Penny, my funny little 2-year-old girl, loves animals, nature and getting incredibly messy. I quickly fell in love with the concept behind Mud & Bloom before their November box even arrived. I’ve always believed that giving children the opportunity to explore the world around them and connect with nature is incredibly important for their wellbeing and happiness. I’m on maternity leave at the moment but I actually work part-time at a creche. I love watching my kids make ‘cakes’ in the mud kitchen, chase spiders around the playroom, collect stones, petals and leaves and even watch them giving their cress-head creatures a haircut. Penny also loves our long walks in the meadows next to our house, but I must admit, we haven’t been in a while due to the arrival of her baby sister and how unsettled she’s been. I’ve not yet mastered the skill of pushing the buggy and holding on to the reigns all by myself yet. I definitely need to invest in a new baby carrier so we can resume our adventures.
Mud & Bloom is a monthly subscription service that delivers seasonal nature crafts and gardening activities to your door. The boxes have been created by qualified teachers and support the national curriculum with influence from Forest School, Steiner and Montessori education. Each box includes everything you need for four craft and planting activities all packaged inside a letterbox friendly box, so there’s no traipsing down to the post office to pick up missed deliveries – this service is designed with the busy parent in mind! They are also environmentally friendly as they contain plastic-free materials and packaging, plus they use certified organic seeds where possible.
I adore everything about November’s box. I love how it helps to expand Penny’s understanding of the world and fuel her curiosity and desire to explore. It was especially important for Mud & Bloom to make their boxes accessible to people without gardens so they provide organic, peat-free compost pellets in each box to enable anyone to grow the seeds regardless of what space they have. The craft activities are designed to get children active and find objects from nature, all of which can easily be found on a short walk to the garden or local park
If you struggle to find ways to help your children connect with nature or are in need of a little inspiration, I can’t recommend Mud & Bloom highly enough. Most parents are guilty of plonking a tablet into little hands or sticking the telly on, especially when they’re feeling exhausted and overwhelmed – I completely own up to this too! It’s all about finding a balance and encouraging outdoor play whenever possible. You probably already know about the huge benefits of incorporating outdoor play and nature into your child’s daily routine. It helps to improve concentration and mental health as well as helping children stay fit and healthy whilst encouraging them to be responsible and respect our planet. Our Mud & Bloom box was crammed full of ideas and materials so I didn’t need to spend time finding activities online and shopping for resources, I could just get stuck in and have quality time with Penny.
The boxes are really aimed at children 3+ so I had to work a lot with her and reword things in simpler terms so she understood. The end products weren’t the prettiest but the important bit is the exploring, creating and getting messy! What matters most is that Penny had lots of fun and opportunities to collect sticks and jump in muddy puddles, which are currently her all-favourite things to do. Her beaming smile is evidence of this! I also loved how I could see her really concentrating and thinking ahead to the next step. Her vocabulary and enthusiasm really surprised me. I still think of her at my baby, but she’s growing up to be a really capable little girl with lots of ideas.
Inside November’s box is four activity cards, a template, Fungi spotter worksheet, a quiz, wool felt, a glue stick, pipe cleaners, a tealight, kite paper, strips of card, thin wire, wooden pegs, hemp twine, Crocus bulbs and organic compost pellets. All I had to provide was scissors and a pen. We went for a couple of walks to collect all the natural materials: twigs, Autumn leaves and pine cones, which Penny loved carrying around in her little bag.
Mud & Bloom offer several subscription packages and there’s even an option to purchase a ‘Sibling Box’ with double the materials inside. There’s the auto-renewal ‘Month-to-Month’ plan for £9.95 per box with free shipping where you can skip or cancel boxes at any time. There is also a 6-month plan available for £53.70 (that works out at £8.95 per box) and a 12-month plan for £95.40 (that works out at £7.95 per box). I have a unique discount code – BEAUTIFULBLUEBIRD – which gets my readers 15% off their first box.
To find out more about Mud & Bloom visit their website here.