Tagged: arts and crafts

Paper Mãché Volcano

papier mache volcano

Paper M√£ch√© Volcanoes are such a fun activity for children of all ages to make. But they’re especially fun for young kids, who’ll love playing with the goop once the volcano has ‘exploded’. Continue reading »

How to Make Painted Rocks – Fruit characters

How to make Painted stones - Fruit characters

I don’t think painting stones and rocks will ever get boring! There’s just something fun about painting on a surface that isn’t paper and is found in nature.¬†These painted stone fruit characters are a fun little project for kids of all ages. Continue reading »

Upcycled Tin Can Lanterns for Matariki

Upcycled tin can lanterns for Matariki

With Matariki readying itself to re-enter our skies, I thought it was timely to make some lanterns. These upcycled tin can lanterns with LED lights are easy for kids to create, and make really lovely night lanterns. Continue reading »

Wooden Star Acrylic Pours for Matariki

Matariki star acrylic pours

I’ve been wanting to try out acrylic pours with my¬†kids for a while now. So with¬†Matariki about to enter our skies I thought it would be fun to¬†make some wooden star acrylic pours. Continue reading »

How to make a toilet roll French knitting loom

Toilet roll french knitting Resene

Toilet rolls are a crafty way for kids to make a French knitting loom. It’s also a great way to introduce your kids to knitting and getting them interested in crafting.

Continue reading »

How to Make a Mermaid Peg Doll

How to make a mermaid peg doll

My daughter has been interested in mermaids lately, so for these school holidays we decided to make a mermaid peg doll. They are super-simple to make and kids of all ages will have fun with them. Continue reading »

Toilet Roll Unicorn Marionette

Toilet roll Unicorn marionette

I’ve started running art classes for kids and decided to give puppet making a go with my 5 – 7 year olds. I was looking for something economical and using recycled materials. Continue reading »

How to make a bug hotel

How to Make a Bug Hotel-Kiwi Families

This is a wonderful story of one man’s trash, is his daughter’s treasure! Find out how we turned a broken old crate into a wonderful, educational garden sculpture. Here’s how to make a bug hotel.

Unlike most hotels being built in the city, this one won’t require planning permission. And you won’t have to worry about leaky building syndrome, or earthquake strengthening!

In fact, making a bug hotel is easier than you think. And it truely is a great educational tool for the kids. They love going up to the hotel, and poking around, and finding out if any famous bugs have booked in.

We’ve already had some real celebrities book, like the beetles, Christian Slater, bee bee king, Ant and Dec…

What are bug hotels made of? Think outside the ‘box’

So a few weeks ago, we were having a bit of a declutter session at home. And I was about to throw out an old potato box. The side had fallen off (a few times actually), and we’d lost the lid.

It was sitting outside by the front gate, ready to contribute to our slowly disappearing landfills. When my daughter said, ‘Daddy… we should turn that into a bug hotel!’

My trash had literally just become her treasure.

So this is definitely the right place to begin.¬†Take your kids around your house for inspiration and look for an old toy box, a veggie box like ours, a broken storage basket, old drawers, an old microwave etc. And if you can’t find something suitable, then ask your neighbours, or take a look at your local recycling yard.

Now, let’s be clear here. We’re not setting out to make some Insta-fantastic, Pinterest-friendly, artistic garden sculpture here. The idea is NOT to end up with something like this:

Oakleycourt-Bug hotel

Courtesy: www.oakleycourt.co.uk

Seriously people, I’ve kept chickens housed in structures that aren’t as stable looking as that!

The real trap here is that sometimes when Dad’s start to work on this sort of project with their kids, there’s a real temptation to take over.

That’s understandable. This thing has to actually sit in your garden, so it needs to have some aesthetic value.

But find a happy medium where the kids do most of the creation, and you just help out with the fiddly bits.

It might be best to think of this as a bug house, rather than a bug hotel.

How to make a bug hotel-Kids hammering

Materials you need to make a bug hotel

To work out what materials you need to make a bug hotel, the out of the box thinking above applies.

