Bushcraft is simply the art of using the resources a natural environment provides, to live outdoors. As with learning any skill, having the opportunity to get hands-on and try out ideas is key. Even if you don't feel that you have the experience to teach your kids full-on wilderness skills, allowing children to explore wild surroundings encourages them to discover and learn, test themselves and take risks - all things that are crucial for development and well-being.
One brilliant way to introduce children to basic bushcraft is through nature craft. Not only does it get them outside, and provide abundant, free resources with which to craft, foraging for natural materials is also an excellent way to develop a connection with nature. Every wild space is unique, governed by its climate, geology and history, and consequently, each space has something different to offer.
We recently had the opportunity to hold some nature craft sessions for families at the South West Outdoor Festival which included the three crafts below. Each one is suitable for all age ranges and group size, and is designed to encourage the participant to take a close look at what the environment that surrounds them has to offer.
Collect natural materials to create a loom, and then use it to display leaves, grasses, flowers and natural materials you find while exploring a wild space. Different environments such as parkland, woodland and coastal areas give very different results. For a more permanent structure weave sticks between adjacent trees to make a giant loom to add to over time.
Nature crowns are quick and easy to make and look wonderful decorated with foraged finds. Use three or four supple sticks, such as willow or hazel, to weave a simple ring, then adorn with flowers, berries, leaves and any other treasures you can find.
Sticky nature cards are a brilliant nature craft to take with you when you are out exploring. They are perfect to record a day out, compare habitats or the changing seasons. Stick double-sided sticky tape to a piece of card, then peel off the top and stick anything that takes your fancy to the board.
All these crafts are fun, free and are portable enough to take on a walk. So get those wellies on, Get Outside and get searching - you'll be amazed at what you can find!
Sarah Whiting is passionate about both children and adults spending more time outside exploring, learning and getting creative.
It was this passion that led her to create the Craft Invaders blog with her family, where she shares family orientated craft tutorials (which have a strong focus on nature-based and recycled craft), recipes, foraging, wildlife, and their visits to UK wildlife and historic sites.
You can find out about Sarah and her family's adventures here.