Remembering to Breathe: How Nature and Crafts help to Ground and Connect Us

Written by Lauren Mewett, Family Case Worker at Dandelion Time 

creative activities, craft petal plates
Create your own Petal Plates using garden foliage such as leaves or flowers

This is an unusual and uncertain time for many of us. It’s only expected that our children and young people might be feeling a little more anxious during these tricky times. Nature & Craft based activities can be key to keeping our children feeling relaxed, grounded and most importantly, occupied! By taking part in these activities alongside you, the shared experience of making or doing can support a deep connectedness between you and your child. This provides the opportunity for them to explore any worries with you that they might be having at this time, feeling safe and supported.

We endeavour to engage children and families in activities that require them to use their hands, awaken their senses and provide opportunities to foster confidence, self-esteem and resilience. We find that this helps children to establish head, heart and hand connections – something that in this generation can often be lost through using technology and shortcuts. Absorbing activities like arts, crafts, cooking and baking can help to alleviate children’s anxiety and help bring them focus and purpose. Any trapped emotions that might be too big for children to identify or manage on their own can be released through the rhythm and movement of the tasks.

vulnerable children using eco-therapy in kent
Wood working helps brings children into the present, connecting their hands, mind and body

The natural world is a key element to our work.  We always encourage families to connect with the natural world so we try to incorporate it as much as we can into our work supporting families. For this reason, when possible, we rely on using natural materials for our craft activities such as wood, wool and clay. We also try to keep our cooking and baking simple and replicable, using ingredients that are readily available and often grown in our garden. Taking trips outside into to natural world to gather materials, visit our animals and harvest fruit and vegetables are all things that we believe helps to support children’s emotional and mental wellbeing during times of worries or challenges.

Now is the perfect time to get crafty at home and our cheese straws recipe is a great place to start! Why not have a go yourself? Keep your eyes peeled for more Dandelion Time activities we will be sharing to help inspire you!

Dandelion Time’s Cheese Straws

Ingredients

  • 1 cup plain flour
  • salt and pepper
  • ½ teaspoon mustard powder

    Cheese Straws are great fun to make together as a family
  • 1 cup butter, cubed
  • 2 cups strong cheddar, grated
  • 2 egg yolks
  • a little milk to glaze

Preparation method

  1. Preheat oven to 200oC or gas mark 6
  2. Place the flour, mustard and salt & pepper into a bowl
  3. Add butter and rub in with fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs
  4. Add the cheese
  5. Add egg yolks and mix to a stiff dough
  6. Lightly flour worktop and roll out dough to a thickness of 5mm
  7. Cut into narrow fingers and place on baking tray
  8. Brush the tops with a little milk
  9. Bake for 7-10 minutes until golden