Half Term Fun with the National Trust!

 

The National Trust’s '50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾' activity programme encourages children to get closer to and take notice of nature and the environment around them through outdoor activities all year round, whatever the weather.

 

This half term we're sharing some of their fun family adventures and activities that you can enjoy close to home, from Joining Nature's Band to Exploring the Wonders of a Rockpool. And what better way to enjoy these activities than ‘Adventure-Ready’ in your Frugi x National Trust Outerwear!

 

You'll be a seasoned adventurer by the time you've managed to try out all 50 activities. And it doesn't end there… You can enjoy doing the '50 things' again and again, in all four seasons!

 

Check out a few of our favourite activities below…

 

The only limit is your imagination! What will you use, and how?

 

Look at nature a litt­le differently by finding things that have different textures and colours to give a variety of elements to your Wild Art. There’s so much to choose from in the natural world, just make sure you’re not making your art from another creature’s home.

 

You could even do a beach clean with an adult’s supervision, collecting pieces of plastic that would otherwise find their way into the sea, and use these to create a colourful work of art before recycling the pieces. Make sure you’re wearing protective gloves and you wash your hands after your beach clean!

 

Download our Activity Sheet here!

 

Share your Wild Art with us on social using #FrugiCreate

 

Head to any local wild place, stop and listen for a minute. It won't take long to notice the music of nature and the longer you listen, the more you'll hear!

 

Birds singing, woodpeckers tapping, trees rustling, waves crashing and streams bubbling - these are just some of the sounds that nature makes. You're a part of nature too, so head outside and create your own special music!

 

Get out in the garden; go to the park, onto your street, near a local river or your closest beach. See if you can imitate an animal, make mussel maracas, or even a grass trumpet!

 

If you’re by the coast you might find you can make maracas from mussel shells, add pebbles to a rain stick, or use beach clean materials to create an instrument... You can make natural music just about anywhere!

 

Download our Join Nature’s Band Activity Sheet for inspiration!

Learn How To Make A May Whistle!

Our friend Andrew Thomas Price, Head Instructor at Dryad Bushcraft based in Wales, is an enthusiast for all things bushcraft! He’s shown us how you can make your very own May Whistle – give it a go and join Nature’s band!

 

Andrew:

“They are known in Wales and the Westcountry as May Whistles because they are traditionally made to celebrate May Day (1st May). In other parts of the world they are known as ‘slip bark’ or simply ‘twig whistles’. I still sometimes receive hate mail from parents and teachers of all the kids I’ve shown how to make one of these whistles because they’re incredibly LOUD... Parents, don’t say I didn’t warn you!

 

The best thing about a Sycamore twig whistle is how simple they are to make. The whole thing is made from a single twig, and all you need to make one is a sharp knife and a bit of practice.

 

These whistles don’t always have to be made from Sycamore. Other woods such as Willow will work, but I prefer to use Sycamore whenever possible because it’s easy to remove the bark in one piece. The best and straightest twigs are found in areas of secondary growth, particularly in hedges or places where Sycamore trees have been cut back.

 

This technique will only work during the spring and summer. It won’t work during the winter because there isn’t enough sap within the inner bark to allow it to slide off without splitting.

 

Step 1

You will need to find a straight shaft about the thickness of a pencil, and at least 15cm long. Cut this piece as close to the ground as possible (This will encourage future growth for making whistles). Once you have cut a suitable shaft look along its length for a straight section in between the buds. Using a sharp knife cut just below the bud at an angle. This angle will form the mouthpiece of the whistle.

 

Step 2

The next thing you need to do is to cut a notch into the top of the whistle (See photo). This is where the sound comes out, take your time, you don’t want to make it too big or it won’t work. The flat end of the notch should be deep enough to mark the underlying wood of the twig.

 

Step 3

Place the twig onto a firm surface and cut through the bark all the way around. This should be done about 4cm back from the mouthpiece of the whistle. (You don’t want to cut any deeper than the bark or you risk snapping the whistle).

Place the twig onto a firm smooth surface, and using the handle of a knife or a small wooden baton gently but firmly tap the surface of the bark. This process bruises the underlying layers of bark (Cambium) and allows it to become separated. Take your time to ensure that you have tapped the entire surface.

 

Step 4

Hold the stem of the whistle firmly and twist. If you have loosened up the bark sufficiently by tapping it, you should hear a small “POP” as the bark comes away from the underlying wood. Carefully remove the delicate tube of bark and put it in a safe place. I like to tuck it behind my ear.

 

Step 5

Using your knife carefully cut a thin layer (2-3mm) of wood off the top of the whistle. This forms the channel for air to go into the whistle. Next cut out the sound chamber and remove as much wood as possible without snapping the whistle, this takes practice. Once you have created the sound chamber, carefully slide the bark back into position.

 

Thanks, Andrew!

 

Now you've learnt to make your own May Whistle, you can perform a tune and Join Nature's Band!

Please make sure you have adult supervision whenever you're using a sharp knife

 

Inspired by the National Trust’s ’50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾’ No. 37 Explore the Wonders of a Rock Pool activity, we’ve created a couple Rock Pool activities for you to enjoy!

 

If you're close to the coast you may be able to visit some rock pools - don't forget to take our Rockpool Checklist along with you and see which wonders you spot! Or if you're unable to get to the shores, give our Frugi Rock Pool a splash of colour with your favourite crayons or pencils to reveal all the wonderful creatures!

 

Why not take the National Trust Seaside Quiz to test your knowledge!

 

 

Grab your binoculars, set up camp by your window or in your garden and get ready to tick off the feathered friends that you spot!

 

We've created a checklist with some of Britain's most-seen birds and some of their most noticeable features to help you. Download our Frugi Birder checklist here!

For more activities head over to our fun Activities page, or check out our downloads below!