How to build a den in six easy steps

Den building at an RSPB nature reserve. Picture: Helen Pugh Photography

Den building at an RSPB nature reserve. Picture: Helen Pugh Photography - Credit: © Helen Pugh Photography

Want to get the kids outside this Easter? Here's how.

How to build the perfect den

1. Find a suitable spot, ideally where the entrance can face south to get as much sunlight and warmth as possible.

2. Look for a structure to get you started. A good den needs good foundations. In a wood, this might be a tree with a low branch which you can use to wedge in a roof support. In your back garden, it might be the back of the shed.

3. Collect large branches and sticks to build a frame. If your garden doesn't have any suitable wood for poles, use bamboo canes.

4. Prop these up against the tree or shed creating the basis of a structure that you can sit, stand, move or lie in. Make sure they're close together so your den has strong walls.

5. Use leaves, ferns and moss for your roof, but remember that these are also the habitats for small creatures. A tarpaulin, old sheet or blanket will also work well.

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6. Your den is complete. Decide whether it's a dragon's lair or a castle today and add decorations to suit.

The RSPB is running fun activities to unleash the wild thing within everyone this Easter - try building a giant nest, searching for signs of spring, grabbing a net to discover wild things that lurk beneath the surfaces of otherworldly ponds, and looking out for wild things that creep, crawl, flap and slither on land.

Den-building is a great way to be creative.

The act of creating a temporary home out of natural materials provides hours of fun: scavenging for suitable materials; sorting the mainframe sticks; filling its frame in with smaller twigs; and topping the whole thing off with leaves.

Even if you don't have these materials in your garden, you'll be amazed at what you can still accomplish with a bit of imagination, a washing line, a couple of old sheets and a few bamboo canes.

For more information on Wild Things at Easter visit