Tag Archives: craft

Summer Sandpit 28/7/14

Hello and welcome to the first week of our new Summer Sandpit linky – a place for you to share your summer memories and activities, and perhaps give some inspiration to others.sandpit_zpse4b97af5

Our weeks are themed, but as with all our linkys – the themes are optional. This first week is ‘Nature’ and to kick us off, Vicki from The Boy’s Behaviour is sharing some activities that you might like to do with your children…

barny the woodsTruth be told, I’m not an outdoorsy person. I don’t like hot weather, despise wasps and buzzy insects, and see no point in sunbathing. However, I do like nature – I love the smells and colour of the flowers, homegrown fruits and vegetables taste far sweeter than bought ones, and even as an adult, I’m fascinated by seed pods, crunchy autumnal leaves, knobbly twigs and live in hope I may one day see fairies at the bottom of the garden.

With this in mind, I like activities that encourage the children to think about nature, and allow them to bring the outside in – not worms and stuff, but those seed pods, seeds, dried flowers, petals, feathers and such.

Here are a few of the posts I’ve published in the past that explore and encourage thoughts Dirt cupsabout nature:
Dirt Cup Puddings (with jelly snakes, worms or bugs)
Rice Maze and Story Maker (easily adaptable to only include natural objects)
Grape Caterpillars
Nature Paper

And I have a pinterest board full of other nature-type crafts and activities

how to get kids offline

I also recently reviewed a fantastic book called ‘How to Get Kids Offline, Outdoors and Connecting With Nature’ – click through and you’ll see a photo of the Fairy House that Dollop and I made together. And I’ve made a list of other activities from the book that I’d like to try this Summer.


We’ll definitely be heading out to explore nature – fruit picking, scavenger hunts, gardening, geocaching, and even painting our own rock bugs, link your post up below so we can see how you’ve been getting nature into your lives…

As usual, no rules, just add your link below. All welcome to link in – no connection to adoption needed, but great summer activity posts only please. Do share your favourites, and comment on posts where you can.

Book review: How to Get Kids Offline, Outdoors, and Connecting With Nature

Today’s review comes from our own Vicki, who has had the pleasure of reading How to Get Kids Offline, Outdoors, and Connecting With Nature, 200+ Creative activities to encourage self-esteem, mindfulness, and wellbeing by Bonnie Thomashow to get kids offline


If you’ve ever read my blog – The Boy’s Behaviour – you know that I like to have a load of activities planned for school holidays to keep the children occupied and to help my own sanity.

It’s becoming more and more difficult to think of original projects and activities for the children to do, so you can guess how pleased I was when this book dropped through my letterbox from Jessica Kingsley Publishers.


Now, neither of my children at 7 and 4, are really old enough to spend that much time online anyway, although the littlest one is a fan of the goggle box. But I would like to make sure we can spend lots of time outdoors this summer, making the most of our large garden, nearby woods, parks, local beach and nature reserve.

This book by Bonnie Thomas – a child and family counsellor living in the USA, is full of ideas for nature based activities and exercises that will inspire and encourage young people to spend more time outdoors.


The first few chapters are aimed at professionals working with young people who would like to incorporate more nature work and exercises in their practise. To be honest, I completely skipped those first four chapters to begin with, and opened up from Chapter 5 – Gardening for Wellbeing, which is the first of the chapters that are aimed at parents and care-givers.


I’ve already written down a good couple of dozen activities that I’d like to try with my kids this Summer (and probably before because I’m not sure I can wait!). There are a few activities that some children might struggle with, possibly because of the emotions they invoke, or purely because they’re a bit fiddly and less dextrous children might become frustrated, but as a parent you’d be best placed to pick and choose those relevant activities.

There are sections on gardening, general outdoor activities, blacktop (pavement/tarmac) activities, sand and beach, forest and trees, fields and grassy areas, puddles and mud, rivers and streams, snow and bringing nature indoors. Each section has a really good selection of activities from crafty makes (with minimal supplies needed) to imaginative play opportunities and suggestions.

My own favourites so far are making a fairy garden*, chalk photo booths, sand silhouettes, ice cube boats and a garden play kitchen.


After poring over the parent’s chapters, I popped back to the beginning and have scanned through the professional’s activities because I wondered what was there.

The chapters include ‘Incorporating Nature in Your Therapeutic Practice’, ‘Relaxation and Mindfulness’, ‘Self-Esteem and Positive Connections’ and ‘Nature-based Therapy and Grief Work with Youth’. And within those sections are further activities that are not only for professionals but could be adapted for use at home – storytelling stones, nature collages, zen gardens, wishing wands and many many more. Some of the professional activities also give suggestions for discussion and reflection.


This book is well written and packed full of activities. The professional part looks just as interesting and informative at the parent’s part and is something that intend to read in more detail. The only thing that lets this book down is that the photos are in black and white, I think they’d look much better in colour.

But I’d certainly be interested in reading further titles by the same author – Creative Coping Skills for Children sounds particularly relevant.


You can buy this book from Jessica Kingsley Publishers, priced at £15.99

fairy house*Editor’s note: OK, so I really couldn’t wait to try out the Fairy House and Garden, and Dollop and I spent an hour one morning collecting bark, twigs, dried bamboo leaves and raiding the shell collection, then another hour or more in the afternoon making a house, shed and a veg patch for some fairies. Dollop even made some magical petal perfume to encourage the fairies to come to her house 🙂 It was a brilliant activity that not only saw us connecting with and collecting natural objects, but then I got treated to a wonderful story, courtesy of her four year old imagination, and she got more and more ‘into’ the idea of fairies coming and what they’d do…she can’t wait to check in the morning to see if they’ve visited.