Here’s a lovely back to ‘school’ craft activity for home schoolers, to create something that links your summer memories with the return to learning in September. For me, that always includes nature.

Guernsey Lily Planting

Last year we planted a giant Amaryllis bulb in September, a type of Guernsey Lily, that I bought for us to nurture indoors over the autumn term for Christmas flowering. It was a great memory of our summer break to Guernsey where the outdoor lilies are stunning, and a great nature activity too.

Guernsey Lily on its namesake island, the planted bulbs and giant ‘Hercules’ at Christmas

Driftwood Art

The year before, which was our first home school year when Caroline was 5, we collected lots of shells, sea glass and beach treasures on a holiday in Cornwall during July. Caroline found a piece of flat driftwood that she planned to paint.

September was warm and sunny so we took our flotsam into the garden and decided to make a driftwood art mosaic and a seashell mobile.

driftwood-decorated-with-shells-and-sea-glass-on-wall

driftwood-branch-with-hanging-beach-treasures-mobile-on-wall
Driftwood mosaic and seashore mobile

You will need:

  • Seashore treasures, shells etc
  • Flat driftwood
  • Driftwood branch or stick
  • String
  • Scissors
  • Glue

Method:

1. For the driftwood art Caroline simply glued shells and sea glass onto the wood

2. We used a Uhu-type glue which needed a little supervision but otherwise she designed and made the whole thing herself

girl-on-ground-in-garden-with-shells-and-bag-of-wool-creating-artwork

3. For the seashore shell mobile we attached different lengths of string to our chosen items. Many of them had natural holes, ideal for tying string through

4. For those without holes we glued the string to the shells and pegged it in place while the glue dried

5. We tied the hanging pieces along a driftwood branch to swing at different lengths

6. Wild Daddy added hanging hooks and they have adorned the littlest room in the house for the past two years!

Beachcombing Rules

Though I love the philosophy of take nothing from nature except pictures and leave nothing but footprints, there’s something irresistible about seashells. There are usually hundreds of them so it doesn’t feel so terrible collecting a few every now and then. Here are some ethical, habitat-friendly beachcombing tips and guidelines: –

  • Never remove live shells (e.g. mussels, limpets, periwinkles) from rocks
  • Check all shells for signs of life, even those not attached to rocks – dog whelk shells can often contain hermit crabs, and periwinkles can still be alive when not attached to rocks

Hermit crab in an old whelk, Northumberland and live yellow periwinkle, Cornwall

  • Only take what you need
  • Don’t collect all your shells from the same area, collect from different areas of the beach
  • If you accidentally collect anything still alive return to the beach as soon as possible

For more driftwood ideas take a look at how to make a driftwood tree – it’s so easy the children can help, and for more activities to do at the beach see the Kids of the Wild things to do at the beach section.

Wild wishes for some brilliant beachcombing and arty crafting!