A couple of weeks ago on a trip to our local National Trust property, Anglesey Abbey, we ventured all the way into the woodland discovery area at the far end of the extensive gardens. When I go on my own with the boys we don’t always make it that far by the time Andrew has ridden his bike through the ‘number garden’ and across the fields. But this time he chose to head through the woods on his bike and follow the signs to the discovery area. He particularly liked the big rocks that had been painted as lady birds signalling the entrance to the area.
There are lots of activities to do in this fabulous area for children, including a tree house, a pirate ship climbing frame, stepping stones, a willow ‘tent’ to sit in, a story telling circle with benches and a tree ‘cupboard’ with masks and costumes in to help tell stories. There is also a hut that has lots of paper, crayons and other art materials for kids to have a go at colouring and being creative.
It was in this hut that we saw some picture frames on the walls. These weren’t ordinary picture frames, but were made out of natural materials found in the wood, sticks and twigs, tied together with string and wool and hung on the wall. So we decided to pick up some of our own bits and bobs from the woodland floor and take them home to make our very own frame on the balcony later that day. Andrew was excited, and chose some sticks when I explained what we would do with them later.
After his afternoon nap, we set to and made our frame. We tied four thick, straight sticks together in a rectangle using string and some of my embroidery yarn. Then we decorated it with some thinner more interestingly shaped twigs and some pieces of wool that we’d found in the wood as part of the activities that are suggested at the entrance. When we’d finished, we hung it up on the balcony frame using some ribbon and cord that we found in my craft box. Andrew was very impressed, and often still mentions our ‘picture’ when he looks out of the balcony door. Our balcony has transparent panels so when you look through it at his height, it frames the grass and plants behind it.
This was a fantastic way to keep Andrew’s attention for a crafty project, just the right length of time, and we get to see the result every day on our now ‘arty’ balcony 😉