by Eco Kids Planet April 12, 2017

Wildlife needs three basic things – food, water and a home. Just like us! But some of our wildlife is in trouble and it needs our help.

The RSPB is launching Wild Challenge to encourage you and your family to go out and get closer to nature. By completing fun activities ranging from feeding garden birds to making a hedgehog cafe you can collect your bronze, silver and gold Wild Challenge awards!

Why not start your Wild Challenge adventure today by building a hotel for minibeasts

Minibeasts need somewhere cosy and safe to hide. The size and construction of your minibeast hotel is only limited by the materials you have available and your imagination!

You can create a hotel full of different natural materials, to provide hidey-holes for creatures galore. Minibeasts are very relaxed tenants and will hang around in the places that appeal to them, as long as there are lots of nooks and crannies to explore, and some lovely rotting bark to munch on.  

What will you need

There are loads of great natural materials you can use – most of them are things that you can find lying around!

Use wooden pallets, bricks, old plant pots and pallets to make a solid structure. What you put inside is up to you.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Strips of wood
  • Straw
  • Moss
  • Dry leaves
  • Woodchips
  • Old terracotta pots
  • Old roofing tiles
  • Bricks (the ones with holes through them are the best!)
  • Old logs
  • Bark
  • Pine cones 
  • Sand
  • Soil
  • Hollow bamboo canes
  • Dead hollow stems cut from shrubs and plants
  • A sheet of roofing felt

    Step-by-step instructions

    1) Choose a suitable spot

    It needs to be level and on flat solid ground.

    2) The basic structure
    It’s best to build a strong, stable framework that's no more than a metre high. Old wooden pallets are perfect, as they’re sturdy and come with ready-made gaps!
    mini-beast-hotel-instructions-step-1
    First, lay out your bricks as a base. Space them apart and try creating an H-shape on the ground – like a brick helicopter landing pad! 

      Now you can start to stack wooden pallets on top of your bricks.
      Top tip: leaving larger ends can help attract our spiky friend the hedgehog to visit.

      You can also make a smaller structure, depending on the wood and space you have. Whatever size you decide to make is fine - you're still giving a home to nature whether it's big or small.

      3) Fill in the gaps

      The idea is to provide all sorts of different nooks and crannies, holes, tunnels and cosy beds. Just place, stack, scatter and poke various materials in to make a clever collection of habitats.

       minibeast-hotel-instruction-step3

         Dead wood and loose bark for creepy crawlies like beetles, centipedes, spiders and woodlice.
         Holes and small tubes (not plastic) for solitary bees made out of bamboo, reeds and drilled logs.
         Larger holes with stones and tiles, which provide the cool, damp conditions frogs and toads like – if you put it in the centre you’ll give them a frost-free place to spend the winter (they’ll help eat slimy slugs too!).
         Dry leaves, sticks or straw for ladybirds and other beetles and bugs.
         Corrugated cardboard for lacewings. You can even put a hedgehog box into the base of the hotel.
          4) Add a roof

          You don't want a hotel that's full of soggy residents and wet rooms! It's time to pop a roof on top of what you've done so far. You could even give it a 'green' or 'brown' roof by putting a bit of rubble or gritty soil on top.

          minibeast-hotel-instructions-step4
          5) Finishing touches

          Every hotel needs a kitchen. Don't forget, your guests will want to eat when they stay. Surround your hotel with loads of colourful nectar-rich flowers – essential food for butterflies, bees and other insects that decide to call for room service!

          minibeast-hotel-instructions-finishing-touches

          Now it's time for your grand opening! 


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          Michelle
          Michelle

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          I love that you are challenging kids to get connected with nature! I’m going to pin this so that I can recommend it in a future blog post :-) I hope you have more nature-challenge ideas in the coming months!

          Leave a comment


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