Get ready for Tree dressing day – 4th December! Here are some ideas for wild natural decorations…

tree-dressing-3Do you have a favourite tree that you like to visit again and again? Tree Dressing Day in early December celebrates the importance of trees in our lives. We love the idea of dressing special trees, but we believe in taking a natural, wild approach, inspired by the beauty of the natural materials we can find all around us. No need for hunting out things at home or going to the shops – just go outside and discover the wonderful treasures just lying on the ground waiting to be picked up and made into wild decorations.

Go out for a walk in the woods or the park and collect loose natural materials; begin collecting as soon as you can and store them in a cool, dry place until December. Suitable items include: leafless winter twigs; teasels; poppy seedheads; tree seeds, such as acorns, beech mast or sycamore seeds; fir and pine cones; crab apples; rose hips; cotoneaster, holly and hawthorn berries; greenery from ivy, holly and other evergreen trees; mistletoe; feathers.

The challenge is to make natural decorations by fixing your finds together with wire, string, raffia, ribbons and glue. We hope these pictures might provide some ideas and inspiration for a natural approach to decorating trees for Tree Dressing Day.

Re-leafing the trees

Collect autumn leaves and dry them. On tree dressing day, re-leaf the trees in leaves again, hanging your natural leaf collection among the branches. You could even write tree messages and stories on each leaf.


Leaf Bunting

Thread a long piece of wool onto a large needle, such as a sail needle. Sew the wool through the coloured leaves in a running stitch. For added contrast, sew different coloured leaves on top of each other.


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Tread stalks together, rather like in a daisy chain. Place a leaf with a long stalk on a hard surface such as a chopping board. Roll the stalk as flat as you can with a rolling pin or perhaps a pencil or a biro. Make a split near the end of a flattened stalk using the pointed end of a biro or a cocktail stick. Repeat with more long-stalked leaves. Thread the leaves together in a long chain by pushing the stalks through the splits. Alternatively thread them on a piece of wool using a darning needle



Ice bunting

When the world sparkles with cold, try out this ice bunting, or make it in the deep freeze if the temperatures are not low enough. How do the icy shapes change as the weather freezes and thaws

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  • Find a few cookie cutters and some shallow plastic boxes or metal baking trays.
  • Go outside and pour water into each container to a depth of about 1cm/0.5inch. Add a few drops of food colouring if you wish. Place cookie cutters in some of the baking trays. Arrange a few natural treasures in each shape.
  • Cut some lengths of thin wire, twisting one end of each length. Place a wire in each shape, with the twisted end in the water and the other end hanging over the edge.
  • Leave to freeze overnight, and then use some warm water to remove the ice from the containers. Tie a line of string around a tree and then hang the ice bunting along the string.

Balloon ice baubles

These beautiful ice baubles would be a great way to attract attention to your favourite tree!

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  • Curl one end of a length of fine wire into a small spiral and then feed the spiral end down inside an un-inflated balloon. The other end of wire should be sticking out of the neck of the balloon.
  • Place the balloon over the spout of a tap and fill with water. For coloured baubles, add a couple of drops of food colouring.
  • Remove the balloon from the tap and either clip a peg over the open end of the balloon, or tie the end with thread.
  • Hang outside on to freeze. Carefully cut off the balloon to reveal an ice bauble hanging from the thin wire.

Safety Tips (for the tree) – Take care not to damage the tree in any way. Don’t use nails or anything that might interfere with its growth. You may need to get permission to dress a tree.

For more ideas, please see our series of Going Wild books – and please send us photos of your wild decorations!

1 year to go!

Add your voice to the Tree Charter and help create a future in which trees and people stand stronger together:

We need your help NOW! Vote for our Dragon in Tesco stores Oxford!


Following on from the huge success of our living Hazel Dragon in Magdalen Woods, Going Wild have teamed up with Jane Gallagher from OPA, Julian Cooper Oxford City council and Stuart Turner to make another huge dragon, this time woven from living willow in Spindleberry Nature reserve in Blackbird Leys, Oxford.

