Building a bug hotel

Now seems to be the time to get out with kids and build a bug hotel. I’ve heard Skinny Jean Gardener talking about them on the podcast and then had the Wildlife Trusts guide pop up on social media. I built one when I first moved into my house. But, I don’t think I’ve talked about it on the blog before.

My bug hotel was made with bricks and decking squares. These cost 2 for £5. You can decide how tall you want to build, but 4 to 6 layers seems a good height. The bricks were free from facebook market place and the tiles I already had. So it probably cost less than most commercially bought bug houses for something much bigger that makes a not unpleasant feature in the garden.

Each layer is filled with different materials for wildlife to make homes in. Straw, rubble, sticks, bamboo canes were all stuffed into fill the layers. Upturned pots fill spaces. This variety provides potential homes and hibernation spots for a variety of life. Alice likes to pull bits out though and rearrange, so it often needs restocking as fir cones disappear to other parts of the garden.

I had some spare tiles I placed on the top for a bit of waterproofing. They do crack in the cold from time to time but as they weren’t being used for anything else I don’t mind. Living roofs are popular options for the top of bug hotels as well.

I went for a bird bath on the top. I find this smaller bath get used by the sparrows while the seagulls dominate the bigger one in Summer. It’s in need of a clean out. Important to clean baths to prevent the spread of bird disease.

The bug hotel has a few extensions. A commercially bought frogilo. Then a cracked pot half buried provides some shade for frogs.

At work, there is lots of building work going on meaning I should get a steady supply of pallets. I have claimed on for the base of a bug hotel in my school garden. I started filling it with straw we had left from our farm role play and pushing bricks around the edges. Hopefully, we can build it up to a reasonable height and then maybe create a green roof on the top.

A bug hotel is a nice project for the garden and ideal for working on with kids. It can be as quick as half an hour or be an ongoing project like my school one. But by making it with the kids they are getting outside and talking more about what might make homes inside. Great for science and their imaginations as they decide on furniture for the insects.  We want children who care for their environment and this a great way to build that love of nature.

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Further reading

RSPB-Home for nature bug hotel

Woodland trust guide

Wildlife Trust guide

Outdoor play

As mentioned previously I have recently got a promotion to a new school. I am now going to be moving back from year one into being an EYFS coordinator. Within my new unit we have provision for two year olds, F1’s (3-4 year olds) and F2’s (4-5 year olds). My job is to oversee the three year groups, but will mainly be working in F2. One of the things I’m looking forward to is developing the outdoor play. The three year groups have their own playground areas that are currently pretty well resourced, but I reckon can still be developed further. But lots of nice areas already established. Anyone who follows the blog knows I care about outdoor learning and these three areas have already made spaces for wildlife and stories, so lots for me to get my teeth into.

The two year old area. They’ve got a slide going down a small slope and under the tarp is a large sand area.

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Water play on the fence.

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A rather good looking mud kitchen.

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Weaved shelters and bug hotels. A nice area for covering to make dens.

The F1 playground.

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A story seating area. A good area for taking the story out.

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Mud kitchen and seating.

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Planters.

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The F2 playground (where I will mainly be).

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A story area again.

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Pathways through weaved tunnels.

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The all important bug hotel.

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Pathways to help with all weathers.

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And the mud kitchen.

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A lot more than I had to work with starting out. It shows how much more significance has been placed into outdoor learning, even in just the last 5 years or so. I’m looking forward to seeing the kids out in it. I’ve no doubt they won’t use any of the areas as adults intended, but that’s part of the course.