INSPIRATIONS – berries

July 15, 2019

A selection of activities to inspire you during the berry season.

Author: Muddy Faces

Age Range: all ages

Duration: less than an hour

Location: anywhere

Time Of Day: daylight

Season: autumn

Tags: art, autumn, berries, foraging, inspiration, mud kitchen

Category: * what's new * art & creating food outdoors inspirations

Inspirations

Welcome to Muddy Faces Inspirations – identified with the light bulb symbol. Inspirations bring together activities & ideas with a specific theme, to inspire your time outdoors playing, learning & connecting with nature. Keep an eye out for highlighted links taking you to our step-by-step activity guides.

white lightbul icon on green background

Introduction

Towards the end of summer and the beginning of autumn, berries begin to appear on trees and bushes. Look out for the ‘jewels’ amongst the green; bilberries, wild raspberries, blackberries, rowan berries and rose hips, and later on elderberries.
We’ve put together a few art, craft and recipe ideas here for a taster of all these jewels can offer.

These INSPIRATIONS are a selection of ideas and resources to introduce and complement your child-led berry activities.

* Muddy Faces actively promotes child-led outdoor play & learning (see the introduction to our Outdoor Play section for more on this). We recognise and believe in the curiosity that children have and their drive to explore and discover. We hope that you will bear this in mind when considering more prescribed activities like some of those presented here – often much more creative ideas will occur if resources are simply provided and children are given the time and space to explore independently.

Environmental considerations

Consider the environmental impact of preparing, carrying out & completing this activity. Could this impact be reduced? Specific considerations for this activity could include:

Health & safety considerations

Follow your usual operating procedures and carry out appropriate risk benefit assessments.
Some considerations particular to this activity include:

  • positive identification of plants and berries prior to ingestion
  • Check out the Woodland Trust’s A-Z tree guide in the information section of the Outdoor Hub

A little note on collecting

Go on a berry hunt in your local area and see what you can find. All you need is a keen set of detectives, some collecting bags and some tree identification guides.

Look at our foraging tips for more information about picking and collecting – think sustainable and responsible.

We also have a foraging and wild food links section in the Links / Food Outdoors part of the Outdoor Hub.

Simply picking

A brilliant fine motor activity for all ages.

What do they feel like? What do the children say as they pick the berries? How many can you pick?

Admire the beautiful palette of colours as you build up the collection. Rowan berries and rosehips work well for this activity.

NB Elderberries and other soft fruit berries are likely to stain fingers.

Threading

A really simple activity and all you need are your berries (rowan and rosehip), some string and an embroidery needle. Make them long, make them short, join them together, hang them up, create some repeating patterns or make a bracelet.

Mud kitchen ingredient

Rowan berries and rosehips make a fantastic addition to any mud kitchen. The colours look amazing in contrast to the mud. Stir and serve a berry delight!

Berry ink

Squash the berries to get the colour out of them and use your fingers or a brush to paint.

Works best with the softer fruit like blackberries, raspberries and elderberries.

paintbrush in squashed raspberry to use juice as ink

Recipes

Blackberries and wild raspberries are a delicious foraging treat – ‘one for me and one for the pot’!

Or try cooking them up to make a puree to have with some yoghurt (if you add a bit of sugar and keep it in the fridge they will last a bit longer). Alternatively, freeze in batches and bring them out to add some summer fruit tastes to a dark winter night.

Elderberries can be made into a cordial rich in Vitamin C.

blackberries, ripe and unripe

Blackberries

Have a go at making blackberry and apple jam and get some top tips on picking in this activity.

apple, bunch of blackberries and jar of blackberry and apple jam

Bilberries

Read our account of foraging for wellbeing – bilberry narrative.

Once you have collected some bilberries have a go at making some bilberry jam or try popping some into campfire orange cakes… yummy!

chlidren picking bilberries