Kids go wild with Lost Words

THE start of the school summer holidays finds parents looking for inventive and creative ways to keep their children entertained. They need look no further than the Artsreach summer programme of activities, which runs from 26th July to 30th August.

This summer’s programme is inspired by The Lost Words, Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris’s stunning book, which uses the magic of words and imagery to revive our love of nature. It appeals to adults as much as children, and its original intention – rebuffing a new edition of a children’s dictionary which omitted natural history words (presumably as no longer “relevant” to today’s digitally switched on children).

The book has become a hit across the country, with fund-raising schemes that have put copies into hundreds of primary schools, as well as nursing and care homes – and proving that people of all ages love the natural world.

The Artsreach summer activities range from arts and crafts to music, theatre, outdoor adventures, storytelling and more.

Sarah Butterworth’s Woodspeak Creators sessions in Evershot and the Kingcombe Centre at Toller Porcorum encourage children to create a new language using images and sounds from the woods, and make woodland sculptures from wire and coloured tissue.

Dorset Forest School hosts outdoor adventure workshops including making leaf-print bunting, natural painting, copper jewellery design, willow-weaving and games at Piddletrenthide, Milborne St Andrew, Portesham and the Kingcombe Centre.

Parents and children can take part in an interactive session of making music, dressing up, singing songs and creating stories as Treehouse Theatre brings Storybox to Charmouth, Sturminster Newton and Milborne St Andrew. For parents and toddlers there is a fun-filled session of baking bread, singing songs and doing arts and crafts followed by a puppet show with Fiddlesticks at Milborne St Andrew.

Abigail Thommes’ Graffiti Experience is a stimulating event for youngsters at Sturminster Newton Exchange. Jo Burlington brings Potato Sack Creatures to Piddletrenthide, and Vicky Ashford invites youngsters to create a printed banner, mobile or clay sculpture using found and foraged materials such as leaves, seed pods, pine cones and conkers in a Wild Art session in Burton Bradstock.

Artist Fran Quinlan leads a Let’s Get recycling craft workshop at Burton Bradstock, while 3D sculptor Darrell Wakelam returns to create magnificent 3D animals – hares at Toller Porcorum, kingfishers in Martinstown and goldfinches in Sturminster Newton.

Learn the art of stone carving with Bec Freiesleben in Sturminster Newton and Toller Porcorum, and design a tile illustrating some of Dorset’s wonderful array of flowers, animals, birds and plants.

Martin Maudsley leads a storytelling performance with traditional folktales and legends about plants and animals, followed by a craft workshop, in The Lost Stories at Charmouth and Gillingham.

Squashbox Theatre brings a new show, Curious Creatures Wildlife Park, uncovering the mysteries of the animal kingdom to Blandford and Martinstown, with puppetry, storytelling, live music and comedy.

Booking is recommended as workshops have limited places and often sell out. For full details pick up the Artsreach Summer Activities programme or visit