You really don’t need to look further than your own yard to find appropriate materials. We found all sorts of useful things around our own yard, some old heater bricks, gravel and mulch, some twigs we broke up, old broken tiles and some bamboo garden stakes in the shed.

The point here is don’t go out and buy materials for your bug hotel. Bugs already live in your yard, you are just providing them¬†a little shelter and a purpose built home.

Here’s a few different materials you could use inside your bug hotel:

  • bricks
  • broken crockery
  • broken terracotta pots
  • stone chips or gravel
  • wood chips, bark or mulch
  • bamboo
  • twigs and sticks
  • moss and dry leaves
  • corrugated cardboard
  • old pipes

Here’s¬†some materials you¬†probably shouldn’t use in your bug house:

  • treated timber
  • soft plastics
  • mouldy timber
  • anything that looks like it might leech chemicals

You don’t absolutely need to paint your bug hotel, but it’s lots of fun and you’ll need to apply some sort of finish if you want it to last.

It’s important not to use treated timber of any kind, which means it will rot eventually. To keep your hotel in tip top condition outside, a few coats of Resene Lumbersider or Resene Woodsman stain, will ensure it lasts for years.

This is a great opportunity to get the dropsheets out and give your kids a chance to use larger brushes. Just make sure they have old clothes on…

How to make a bug hotel-painting

How do you attract bugs to your bug house?

Like running any hotel, you need good marketing and great customer service!

You need to make sure your hotel has everything in it a bug might need to be comfortable. And that there’s enough local amenities to prevent them from leaving again.

Here’s a few basic tips for attracting bugs to your bug hotel:

  • Place your bug house in a warm, sheltered spot, on solid ground
  • Provide a¬†few different ‘hotel rooms’ to attract different¬†bug¬†species
  • Provide hollow material, like bamboo, to attract solitary bees
  • Make sure there is a water source close by
  • Place your bug house near by flowering plants and trees
  • Try not to use insecticides and other chemicals in your garden

Most of our native bees in New Zealand are solitary bees that live in small holes in the ground. So bamboo in your bug hotel should be a really attractive option for these wonderful pollinators. And if you have native trees in your yard, you already have the nectar available they love!

New Zealand native bee-Leioproctus

Courtesy: Brian Cutting

How to make a bug hotel

How to Make a Bug Hotel

You will need
A wooden potato box or similar
Plywood, wood offcuts, or pallets (non treated)
Hammer, nails and glue
Resene Lumbersider paint (our kids choose Wild Yellow and Keppel for the roof and Bunting for the walls)
Big paint brushes
Sticks and stones
Leftover woodchips or mulch
Broken up tiles or terracotta pots
A hacksaw

What to do
1. If your box doesn’t have a top like ours, make a¬†roof out of two pieces of plywood, or pallet timber. Use small nails and a little glue to hold.

2. Paint your box using Resene paints for outside. We painted ours in wild Yellow, blue and dark blue. Make sure if the kids are painting you place a large drop sheet down, as this gets very messy! If your kids are as messy as ours you might want to go around with a paintbrush after them and smooth out the drips.

How to make a bug hotel resene paints

3. Once the paint is dry use bricks and your ply wood, or offcuts, to make different¬†‘hotel rooms’¬†for the bugs to live in.

4.Cut the bamboo into smaller lengths using the hacksaw. Once you have enough, bunch them together and tie with a rubberband, or a piece of string or rope.

5. Fill¬†each of your¬†‘hotel rooms’¬†with your different materials.

Egg Carton Fire Truck

Egg Carton fire truck

Today we spotted a fire engine parked up at the supermarket. The kids were so excited we headed over to get a closer look at it and take some photos. After checking it out, we got inspired to try and make our own fire trucks at home. Continue reading »

Garden butterfly ornament art project

Garden butterfly ornament art project

It’s Spring, the flowers are starting to bloom, the birds are singing and the butterflies have begun fluttering! With the welcoming of Spring, I decided to create these plywood butterfly ornaments for our garden. Continue reading »

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