Cute and snuffly, the hedgehog is one of Britain’s most-loved wild animals but sadly our only spiny mammal is now officially classed as vulnerable to extinction. Hedgehog Awareness Week 2021 (May 2nd-8th), run by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, is encouraging people to make their gardens welcoming for the little creatures to give them more safe havens to live in.
As well as on the charity’s website, you can also find some top tips at How to Take Care of a Hedgehog on Emma and 3 after a prickly visitor to their garden had them researching the best way to take care of it.
These adorable guests are not the sole beneficiaries of such efforts though as they can often lift your spirits in return. “The challenging coronavirus period of 2020 has been made much more bearable in our house by the visit of wild hedgehogs,” writes Deb from My Boys Club in Our Coronavirus Summer of Hedgehog Love. “Seeing them nest, drink, feed and play in our and surrounding gardens have really made us enjoy their company on lockdown evenings” and she includes plenty of tips you can to try to help hedgehogs thrive too including leaving fresh water out for them to drink and putting holes in fences to allow them to roam freely.
Pack the PJs‘s Tracey had a hedgehog house waiting in her garden for a new resident to adopt it but when no one wandered by she became a fosterer for hedgehog rescuers Hettie’s Helpers instead and you can read about the stories of Sonic, Womble and Arya in Hedgehog Awareness Week: Our Fostering Story.
Whilst you’re waiting for one to include your garden in its evening explorations then your mini ones might want to get creative using its iconic shape as inspiration.
In What to do with Conkers for Kids Play, Charlotte of Team Stein “made some hedgehogs using the dough, spaghetti for the spikes and the conker for the hedgehog face” and suggests “You could use craft matchsticks for the spikes or like us we used some dry spaghetti. This activity is great for fine motor skills as they are using their little fingers to work the dough and then to poke the pasta in. You could extend play by making a small hedgehog home for your conker animal.”
Sarah from Craft Invaders had her kids “foraging for natural materials” for a craft which appropriately advises the wearing of gloves for one step descirbed in How to Make an Adorable Teasel Hedgehog. “These little teasel hedgehogs only take minutes to make, but we think they are super-cute, and make a lovely autumn craft,” she writes.
Wendy from Daisies & Pie also uses natural materials in her Hedgehog Craft for Kids. “Inexpensive as well as fun”, fallen autumn leaves are used to make the prickly pattern of the spikes and lollipop sticks added to the back to make them into puppets or to decorate plants.
For The Mini Mes and Me‘s Emma it’s pine cones that form the body of her creature creations. Adding air-drying clay and googly eyes, the best instruction in the method outlined in Pine Cone Hedgehogs is the final one – “Play!”
If your minis need a bit of a rest after all that crafting then why not sit down and share a suitably-themed book? The Happy Family Hub‘s Emma suggests one that “is a good example of a factual book that helps children think about the world around them” in Book Review: Roly the Hedgehog (and Friends). By Frances Rodgers and Ben Grisdale, the book is “primarily suited to age 2-6 year old children” and is part of the How can I help series which “aim to inspire children to help and nurture wildlife and teach them what they can do to help”.
We could all do with a little nuturing right now and whilst hugs with friends still can’t be physical perhaps you could send them a hedgehug instead with one of Chameleon and Co‘s Letterbox Pin Gift. Or you could just treat yourself or your mini ones and wear it to declare your love for the both furry and prickly ones that need a little helping paw right now.
Find out more about the awareness week at www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk/hedgehog-awareness-week-2021/