The promise of free family-friendly outdoor art activities prompted us to make sure our snack bag was packed copiously full and hit the road to Sleaford this morning.

As part of the nationwide #getcreative weekend, ArtsNK were offering visitors to The Nettles the chance to try their hands at willow weaving and cyanotype printing.

Despite arriving in the Lincolnshire town early we almost didn’t make it to the green artspace in time.

That’s because we decided to just pop into the National Centre for Craft and Design (NCCD) to use up the time and ended up still being there more than two hours later.

Straight away Luke remembered visiting the NCCD before – we’d used it as a fun place to break up a journey to Boston Hospital in December ahead of his grommets operation – and he remembered that it was just him, mummy and daddy that came that time and was eager to take the lift to the top of the building again.

The lift wasn’t the only engaging attraction on either trip though.  Last time we spent time trying our hand at a threading activity alongside their tapestry exhibition.  This time the exhibits upstairs saw us darning socks and those downstairs exploring the art and science of 3D printing and designing our own funky glasses as well as hunting letters on an Easter trail over all floors.

After a quick pit stop in the NCCD’s lovely cafe (negotiating our way past the shop’s breakables and a little disagreement over sharing some toy wooden ice creams) we finally made it to The Nettles with minutes to spare and are very glad we did.

The cyanotype printing activity proved very engaging for both Luke and Willow.  Willow enjoyed collecting daisies and grass to create her picture with and continued to do so even after the picture was finished and dried.  Luke enjoyed the whole process of producing the image especially  when the paper was put into the water.  And mummy really liked the blue colour and how pretty all the finished pictures are.

Willow seemed to forget she’d just had lunch at that point and, while she helped herself to the snack bag, Luke had a go at weaving a willow fish.  He’d waited very patiently for his turn here, testament to both how intrigued he was to have a go and also to the activity’s outdoor setting (although he did also discover a use for a dock leaf today too).

The event was planned to celebrate the launch of the When in Sleaford… Arts & Heritage Trail Map which includes a children’s sticker trail.  Linking up the NCCD, Sleaford Museum, Cogglesford Mill and Navigation House, the trail takes you across the town finding a series of bronze roundels created by artist David Mackie that celebrate different aspects of Sleaford’s heritage.

IMG_3743The earlier excitement, gloriously warm weather and lack of buggy meant we didn’t quite make it round all of these with our mini walkers but they were keen to spot the roundels we did and it’s definitely planted the seeds of another trip back to the picturesque riverside place for our sticker fans.  Hopefully mother nature will smile on us as widely then too!

Click here to find out more about When in Sleaford