wild willow hearts
February is the month of love and in-keeping with our message 'Love yourself, Love others, Love Nature', we thought you may like to try this simple activity that is great for showing someone how much you care.
***SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN 7+ (IF MAKING THE FRAME) OR CHILDREN 3+ IF THE FRAME HAS ALREADY BEEN ASSEMBLED***
you will need
14 floppy willow twigs approx 40 cm long
String or elastic bands
A selection of flowers, leaves, sticks, ribbons, feathers, or anything else that may be suitable to weave into your wild heart
Right now it is hard for all of us to be apart from people who we care about. We are separated from our friends, or extended families and our support networks.
This activity reminds those people that we are still thinking of them and that we do care.
It doesn’t have to be dedicated to Valentines Day, it can be completed at any time of the year, Christmas, birthdays or Mothers Day which is coming up in March.
When you are selecting resources to include in your heart, discuss why you are selecting them and how they remind you of the person who the heart is for? Perhaps you may choose a feather because they are soft and gentle, or something that has a nice smell like a lavender or rosemary. Let your imaginations go wild.
Don’t forget to write a little message to accompany your heart and to share what each thing represents about the person you are making it for.
This activity can support children who are feeling socially isolated or missing their friends and family. It enables them to share and express their feelings and consider all of the positive qualities that they admire in others.
Consider the way that different resources may represent different qualities in a person and how different hearts would look different. What would their heart look like?
Walk together and look for a willow tree and snip approx. 14 x 40 cm pieces from the end of the twigs. These will be floppy and bendy.
As you walk, look at what else there is around you that would be good to weave into your heart. Think about the qualities of the person that you are making it for. There are interesting leaves and twigs around at the moment that have great textures and can all look really pretty.
Once you have collected your resources, count out 10 of the willow twigs and hold them together in a bunch and tie them tightly approx. 3 cm from the end.
Then divide them into 2 and shape into a heart and cross them over at the end. With your string wind it around the cross pulling tightly to secure the twigs together as in the photograph. If your heart is really bendy and doesn’t want to lay flat, place it under something heavy like a book for a couple of hours and it will hold its shape better. Remember to leave a loose end of string at the top of the heart to hang it from.
Once you have your heart shape you can then start to wind the remaining twigs around the sides of the heart. Weaving them in and out brings some strength to the sides and you can tuck the end in. If they stick out a little it doesn’t matter, it all adds to the wild feel of the heart.
Then you can start to poke the resources that you have collected into the willow frame.
Once you are happy, you may like to add some ribbon or a label to the heart with a personal message too.