Spring is in the air, the ice-cream vans have started doing the rounds and lockdown restrictions are starting to loosen; it’s never been a better time to go outside and have an adventure! Penny (my 4-year-old little girl) absolutely loves her Mud & Bloom box as it gives mummy and her an excuse to head down to the woods and collect all manner of wonderful natural materials to investigate, explore and craft with. If you don’t have access to a wooded area, park or even a garden, don’t worry, there are still lots of opportunities to learn and plant.
This month’s box includes jumbo lolly sticks to use as labels, organic China Aster seeds, organic peat-free compost pellets, jute twine, watercolour paints, coffee filters, a paintbrush, wooden pegs, beetroot seeds and a selection of washi tape. Plus colourful activity cards with step-by-step instructions on how to plant your seeds (indoors or outdoors), how to make your own paper butterflies and willow hearts, a quiz, an ‘I spy’ type challenge and lots of facts and information about the first signs of spring.
The boxes are designed for 3-8-year-olds by qualified teachers with influence from Forest School, Steiner and Montessori education. They’re delivered through your letterbox at the beginning of each month and contain seeds that are certified organic, plus the packaging and craft materials are eco friendly.
Penny loved planting her beetroot and China aster seeds. When it comes to gardening, I am completely clueless and I always dread when Penny comes home from nursery with something for me to water and look after. However, the instructions are so simple, that even I can follow them. It tells you where to plant them, how far apart you should sow your seeds, how deep they need to grow, how tall they should grow and how to re-pot, harvest or/and thin out the leaves. If you’re starting your seeds off inside with the compost pellets provided, it’s handy to keep any spare yoghurt pots or egg cartons.
The three crafting activities included were straightforward but lots of fun. The willow hearts require you to find willow or dogwood sticks with tips on how and where to find them and instructions on how to tie them with the twine provided. We also used the washi tape to upcycle some glass jars and transform them into rainbow vases. The paper butterfly activity was Penny’s favourite. She loved decorating her butterflies wings with the watercolour paint provided. It didn’t require her to be exact so it was perfect for her age range.