Creatively Exploring Nature with Willow and Wild

Willow and Wild Subscription boxes. January 2019 edition

With so much tech and access to kids TV on demand it can be easy to get caught indoors. We are very lucky to live near a beach and a National Park which provide plenty of opportunities to get outside but even then it can become too familiar so I love to look for new ideas and inspiration. When I spotted a subscription box called Willow and Wild Box which offers nature inspired fun and learning I was very keen to learn more.

We have been lucky enough to receive 3 letterbox size subscription boxes from Willow and Wild in November, December and January. Aimed at 3-8 year olds, J has loved receiving a ‘parcel’ full of goodies just for him each month. Every box is inspired by nature and is packed full of gardening, craft, cooking and outdoor activities. One of the great advantages of the Willow and Wild Box is that you don’t need to be surrounded by green space or even have a garden to use it which helps to give your child access to nature no matter where you live.

What is in the Box?

November

Willow and Wild Box for November packed full of goodies

  • Gardening – Grow wheat grass ‘grass heads‘ with seeds, grow tube, funny face stickers and instructions included. Grow your very own pansies (compost disc and seeds included).
  • Cooking – Recipe cards for pansy cupcakes, with decoration provided by your very own pansies, and green soup.
  • Crafting – Make a leaf lantern with the autumn leafs, glue and raffia provided in the box (just provide your own jam jar). Create your own leaf art scratch magnets (all resources included).
  • Learning – Information about hibernation, the seasons and hedgehogs.

December

Willow and Wild December Box packed full of festive themed goodies

  • Gardening – Instructions and seeds for growing your own Christmas tree and windowsill herbs.
  • Cooking – Recipe cards for pesto (using your very own homemade basil) and snowflake biscuits with snowflake cutter included.
  • Crafting – In our box we found glitter, glue, silver pen, lolly sticks, sequins, glitter tape, bells, buttons, some Christmas themed wooden shapes (gingerbread man, bauble and tree) and some string alongside instructions for making a reindeer decoration, a lolly stick photo frame and glitter cones and sycamore seeds. Also included in the box were some instructions for creating your very own ice art.
  • Learning – The information booklet taught J about evergreen trees and included some fascinating snow flake facts as well as a winter scavenger hunt which was great inspiration for getting us outdoors between Christmas and New Year.

January

January Willow and Wild Subscription Box

  • Gardening – Instructions and seeds for growing sweet peas. Willow sticks with instructions of how to use them to grow your very own willow.
  • Cooking – Recipe card for rock cakes. Instructions for how to make your own popcorn bird feeder with wire and popping corn included.
  • Crafting – Instructions of how to make your own newspaper plant pots. Paint and glue to make stick dragonflies. Pipe cleaners, pom pots, glue and google eyes to make stick worms. Black card, glitter tape and gold star stickers to make your own telescope. Space themed spot the difference and colouring picture.
  • Learning – A diagram of the solar system and the moon phases with some interesting facts. Use the black card and gold star stickers to draw the constellations using the guide in the booklet. Nature Journal with a January winter walk scavenger hunt checklist inside.

What We Thought

Gardening

There have been lots of fun gardening activities in the Willow and Wild boxes. Sowing seeds and watching them grow into plants has created lots of excitement in our house and has ticked off one of my preschooler bucket list items. J loved watching the wheat grass grow as it grew really quickly. He was also really excited about growing his own Christmas tree. The only disappointment about this activity was that you have to wait 6-8 weeks before you can sow the seeds which meant that J lost interest and I’m not convinced he will be overly fussed when we get to February as he has already told me off for still wearing Christmas socks!  I was very impressed with the willow branches as this is really different and not something I would have ever considered doing with J. He is currently really looking forward to seeing the Sweet Peas from the January box grow and flower.

J planting wheat grass

Overall I thought that the gardening activities were a great way to get kids excited and hands on about nature. I think that growing herbs is a great starting point for children to understand that food can be grown and doesn’t magically appear on supermarket shelves. The biggest frustration with the gardening activities for us is that we don’t have lots of plant pots or compost sitting around and I would have preferred to receive the bumper box which has these in so we can get on with the activities as soon as the box arrives.

Willow sticks to plant with instructions Willow and Wild box

Cooking

J enjoys baking and he loved helping me make snowflake shaped biscuits for Christmas, so much so that we actually made a second batch just because he wanted to use the snowflake cutter (included in December’s box) again! He is really looking forward to making the popcorn bird feeder later this week though as we love to watch the birds come to our garden. I have been impressed that the food cards have included a range of recipes. Although each month has included either a cake or biscuit recipe they have also included a healthier recipes too with the pesto and soup. The only downside which directly affected us was that J is not able to have dairy or eggs so we had to find alternative recipes, but at least the recipe cards gave us inspiration.

J baking snowflake cookies for Christmas with the Willow and Wild box  Willow and Wild inspired Christmas cookies

Crafting

J has enjoyed completing the craft activities in each Willow and Wild box (despite not being a huge arts and crafts fan) because they are only 5-10 minute activities and have linked in well with the educational information which he laps up. Most of the craft materials have been included in the box and when I have needed some additional materials these have been found in the cupboard and I haven’t had to make a special trip for them. J loved the scratch art leaf in November and placed it on our fridge with pride and joy. He also loved making Christmas decorations which went onto our tree. In January he couldn’t wait to make the telescope although he was a little too keen and couldn’t understand why we couldn’t go star hunting at 11am.

Making Christmas Decorations with Willow and Wild box

I have been really impressed with the variety of the craft activities. The instructions have been clear and the materials included have been suitable, easy for little hands to use and most importantly there is enough of everything (the glue was a particular concern as J enjoyed squeezing it amply).

Willow and Wild magnetic scratch art leaf

Learning

I have loved the learning pages included in the Willow and Wild boxes. They make great topic conversation starters, the learning links well with the other activities in the box and the time of year and this has led us to completing other activities in the month which are linked too. He enjoyed learning about hibernation in November and we then played bears for most of the month. In December he learnt about evergreen trees and we went hunting for them on a walk. In January the learning is about space which J is already really interested in and he loved learning the names of the other planets in our solar system and looking at the phases of the moon and comparing it with the moon in the sky. There have been some aspects of the educational information which have been too grown up for J so we have just simplified the facts which has been very easy to do.

Learning about Space with Willow and Wild Box

Overall, I have loved the Willow and Wild boxes and would definitely recommend them to others. I think that the box gives you great value for money with prices starting from only £7.25 per box. For a busy household it is perfect for helping you to focus on a nature theme each month that ties in with the time of year and gives you great ideas for a range of interesting and educational activities.
Willow and Wild activities in booklet

How to Buy

You can buy your Willow and Wild here. You can choose between the Letter Box, Siblings Box and Bumper Box subscriptions. The Bumper Box includes a selection of extras which are perfect for those who don’t have pots, compost etc. Willow and Wild offer 4 subscription terms – 3 months, 6 months, 12 months and month by month which offers an option for everyone and makes a Willow and Wild box an affordable gift too.

*We received the Willow and Wild Subscription Boxes in exchange for an honest review.

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