Today I’m sharing another lovely nature craft that we did on our recent trip to Skylarks nature reserve in Nottingham.
As well as doing some fab clay pressing with natural materials, the kids also had a go at making a wooden whistle from twigs.
I can vividly remember having one of these made for me when I was six years old and we were on holiday in Canada; it was so exciting watching it take shape, but I didn’t get hands-on like my kids did here!
You definitely need lots of adult supervision for this craft, as it involves using some sizeable tools. My nine year old did a lot of it himself; the grown-ups did the tricky bits for my five year old, but she still got really involved with some stages.
The first job was to choose a couple of nice, straight sticks. One needs to be thinner than the other – you’ll see why later.
I know our thin sticks (which you can see in the picture above) were willow, but I’m not sure what type of wood our thick sticks were – if you recognise them let me know!
Once we were happy with our choice of sticks, the next job was to drill a hole into the thicker stick. You don’t need to go all the way to the bottom here.
Once you’ve made your hole, you need to saw a little notch of wood out of your stick that goes through to the hole, but not out the other side. If I was doing this craft at home with the kids I’d use a much smaller saw, but the Wildlife Trust staff were super-experienced and supervising very carefully.
Next, we checked that the small stick could be pushed into the hole.
You can see the little notch better in this picture – it’s starting to look like a wooden whistle isn’t it?
The next step is a bit fiddly; you need to remove the thin stick and carefully strip away a slice from the end. You may need to do this a few times, popping it back into the hole and blowing to see if you get a whistling noise. If you’re using quite a soft stick, I think a vegetable peeler might be a good tool to use as an alternative to a knife.
Once you’ve got your whistle actually whistling, you just trim off any excess thin stick and you’re done! As you can see here, you could strip all the bark off if you’d like a different finish to your whistle.
This wooden whistle nature craft was a lot more grown-up than anything the kids have done before; it felt like a real bushcraft activity. It definitely needs an adult to oversee everything, and take over with the tools at some points, but the kids absolutely loved being allowed to get stuck in – under careful supervision of course!
If you’re looking for craft inspiration, take a look at the ‘Naturally Crafty’ nature craft linky which I co-host for lots of ideas – and do share yours with us too.