Encouraging your kids to use natural products to build fairy tale worlds does more than just enhance their creative skills, it also builds a better understanding and wonderment of the natural world that surrounds them. Once you start using natural products, you’ll start noticing more details of the trees and plants around you.
Make a Nut House: We took an old fashioned bottle crate, gave it a coat of paint, and lined the back with cardboard and bits of mossy bark pulled from our stack of firewood to create a nuthouse for our little nutters (walnut shell dolls). A few redwood cones covered in white glitter add a bit of bling.
We make miniature trees from Japanese cedar cones – they look like small bushes – these can be used plain, or painted or glittered. Make a floor from moss or straw, or put it outside on the grass.
You can make your own nut house from just about anything. Experiment with cardboard boxes, glass containers, or you can build a stick teepee or a straw house – the options are limitless.
How to make little nutters: Our little nutters are made from half walnut shells gathered from our walnut trees. We eat the walnuts and use the shells to make dolls.
We start by adding the bedding. Cut out a square piece of material – if its thin, you might want to wrap it around a piece of cotton wool or pad it out with other material scraps – tuck the edges under, and place in the shell.
For the doll heads, we use a bead head and for hair we take wool, string, or other sewing scraps from around the house, and push the hair through the hole in the head using a toothpick or similar.
Squeeze the head into the shell– this will sit tight and snug if you have the bedding tucked in tight, but may fall out easily if the nutters are played with or moved around a lot. To keep the head in place, use a bit of hot glue on the back of the head. Although, without glue, you can easily pull out the heads to readily make new designs.
Go all natural: If you want to keep your creations all natural, you can use acorn caps, lichen, feathers, moss, leaves, dried flower petals and much more (just make sure you’re not using poisonous plants). Lichen makes great bedding, or you could also try straw, or any dried plant materials. You can also make little sail boats with stick and leaf sails and lichen bases.
Once you’ve got your little nutters settled in, why not create a whole farmyard, zoo or other menageris. We make hedgehogs from chestnut outers with eyes glued on – these require a bit of care as the prickles are very sharp. Use your imagination to create all sorts of other creatures to fill your nuthouse.
Note: Because the little nutters contain parts that can be pulled out and swallowed, they are only recommended for children over 3 years.
Walnut Shells & Craft Packs
See our little nutter craft kit in 'Products' to purchase the basics for making your own little nutters, or contact us for details.