At My Own Den it goes without saying, that we are huge fans of dens. When we learnt about Save the Children’s Den Day we knew we had to play our part and held a Family Den Party to raise money. This is how it happened, the lessons we learnt and of course, what we raised.
How Our Save the Children Den Day Happened
Save the Children Den Day is about raising money by building dens. Children are encouraged to build dens at home or in school and get sponsorship by doing so. We struggled to see how that formula would work for My Own Den and decided to host a den building party.
Good idea but where to hold it? I had envisioned a party in woods with children making dens from branches, sticks and moss etc. After exploring options with suitable venues it became clear for a number of reasons, that they would not work; it was then I looked out of the window and thought we’ll have the party here.
My husband Mike, is a laid back character who even when ruffled does his best to hide it. When I mentioned I’d got a venue for the party he flinched slightly (but noticeably) that it was our garden. Worried that I would change my mind, I quickly formally launched the event and sent out invitations before I lost my nerve.
We are lucky to have a garden large enough to host a big party. We borrowed gazebos, urns, cups and tables. We begged friends (and strangers) to help and began planning in earnest. For two weeks I went to bed worrying and woke up fretting. I swung between panicking that no-one would come or that we’d be inundated and couldn’t cope. I have never studied the weather forecast with such intensity since our wedding (outdoors in another garden). Our local Waitrose were generous and gave us a substantial discount on food and drink for the party.
Everything was in place with one exception. We were short of den building materials. I was starting to panic as local supermarkets and recycling centres couldn’t help with cardboard. We were saved by our local garden centre Scotsdales. They were so kind and helpful, they offered me whatever boxes they had (which was a lot), helped me load and pack the car and offered help in the future with even bigger boxes. I arrived home with a car packed full of boxes and the stage was set for a party.
Together with the cardboard we got together the following materials:
- Masking Tape
- Old net curtains- these were great as the drape beautifully
- Used wrapping paper
- Rolls of ribbons
- Throws, blankets and old bits of material.
- Colouring pens and pencils
What we learnt
- Neither kids nor adults, need much prompting to start building dens.
You need to make it easy for people to spend/give money. People come along expecting to spend money so you need to come up with ways to make them part with the cash.
- Don’t ask everybody to bring cakes- we did and and had too many although they all got eaten and sold eventually.
- Don’t underestimate the power of sweets! We ran a simple stall with sweet lollies and we could have run it 4 times over, children just kept coming back for more.
- People like a nice cup of tea and a piece of cake in a garden- a much better seller than our burgers and sausages.
- Supermarkets no longer have deliveries in boxes, it’s all delivered in plastic reusable trays.
- We’d do it again! It was a lovely afternoon which we all enjoyed and will do the same next year.
What We Raised
In total the day raised just over £500 via the sales of food and drinks and charging a small entrance fee for the den making competition.
One of our guests agreed to judge the dens and to pick a winner who won a den making kit. We think it’s fair to say that she was pretty pleased with her prize and put it up in the rain!
Thanks to everyone who came and contributed to making it such a fun and worthwhile afternoon.
Happy Den Building.
PS Head over to our Facebook Page for more photos of the party.