Have kids or hang around with them? Congrats – you are now an official carrier of shells/feathers/twigs/stones/leaves/flowers. Not that this is a bad thing – it goes to show the brilliance of a child's mind and how they can teach and remind us to work mindfully.
Mindfulness seems to come naturally to kids. When they're collecting twigs, they're collecting twigs – unconcerned with the peripheral 'noise', not planning the next task nor wanting to be somewhere else. To be in cahoots with someone whose aspirations and intentions lie purely in the moment is kind of amazing. It's a one-on-one lesson with a mindfulness master, inspiring us to put phones away, forget about dinner plans and dwell happily in the present.
Kids aren’t always in need of fully fledged projects in order to learn or be entertained. But it is fun – so here's the best of both. You can dwell happily in collecting land, and then one day in another moment enjoy creating with your spoils. Here's our miniature make-believe bonfire with mini marshmallows for toasting to get you inspired.
Wrangle your small person (or vice versa), your collected twigs and leaves, a few paints and paint brushes (and behind the scenes a packet of mini marshmallows, or some cotton wool for pretend marshmallows).
Paint a few leaf branches with your flame-inspired paint colours and leave to dry. (If you have collected an array of autumnal leaves, you could skip this step.)
Assemble your bonfire with a base of fallen leaves, dry grass or stones underneath to support the sticks. Gradually add your sticks around the base, starting with the shortest underneath and eventually the tallest on top. We added a few autumn-leaf 'flames' – your bonfire can differ seasonally and even coloured petals could add some fiery colour and texture.
Add in your painted 'flames' and reveal the marshmallows. Enjoy basking in the warmth of this joyful collaboration.
DIY by Anoushka Gourlay from Hey Ho, Let's Slow.