Dream catchers are always a favourite with both children and adults alike. Their colourful web and woodland decorations never fail to make the forest school area look lovely and their creation can lead to deep imaginative play, storytelling and interesting conversations.
Originating in Native American culture, the dream catcher was hung above an infant’s bed so that bad dreams would be caught in the web while good dreams slipped through and down to the sleeping child below. One young forest school group I did this activity with decided that bad dreams must be sticky and that’s why they got caught in the net. Another child from the same group swore that it made a difference to his dreams.
Read on to discover how to make your woodland dream catcher.
2. Small bendy sticks or ‘whips’, willow or hazel is ideal
3. Coloured wool
1. You may want your forest school group to work together to cut the whips. If this is the case, make sure that they know how to use the secateurs safely and that good communication is kept up between working pairs and a safe working area is established.
2. Once the whips have been cut and any leaves removed, each person collects a short length of wool and a whip.
3. Bend the two ends of the whip together to create a teardrop shape and secure with either a clove hitch, or just wrap the wool very tightly around the point at which the two ends cross over and secure with a reef knot.
4. Take a second piece of wool and attach it to the top of the hoop however you like (I usually use a reef knot).
5. There are two ways to make the webbing inside the hoop. The simplest way is to wrap the wool around the hoop in many different directions, keeping it taught at all times, until a web has been created. The loose end can be secured at any point on the hoop using a reef knot.
6. The second method is slightly more involved but creates a neater webbing:
7. After attaching the wool, pull it downwards to any point on the bottom of the hoop. You will usually have one side that has a bigger gap than the other.
8. Pass the wool over and behind the hoop, making sure that you bring it back through the smaller gap.
9. Pull the wool tight and take it to the opposite side of the hoop and repeat, always bringing the end of the wool through the smallest gap that you have created.
10. Work your way around the hoop.
11. Once you are happy with the covering you have in around the outside of the hoop, you can move inwards. The technique is the same, except you pass the wool behind one of the bits of wool that you have already attached.
12. If at any point you run out of wool, extra can be added by using a simple overhand knot or a reef knot. It’s generally better to work with shorter bits of string to avoid getting tangled.
13. Once you have webbing that you are happy with, you can decorate it with found objects.
Let me know how you get on and if you've got any questions, give me a shout in the comments below!