As deputy ed Emma recently blogged, there’s lots of fun working on our two magazines for primary-age RSPB members.  

Wild Times (for kids up to 7) and Wild Explorer (8-11 ish) are packed full of fun ways to engage kids with nature; whether it’s making bird-seed cakes, dens in the woods or torch-on-a-bedsheet moth lures. Then we work in lots of nature know-how and wild challenges for older kids, and colouring, cutting and sticking for younger ones. (Trust me as a mum of two kids under 7 – it’s all about the cutting and sticking). 

Our pages are packed with things to do (whether indoors or outdoors), including puzzles, things to make and outdoor challenges. But it’s not just the pages that entice their little souls into a wild world of amazing wildlife…

We even cram extra activities onto our address carrier sheets! 

The mags are sent out to each young member with a cover sheet, laser-printed with the address. That’s a whole extra sheet of paper, right there, ready to be packed with two more sides of nature fun.

This week, we’ve finished off the first-version proofs of the September-October issues, and the team at RSPB Sandy are having a look to see which bits might need amending. Meanwhile, Emma and I turned our attention to the address carrier.

I recall making little origami fortune-tellers in my schooldays – they were easy and lots of fun. So back when we planned this issue with Jack, we came up with the idea of creating one with a wildlife design – probably marine, to tie in with the issue’s theme. Jack proposed doing a basking shark (I’ve seen them close-up in Cornwall, they’re huge, harmless and awesome!). And then we developed the idea into a two-person activity by lifting the origami flaps. 

On Tuesday this week, we grabbed some squares of paper and started bringing the idea to life. 

Computer-generated prototypes… it took a few goes to get the inside of the mouth right. Basking sharks are plankton-eating filter feeders. 

 Then our designer Nicole created the origami design template and added it to the address carrier layout. 

We printed out the entire address carrier design, cut out the shark and folded it.... Success!

Yup, that works!

Following the fortune-teller idea, we added the names of different animals to the underside of the flaps in the shark's mouth, with the idea that you would have to do an impression of the animal you landed on. Of course we had to test these, too – I particularly enjoyed pretending to be a hungry chick in my office chair! The things we end up doing in the line of duty...

And here's the finished activity – an early proof.

I have a captive audience here at home to test ideas on, so this weekend I'll be testing it out on my young ones! There may yet be a few tweaks to make, but come next issue we hope our young members enjoy making, and playing with, this extra bit of fun bundled into the mag.