Creative · Forest Schooling · Nature

Giving Nature a Home

Doing our part in giving nature a home, however small that part may be, is so important.

Now, I’m not about to say I’ve never killed a house spider thats threatened me on a dark autumn evening. Or that I’ve never batted a wasp thats flew too close to my face, or my G&T. But all in all , I’m happy for the wee beasties to live in my garden.

My eldest daughter who is six has always loved the bugs. Everything from slugs to spiders (although she’ll admit that those big legged pesky ones that live in her bedroom aren’t her favourite!)
She has a lovely habit of bringing the odd snail or worm into the house, much to my delight, so it made sense to build a bug hotel with her in the garden. At least then she’d have somewhere else to put her ‘new pets!’

I had a quick look on Pinterest for some ideas (whatever did we do before Pinterest?) and asked her dad for some help sourcing some of the bits we needed. We gathered up some of her vast collection of shells  and made a special trip to to the woods after school one day to gather sticks and pinecones which is always extra nice this time of year.

It took around two hours to complete our hotel, that included gathering all the equipment and another trip to get some more leaves and evergreen branches.

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If you fancy having a go at making one of these hotels yourself I’ve put some brief instructions below and if you don’t have the space to build a bug hotel like this there is  still things you can do to give nature a home. Take a look over at https://ww2.rspb.org.uk/get-involved/activities/give-nature-a-home-in-your-garden/ where there are loads of ideas to suit everyone.

To make a Bug Hotel you will need:

◦ Old bits of wood. Pallets are great for this and easy to come by.

◦ Bricks (around 18-20) we had 2 on each side, 4 in total on each level.

◦ Straw

◦ Bark

◦ Old logs

◦ Old terracotta pots, small ones!

◦ Woodchips/shavings

◦ Hollow bamboo canes

◦ collected treasure from the beach or forest. Razor clam shells are great. Sticks, acorn cups, pine cones, dried leaves, moss etc!

◦ A drill

For the Hotel sign (not essential, but nice!) 

◦ An old piece of wood

◦ Some rope

◦ A pyrography pen

Instructions:

You need a level ground to start and a nice spot! Ideally next to flowers, plants etc. We used an old paving slab under a tree.

Build up the levels by laying the bricks, then the wood, then the bricks etc as many levels as required. We did five levels, but you can do less and add more at a later date.

Then fill in the gaps with your collected bits & pieces. We put plenty of dried leaves down. Filled the terracotta pots with straw or wood shavings, placing them on their side so beasties can venture in to keep warm. Placed some evergreen around some hollow tubes and drilled holes through some old logs. We then filled any space in-between with the shells and pinecones etc.

The sign was made using an old spare piece of wood. We drilled a couple of holes in either side to tie the rope through so we could hang it. My daughter wrote on it in pencil the name she chose for her hotel. She was quite original with her choice and called it ‘Bug Hotel!’  😉  To make this weather proof I burnt over her writing with the pyrography pen.

This was definitely, in her books one of her favourite activities. From collecting the pine cones and sticks in the woods to the excitement of knowing her first bug had taken up residency. It doesn’t end there though, she’s out daily seeing who new has checked in! Even her dad at one point questioned who was having more fun building it, him or her. So its proof this activity isn’t just for the kids!

If this has inspired you to create your own home for nature then please do let me know. I’d love to see a pic of your final masterpiece!

love Victoria

P.S Apologies for lack of progress pictures. We were too busy concentrating on the task it completely slipped my mind to photograph as we went along!