and getting outside. So for most of the craft activities, the children need to go to the garden, or for a walk, and find things like sticks, leaves or flower petals to go with the materials provided in the box. We also have a spotting activity each month which children need to get outside to do, and a nature news telling children what to look out for in nature that month.
I get feedback from parents daily and hearing about the happiness it brings has on occasion made me cry! One busy mum told me that the boxes meant she could do the things she'd always dreamt of doing with her son. Another told me about her daughter, who has learning difficulties, and how excited she is when her box comes each month. It feels a real privilege to be playing a small part in opening children's eyes to nature.
What is your favourite outdoor activity to do with your own children?
Despite living in a city, I try to get into nature with my children every day, and with two very energetic boys we do a lot of cycling, scooting, walking, and tree climbing. They also love getting out and planting bulbs and seeds - they take a lot of care over planting and it's wonderful to see their excitement when the shoots start to come through! My middle son also loves spotting birds on the bird feeder and ticking off the ones he sees.
There's also a lot of value in letting them engage in free play outside and seeing what they come up with. Children get very observant when they are tuned in to nature and my boys will often spot things I miss - or they will just come up with their own imaginative games with buckets full of mud!
You can find out more here
Thanks Anja! x