Hello everyone!

Here we bring an easy weaving project which families might enjoy, although it requires soft ground to dig sticks into.

1. Make the frame : Find about 14 sticks, each one around 30 cm or 1’ high. Find a piece of ground with soft earth, sweep away the leaf litter, and make a circle about 30 cms in diameter using 7 of your sticks, pushed into the ground so they can stand alone. Then make a second circle inside, each stick standing in between an outer- circle one. Leave a gap in the side of your nest for the door.

2. Get weaving! Gather some thin brushwood, or long creepers, ivy, remembering only to thin what you find, rather than stripping everything, unless of course adults say it’s helping them to clear unwanted plants away. I used a combination of long, thin birch twigs (found on the ground) and very long trailing creepers that were growing in a deserted bit of land. Holding one end of a small, long bunch with one hand, use the other hand to wind it in and out of the upright sticks. Leave one gap for a doorway. Keep going with more lengths until it gets to the height you want for the nest. At the door end if you have extra length you can bend it back and weave it in the other direction.

Don’t worry if twigs snap, either replace them or just carry on, gently adding to the weave. It is ok if the work is quite rough – it will still keep the worst of the wind out!

3. Add a carpet of some kind, to be cosy and keep you off the cold ground.

4. Play with it. Add things, think about who this is for, make up stories – why is the shelter there, how long is it needed for ? Where will the builders of it go next?

5. What improvements could you make? We might try wattle and daub in the woods. Wattle and daub is a very ancient building material, used extensively in Ancient Egypt and perhaps Mesopotamia as well. I used to live in a French farmhouse with walls made like this, and I watched my mother repair holes in the walls with fresh wattle and daub. How could you use wattle and daub (a firm, wet mix of mud or clay with straw or dried grass, usually) to make the nest stronger?.

Hope you enjoy it! I look forward to hearing how you are all getting on.

Kind regards,