Father's Day fun - building a bug hotel with the kids

As crafty projects go, this is pretty relaxed as you don’t need any tools or particular material, just twigs, wood and old pots lying around the garden – in fact the kids can do most of the work while dad relaxes in the garden doing some gentle supervision.  You’ll all be doing your bit for local wildlife and your garden by encouraging everything from ladybirds to eat aphids, bees to pollinate flowers and frogs to eat slugs and snails.

Step 1. Before work begins, send the kids on a scavenge for dry leaves, twigs, bark, old terracotta pots, hollow stems, and plenty of soil.

Step 2. Find the right spot for the bug hotel, in a shady area at the end of the garden or near wildflowers -– essential food for butterflies, bees and other pollinating insects.  Then build a base – a couple of rows of bricks are ideal, leaving gaps so that insects can wriggle through. Having dry leaves on the floor will help create a forest environment, inviting more creatures to visit.  You can then build more floors on top as you go.

Step 3. This is the fun bit, where the kids can fill the gap in between the bricks with dead wood, loose bark, tubes, stones and tiles - different materials will attract all kinds of insects with loose bark for beetles, small tubes for bees, straw for ladybirds and corrugated cardboard for lacewings (their larvae eat aphids, too) and larger holes to provide the cool, damp habitats for frogs and toads.  You can even put a hedgehog box into the base of the hotel.

Step 4. Make a roof of old planks covered with roofing felt, old tiles or gritty soil - some wild flower seeds could take root.  Job done!