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Bark can be beautiful, which makes it a great choice for making natural crafts. We’ve brought together some of our favourite bark activities for your family to try on your woodland adventures. So get stuck into bark rubbings, boats and collages.

Please don’t strip bark directly off trees as it could harm them. Look for pieces that have fallen naturally to the ground instead.

Bark rubbing

Kids will love exploring the patterns and textures of bark with this tactile activity. Simply take some crayons and paper  on your next trip to the woods.

Choose a bumpy tree with interesting bark. Place the paper against the trunk and rub the crayon over the paper to make a print of the bark pattern.

Encourage your children to experiment with different trees, then take a look at the bark rubbings to see how they compare. You can use our free Tree ID app to identify your trees and find out more about them.

Bark and leaf boats

Tree bark is very buoyant, which makes it the ideal material for making boats. Have a go at making some boats using natural items you find in the woods, then challenge your kids to a race.

  1. Choose a flat piece of bark for the hull (bottom) of your boat.
  2. Use a blob of mud to attach a straight stick to the hull. This will be your mast.
  3. Thread a leaf or two onto the stick to make your sails.

Now you’re ready to sail your boats on a puddle or pond. For an extra challenge why not add some cargo? Load small pebbles, nuts or berries onto your boats – do they still float, or do they sink with the added weight?

Stay safe. Always keep a close eye on children when you’re near water.

Credit: Michael Heffernan / WTML

Brilliant bark

Tree bark helps protect the inside of trees. As trees get older, their bark gets more knobbly and cracked, providing lots of hidey holes for little creatures such as insects.

Bark tea light holder

This is a fun activity to try at home. Use craft glue to stick small pieces of bark around the outside of a glass jar. Leave spaces in between so the light can shine through and create interesting shapes and shadows.

Pop a tea light inside and enjoy the flickering glow on an autumn evening.

Autumn tree collage

Gather some bits of bark and colourful autumn leaves. Stick the bark on a piece of card to make the trunk and then add the leaves to create the colourful canopy.

Rustic bark frames

Decorate a plain picture frame with pieces of bark using craft glue – you’ll need your jigsaw skills to make them all join up so there aren’t any big gaps. Your frame will be perfect for a family photo taken in the woods.

Family using the leaf swatch book

Enjoy special moments together

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