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This article first appeared in our Consumer Revolution issue of My Green Pod Magazine, released on 19 Dec 2019. Click here to subscribe to our digital edition and get each issue delivered straight to your inbox
Like the sound of a handcrafted space that serves as a temporary retreat? Of course you do – and we bet your kids will, too.
The Den Kit Co provides exactly that – with little or no previous den-building experience required.
Founders Kay and Jo are Forest School practitioners who are passionate advocates of outdoor and creative learning. They founded The Den Kit Co to encourage children to get outside – whether up a hill, on a beach or in a meadow, forest, field or back yard.
Woodland kits and pirate dens
The den kits contain no single-use plastics, batteries or complicated instructions – they’re all about inclusive, simple and unadulterated fun.
The Original Den Kit (£40) contains a tough 2.4m x 1.8m waterproof tarpaulin with camouflage design; a durable groundsheet; water-based camouflage face paint; an enamelware mug; 10m of natural jute rope; eight steel tent pegs and straightforward instructions, all packed inside a green haversack bag with a shoulder strap.
The Forest School Den Kit (£60) adds a camouflage net, compass and insect aspirator, which harmlessly catches and contains insects for inspection.
The British Woodland Den Kit (£50) contains a beautifully illustrated identification and fact sheet to help expand your knowledge of our native, living heritage – plus the equipment you need to grow your own sapling. The Pirate Den Kit (£45) has a calico tarpaulin and comes complete with pirate bunting and an eye patch.
How to build a den
Den-building is a true team activity and a great way to spend quality time together. Older children can build without intervention from overly eager grown-ups, but the most fun is found when everyone gets involved. Even the smallest children can help to peg out, gather leaves and add decorations.
The kits can be used to make a simple tent shelter, a mini wigwam or even a cavernous cave, and all dens can be embellished with final flourishes – whether for camouflage or to stand out from the crowd.
Click here to find out why The Den Kit Co Original Den Kit is a My Green Pod Hero
Bunting, flags, a windsock or a sign can help to make your den your own, while natural materials such as moss, sticks, stones, ferns, leaves and fallen branches will help your hide-out to disappear from prying eyes.
Each kit contains a beautiful, Shropshire ash handmade mallet, which can also be bought separately for a very reasonable £10.
Special collaboration kits
The Den Kit Co has come a long way since Kay and Jo rushed to meet demand by drying their mallets in the microwave (this approach ‘worked well but wrecked the microwave’). Today it has various partnerships in place with people and organisations that share a passion for getting kids outside to explore and learn.
A comprehensive outdoor experience kit has been designed in collaboration with Ed Stafford, a Scout ambassador and one of the world’s foremost survivalists. Packed with authentic equipment and indispensable advice, this is an essential kit for 10- to 14-year-old explorers seeking adventure.
Land Rover recently asked Kay and Jo to design an exclusive product for the next generation of all-terrain explorers. Taking inspiration from a shared passion for outdoor experiences, innovative design and getting muddy, they created the limited edition Land Rover Den Kit, which is ‘tough, capable and unstoppable’.
The National Trust Nature Hideaway Kit has been designed to appeal to older children’s natural sense of adventure and discovery. The goal of this collaboration is to spark wonder, test ingenuity and help create a generation that cares for nature into the future. With this kit kids can spot animal trails, learn bird calls, watch how the seasons alter the outdoor world around them – all while learning the skill of den-building.
A dose of nature
With children becoming increasingly reliant on technology, regular outdoor play is a fun and educational antidote. It engenders a respect for the natural environment and forces children to adapt and deal with change; they get a multi-sensory experience while their lungs are filled with fresh air.
The kits appeal to kids’ natural sense of adventure while also providing an effective tool for teaching; they allow children to explore their own creative talents for problem solving, critical thinking and ingenuity, while using nature as a tool to experience both the wider world and themselves.