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February 2017 Newsletter

Our 10 year anniversary  •  Competition - 10 amazing prizes  •  What's on?  •  Check out our new products

How Time Flies

"10 yrs ago February 2007, Muddy Faces outdoor resources website was launched. I took orders and packed boxes all from my attic room in a terrace house in Sheffield and a few weeks after the launch I discovered I was pregnant with my first son. Well, we have come a long way since then, not in distance, but in achievement. Below are a few of my personal highlights and challenges over the last 10 years. Many thanks indeed for all the support and encouragement over the years and I'm looking forward to the developments we have planned for the next couple of years."  Liz Edwards

The Muddy Faces Journey
 
2007: Launch of Muddy Faces outdoor resources website and the start of our continuing dedication to producing kits, guides and literature to help practitioners outdoors with a particular focus on Forest Schools, How to cards for using tools and lighting fires and Forest School Leader's guide for using knives with groups.

2008: Where possible we begin to source products produced in the UK.

2009: We produced our very popular den building leaflet. We also moved out of the attic room into a small warehouse.

2010: Son number two arrives and we start our Mud Campaign in collaboration with Jan White to encourage outdoor play and interaction with natural materials as a part of every child’s continuous provision in early years settings, particularly through mud play and mud kitchens. An idea was born - Jan wrote and I designed a booklet explaining a virtually cost free approach to setting this type of play up. We realised if we wanted the concept to become mainstream we needed to do more than just sell a few copies. I looked at how Muddy Faces could distribute it for free and with a bit of tightening the belt we produced 18,000 copies of the book and distributed 16,000 for free through early years conferences and training. We also made the book available as a free download on our website. It has had almost 20,000 down loads since 2012. As part of this campaign Muddy Faces continued to promote and celebrate International Mud Day on 29th June by adding further resources to our free mud pack.

2012: We start to produce our own wood products, handmade from materials sourced from sustainably managed woodlands in the UK. This has become an increasingly popular and expanding range. It's amazing to know that by choosing a UK grown wooden item you are supporting the viability and management of UK woodlands for future generations, whilst at the same time not depleting the world's resources by buying an imported plastic toy. It is a difficult process to achieve as every piece of our wood is lovingly cut by hand (not machine harvested), stored under cover, then turned into one of our products, by hand.

2014: We produced our first catalogue. Each year we aim to dedicate space in the catalogue to help support people to get outdoors and the organisations that support this aim.

2016: The results of our mud campaign are truly visible nationally and internationally. Most early years settings now have access to play with natural materials if not a mud kitchen. Books have been written to support this type of play and large commercial companies now have at least ten types of mud kitchens to choose from. Although buying an all singing mud kitchen veers away from the original concept of recycling and using children’s involvement in the design of the kitchen, it does show that the concept is now truly mainstream. Jan and I are extremely proud of what our campaign has achieved and very excited about the international response. The Making a Mud Kitchen book has been translated into several different languages including Welsh, Portuguese, Hungarian, German, Spanish and Italian. In Italy it was printed and given away free with an early years magazine.

2017: We introduced our water droplet guide to our catalogue and website to show at a glance how waterproof an item of clothing is.

Later in 2017 we will be launching our Outdoor Hub where you can come to find free activity downloads, find out what's on outdoors near you and nationally including training and festivals.

By creating a family friendly place to work, we have created a flexible, supportive business at Muddy Faces with the majority of our staff including myself working part-time with hours to suit their young families. This can bring its own problems, particularly in school holiday time, but it works. The working environment is happy, everyone is passionate about children, the quality of the products and maintaining an extremely high level of customer service.

Competition

To celebrate our 10 years anniversary we are giving away 10 amazing prizes.

You could win:
1. Our best seller - Class sized den building kit with x 10 den poles (MFK56 £172.78). Enough resources for the whole class to enjoy building dens.
2. Drill your own tag kit - Class sized (MFK216 £41.99). Kit includes 5 palm drills, 50 wooden discs, 5 sanding blocks and a ball of string all in a handy Muddy Faces bag.
3. Wizards Collection - Small Set (MFK315 £33.59). A starter set for budding wizards! Set includes potion bottles, a leather note book, small owl and a few other magical items, all kept in a black haversack.
4. Campfire Play Set (OPMUD07 £23.99). A role play campfire set with wooden tripod, cauldron, some utensils and logs.
5. Fire Steel and Striker - Large (MFT103 £20.39). One of our new easy hold and strike fire steel and striker.
6. Fox Soft Toy (KEY203 £19.19). A plush realistic soft toy fox. Size 40cm.
7. Number Markers 0-10 (MFW3003 £16.79). Made from natural wood these markers are ideal for laying a  trail.
8. Stainless Steel Sheath Knife (FSKNV42 £8.99). Available in blue, green, hi-vis, olive green and magenta.
9. Rhythm Sticks (OPWOO43 £5.99). A pair of natural wooden sticks with ribbons. Swirl them round or bang together to hear the wood sound.
10. Child Sized Palm Drill (FSWOO27 £4.99). A palm drill can be used one handed and this version is ideal for small hands.

Click to enter

National Nestbox Week
14th - 16th Feb
NNBW aims to encourage everyone to put up nest boxes in their local area in order to promote and enhance biodiversity and conservation of our breeding birds and wildlife.

World Thinking Day
22nd Feb
International day of friendship, speaking out on issues that affect girls and young women, and fundraising for 10 million Girl Guides and Girl Scouts around the world.

International Polar Bear Day
27th Feb
Every year, this global event draws attention to the challenges polar bears face in a warming Arctic - and how we each can help.

Fairtrade Fortnight
27th Feb - 12th Mar
Campaigners, businesses, schools and places of worship show their support for the farmers and workers who grow our food in developing countries.

Big Spawn Count
Spring
The days are getting noticeably longer, and the frogs and toads are taking their cue. Soon, ponds across the country will be a bubbling bath of croaking frogs.

Big Pond Dip
Spring - Summer
What's living in your pond? Do a mini health check, find out what is currently thriving under the surface and learn a bit more about what species you find.

Contact us:
Tel: 0114 221 9617
Fax: 0114 281 1455
orders@muddyfaces.co.uk
www.muddyfaces.co.uk

Muddyfaces - Farm View Works, 4a Sheffield Road, Hackenthorpe, Sheffield, S12 4LT

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