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Stuart Turner, the land artist who created the first Magdalen wood dragon will also bring this dragon alive so …….

She will be enormous, she will be playful and she will be awesome!  

To make this possible we applied for a grant and are thrilled to say our project has been shortlisted for a public vote in Tesco’s #BagsofHelp initiative!

To win the top prize we need you to vote for us in store!

You can vote in Tesco stores 31st October – 13th November on who should receive the £12,000, £10,000 and £8,000 awards.

Bags of Help offers community groups and projects in each of Tesco’s 416 regions across the UK a share of revenue generated from the 5p charge levied on single-use carrier bags. 

Follow the link to see the Oxford Mail’s article all about it.

Reminder – This Sunday 25th September at Kew Gardens – mini den making and storytelling under one of Kew garden’s oldest trees

Location – Kew Gardens, London

Date – This Sunday, 25th September

Sessions: 12-1.00pm, 2.00pm-3.00pm and 4.00-5.00pm

Come and join Fiona and 1 for a fun-filled hour of miniature den making and storytelling under the branches of one of Kew garden’s oldest trees

More information and tickets

elf housejo schofield and Fiona danks_

Come and create your own story and make a mini den with us at Kew Gardens, Sunday 25th September

We will be at Write on Kew gardens literary festival on Sunday 25th September.  Come and join in on one of our workshops where we will be meeting some amazing tree characters and having a go at creating some mini dens for wild imaginary creatures.

Workshops at 12pm, 2pm and 4pm.  For tickets and more details see


Teachers Gone Wild! KS2 outdoor learning training day – London Zoo

Are you a KS2 teacher?  If so, come and join us for a fun training day at London Zoo.

Going Wild have partnered up with The Discovery & Learning team at ZSL London Zoo to create an exciting outdoor learning CPD opportunity for KS2 teachers. 

Cost: £55 per teacher

Capacity: 40 participants

Includes: Entry to Zoo, training, refreshments, lunch and a copy of a Going Wild book (choose from the Stick book, Wild Weather or Wild City book)

Date: PLEASE NOTE  that we have sadly had to postpone this event in September.  We will re-schedule it, so please keep an eye out on our website for news if a new date.

Location: Discovery & Learning department, ZSL London Zoo, Outer Circle, Regents Park, London NW1 4RYF

Going Wild

This event aims to:

  • Build confidence and empower teachers to use outdoor spaces with their classes
  • Give fantastic ides for a range of outdoor science activities linked to the working scientifically strand of the KS2 national curriculum
  • Inform teachers of the cognitive, social and emotional benefits of getting their students learning outside
  • Inform teachers of ZSL London Zoo’s learning programme and how teachers can enrich classroom learning with out of classroom visits (and use these spaces better with activities onsite!)

Learn all about a range of practical ways to engage your students in outdoor environments using specific practical tasks that link to science and cross-curricular subjects.

The training will take place in a range of indoor and outdoor spaces across ZSL London Zoo where you will undertake a range of activities covering a range of topics that include, but are not limited to, exploring biodiversity (an easy-to-do bioblitz!), food chains and interdependence (food chain totem poles!), comparative and fair testing (parachutes for stickmen!) and observing change over time (ice windows!).  We will also ensure you have some time to explore the Zoo at the end of your day.

As part of your ticket, take home one of the Going Wild books of your choice (from The Stick book, Wild Weather or Wild City book) to plan activities for your students back at school!

Going to the beach this summer? Don’t have a ball? No problem, take off your sock and make a Hacky Sock!

Over the next few weeks we will be featuring some fun ideas from The Beach Book to help make beach days full of fun.  If you haven’t got a copy get yours now!

  • Pour dry sand into the toe of a sock to make a ball about the size of a tennis ball.
  • Twist the sock round and then turn it over on itself and twist again.
  • Find some nice big feathers and push the quills into the loose end of the sock. Secure with an elastic band.
  • Throw it around and make up your own fun games!
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