We were asked if we would do a ‘Big Wild Sleepout’ specifically for the RSPB & post how we got on. We accepted this with pleasure….Eeeeeek.
We were not given any specific guidelines or needs, the only ask was that we have a ‘Big Wild Sleepout’…. So, how we did this, was entirely up to us.
Apart from checking what I was getting myself into I didn’t do much homework for the job, but it was decided that it should signify a lovely time that is achievable, affordable & reasonably effortless & something that would show what we have under our noses when we think about it a little…
I could of chosen the location as the mountains, a field or wood, or just generally somewhere beautiful but I wanted to show what can be done in your own back garden and more so to the point in a small back garden with limited shrubbery & astro turf…wildlife is everywhere, & here at FD we are no strangers to making use of our surroundings whatever they may be we always find nature.
I didn’t weigh too heavily on my plans of what we were going to do and wanted to keep it simple but very effective both in memories, a little educating & the adventure….. our ultimate goal was family fun.
Initially I decided to throw up the pop up tent but after putting more thought into it I also wanted to show that you actually don’t need a tent….. We used the kitchen table to show versatility and fun in den building but also at the same time used it as a tool to open discussion with the kids about animal homes, our kitchen table then became a ‘snug as a bug lair’…..(the table, a curtain thrown over, an air bed underneath, cushions & blankies)….we did throw a pop up tent next to it as rain was forecast for the early hours of the morning….our kitchen table tent was by no means waterproof.
We used a sheet blacked out with paint just leaving a moon which we hung on the washing line to become a ‘moth attractor’, it also doubled up to play a game of shadow charades and dancing in the moonlight… I painted this myself purely to save on time because our sleepover was on a school day……A simple sheet hanging & backlit by a window was so much fun, versatile and mega effective once it got dark but also great in the sunshine!
We made a Moth restaurant using a water filled milk carton and a torch, we watered down treacle for the moths to sup on but you can make a really delicious treat for them with a moth food recipe and make your restaurant a’la carte (Details on the RSPB website)…we also hung jars in the trees with battery operated tea lights inside to attract the moths, you could spend more time decorating these.
We made some simple bird feeders by hanging pretty porcelain cups from the charity shop with string in trees and filling with bird seed or water, we went on a twilight & nocturnal bug hunt, read stories & chilled. The smallest members of the family were fooled into thinking an owl was in the garden whilst mr FD stood outside the tent throwing his voice with owl hooting hands.
For food we cooked popcorn inbetween two sieves over the fire using kernels and had the obligatory cheese and pineapple hedgehog….. along with a takeaway curry 🙂
It was a good evening, everyone went to sleep and the rain came around 3 in the morning, this didn’t really bother them much as they were all still sleeping like babies but the kitchen table tent was not designed as a boat and feet were sticking out of the end too so I woke them up and moved them to the living room inside.
After a couple of hours kip I relocated the pop up tent into the living room in time for them to crawl back into when they awoke to eat breakfast.
As part of our ‘Big Wild Sleepout’ we’d intended to go for a walk as the sun came up to watch everything around us waking up & enjoy the dawn chorus. As there was no sun to keep us company we plan to do this when the sun returns.
We would like to thank the RSPB for contacting us & we hope they enjoy our FD Big Wild Sleepout as much as we did….
We would very much appreciate to hear any thoughts, comments or views you have regarding our camp out, and I’m sure if the RSPB are sat on the sidelines they would like to see what you guys think too.
That’s our exciting news, & is certainly a step in the right direction for us and makes us feel proud that we’ve had the opportunity to inspire more people with our grasping what’s around you & making simplicity magical ethos.
Sleep outs rock, raining, cricks in the neck, slugs and all…
Anyway…here’s how we got on…
We had loads of fun and can’t wait to do it again!
The RSPB Big Wild Sleepout takes place from the 16-22 June & anyone can get involved. #BigWildSleepout
Find more info at www.rspb.org.uk/thingstodo/sleepout