Muddy Puddles’ top five tips on how to build a Swallows and Amazons den

Swallows & Amazons
muddy puddles

As lovers of all things outdoors, den building is an old favourite of ours. It’s a fun, excellent team building activity which can be enjoyed pretty much anywhere at any time. Read on to find out what makes den building the ultimate outdoor activity for children!

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1. Pick Your Spot

Planning is everything! Think carefully where you can build your den, we love an adventure so why not try and find a space in a forest clearing? Forests and woodlands are fantastic places to immerse yourself in to create a secret shelter. Look for flat, grassy land and avoid slopes – we find this works best!

2. Types of Materials

It’s time to scavenge! Create your den using natural materials from the area. Look out for living Y shaped trees– these can work wonders! Use long and strong branches to structure your den and ferns and moss for your roof and walls. Encourage children not to break trees or damage trees but to collect loose items that on the floor, this will protect local wildlife habitats. 

3. Building Your Den

Lean and weave your collected items into the tree, try to fill the as much of the space as possible, this will ensure that your shelter is strong and won’t be damaged in any blustery British weather! Use a compass, and if possible have your door facing south to get plenty of sun light into your den. Top tip - Tipi shaped dens work well as you can easily lean branches into a central point. 

4. Teamwork

Den building is an excellent activity for introducing children to teamwork; encourage them to work and build the den all together.  They can move and lift the materials with one another, explore the space, interact with nature and learn how to negotiate, problem solve, manage and work as a team.  This activity is amazing to watch, children’s imaginations will run wild!

5. Enjoying the Den

At Muddy Puddles we believe that children come alive outside, and are passionate about providing the inspiration for children to learn and play outdoors through brilliant outdoor ideas and creating stimulating play opportunities. Den building is a great example, perfect for children who love to learn outside and embrace wildlife first hand.

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