CREATIVE pupils transformed an outdoor area into a magical learning environment — without spending a penny.

The youngsters at Eagley Infant School took part a special week in which they experienced the great outdoors and let their imaginations go wild to bring to life an "outside classroom".

But because the budget had been used to create pathways, staff, children, governors and friends of the school had to come up with cost-free ideas to decorate the outdoor facility. A call was put out for materials such as old shelves, bottle tops and anything else that could be used to inspire the children to create a wonderful area.

Lynn Clarkson, higher level teaching assistant, said: "The children made a beautiful butterfly sculpture with bottle tops, and a rabbit through willow weaving.

"We also made birds from used milk cartons, peg doll fairies, a huge sun made from strips of fabric woven around willow branches and flower from the bottom of plastic bottles."

Children painted bees, butterflies, ladybirds and flowers on hundreds of large stones which will be set in to concrete to make a path next to the wildflower area and will be called Pollination Walk.

Youngsters also made signs directing people to different areas including the Enchanted Wood.

Mrs Clarkson said: "Our headteacher's husband has been busy making fairy houses for our enchanted wood and one of our governors, Mrs Ritherdon, spent the whole week in school helping to create some of the artwork.

"The junior school got involved with a teacher helping children with willow weaving. It has been a real team effort.

"We also took the opportunity to use our measuring skills to plant a lavender border and a box hedge border.

"We worked out how far apart the plants should go and measured the space between them accurately. The children have also written signs for each area practising their writing skills. The children did really well."

Izzy Daniels, aged seven, said: "I went to a School Council meeting to help think of some ideas. I am looking forward to playing with the fairy houses in the enchanted wood."

Elliot Robertson, aged six, added: "I really liked helping to make the butterfly. Our outdoor classroom is really good now. I can't wait to play with the willow tents in the small world tyres."