Over the last few months, Flora has been receiving her own happy mail each month. Her Mud and Bloom subscription boxes have been something both she and I look forward to as it’s time that we can spend together without an iPad in sight. We’ve made butterfly petal art, created a twig boat, a fairy garden, and gone on lots of nature walks together. And we’ve even grown and harvested our own food and flowers too. So what did October’s box have in store for us?
Mud and Bloom
If you’ve read any of my previous Mud and Bloom reviews, welcome back, and please feel free to skip this paragraph (!) If you haven’t come across Mud and Bloom before, then you’ve been missing out. They offer monthly letterbox-sized subscription boxes for kids with gardening and nature craft seasonal activities for £7.95 including P&P. The kits come with full instructions, are designed to follow the EYFS, KS1 and KS2 national curriculum (ages 3 – 8), and are heaps of fun.
Here’s what was inside October’s box:
- a biodegradeable balloon, brush and glue, plus instructions for making an Autumn leaf bowl
- some air-drying clay, greaseproof paper and sandpaper, plus instructions for making seed head tiles
- instructions for making conkers and acorn figures
- some snowdrop bulbs, organic compost pellets and tips on how/where to plant them
- a what’s happening in October fact sheet and Autumn wild fruit and nut spotter
- and a quiz.
Autumn leaf bowl
As this activity needed to be done over a few days, we started our leaf bowl first. Flora chose some leaves from a tree outside her school and we then pressed them for a few days to flatten them out.
After blowing up her balloon and coating it in glue, it was just a case of building up layers of leaves – like papier mache. They were surprisingly hard to stick down though! In between each layer, we covered the bowl with foil and left it in the airing cupboard overnight.
I have to say, our finished bowl surpassed my expectations. We think it’s beautiful – albeit not very practical as it’s rather fragile. I’m thinking it would look pretty with some fairy lights in it too. I’d love to make this again as we have plenty of glue left over as well as an inordinate amount of balloons lurking in our cupboards…
Seed head tiles
Flora reminded me that we’ve done something similar to this activity before with Play-Doh, so she was keen to get started. (I don’t recall the Play-Doh activity but her memory is much better than mine these days).
Rather than seeds, we decided to use a few leaves from our garden: conifers, cosmos, and another white-berried tree whose name I can’t remember. After rolling out the clay between some greaseproof paper, Flora cut out some shapes with cookie cutters.
It was only after she’d cut all the shapes out that I re-read theinstructions and realised each tile should have been 1 cm thick instead of 2.5 mm. Oops. So, as our finished tiles are super thin and ultra fragile we won’t be sanding down the edges. But we may well paint them and use them for Christmas decorations in due course.
Acorn and conker figures
Sadly, as we couldn’t find any conkers and only managed a few acorns, these are all Flora came up with. But this is an activity that’s easy to do again so as soon as we find a horse chestnut tree and another oak tree, we’ll get some more props.
I mentioned recently that Flora has suddenly developed a keen enthusiasm for gardening and she has her own patch behind our summerhouse. She also talked her father into building her a small pond so she’s planted her snowdrops directly into the ground in a shady corner next to it.
Wild autumn fruits & nuts spotter, nature news and quiz
This spotter took me back to my childhood – I remember harvesting and eating all the nuts, although we haven’t found any recently. But we’ve got plenty of rose hips (which I leave for the birds) and our neighbour kindly let us have all his damsons. So I’ve made a glut of damson jam and, more deliciously, some damson vodka, which should be ready by Christmas 🙂
The nature news had a fascinating fact about the changing leaf colours. Apparently, Autumn colours of deciduous trees leaves are weather dependent. If it’s very cold, the chorophyll will stop being made and the leaves turn yellow. If it’s warmer (like it is at the moment) then the chlorophyll feeds the leaves for longer, turning them red. And I’m very proud that Flora knew the last quiz question, namely what a perennial is – obviously watching Gardener’s World is paying off, haha.
I probably say this most months but I think this Mud and Bloom box was my favourite one yet. This time we had three craft activities and one growing activity, with all the relevant materials and instructions included. What I particularly love about these boxes is how they encourage not only Flora’s interest, but also spark her creativity. I’m fairly sure they’re partly responsible for her decision to start her own garden, which I love sharing this with her. And we can’t wait to find out what’s going to be in our November box now!
What activity did you like best in this month’s box?