Mud and Mayhem 08/12/21
Today was our last session with year 1 and I must admit to be sad to not see them again until year 2. They have been super positive and always keen to try new adventures even when they might have been worried about what they had to do. On the other hand the weather is definitely turning with a gray wintery feel to the day so maybe they will be pleased.
We set off and as usual I got distracted by an idea from a child. They looked at some Ivy leaves and thought they would make pretty good glasses. I tried to make a pair. After a few wrong rips I had a pair I was very proud of, so proud in fact that I proceeded to wear them from that time on. After a game of ‘pigs in the bush’ we met the dene warden. It is nice to thank the people who help keep the wood usable. They had been very busy after the storm and as we got further into the dene we could see quite a few trees down. It was only after I tripped over some branches that I took off my cool ivy leaf glasses.
Last week some of the children said they wanted to do some more wood work. They learnt how to use a billhook to split wood and bow saw for cutting branches. We made some fantastic dog logs. They were very colourful.
Other children love playing ‘rope adventure’, off they went for a lot of slippy fun. Four children wanted to make a den. They have gotten very good at it. Their den had a fire and a very dangerous seat that everyone fell off. It was good to see that they wanted to use their den for hot chocolate time.
After a final goodbye to our wonderful dene it was a walk back through the puddles. This proved more mucky than usual with two mishaps. A kind man stopped and gave us some hand wipes that helped a lot.
Glitter and Cold 1/12/21
After the wind of the weekend we decided that it might be better to stay on site this week and give any hanging branches a week or so to come down in the dene before we venture back in.
It is so much easier to make things when we have all the equipment to hand so we set about creating some lovely Christmas decorations. The first thing to do was collect some pine cones. I knew there would be lots as we have a Scott’s pine near the Invention Shed. Sure enough we picked up a bucket load, and then because there were so many leaves and pine needles we borrowed Mr. Leiper’s wheel barrow and got a stack more. They make a great base for the Forest School area as they are spongey and soft. You can sit on them without a mat if they are dry.
Ms. Luke found the glitter and so went full snazzy with the decorations. They look fantastic and will make great tree garlands. I went off with a group to make another shelter, which we made just in time to get out of the rain. Then we decided to go on an explore about a bit. We found some freshly dug rabbit burrows. At first I thought they might be a fox’s set but after smelling them we decided they were not stinky enough. We found a very overgrown path that we followed until we needed a rope to climb back up. The rope climb proved so popular that we left it up and we had great fun playing with it.
The weather got colder as the session carried on. We were all grateful for a lovely hot chocolate and two biscuits to keep us going.
Next week we will be back to the dene. I should think that gloves, hat and a scarf are a must.
Oh I forgot to say that the pictures were taken by the children this week.
Twig Men 24/11/21
On the way to the changing room we always pass some Lavender, to my surprise it is still in bloom. This week we picked a bit ad smelt it. It has a very powerful smell. Just next to it are some herbs; mint, thyme, sage and a variety of mints. For those who wanted we had a sample of those. I liked the mint the best, some of the others tasted too strong. I think they would be better mixed into some cooking.
We stopped again to play the wolf game. The children are getting better at avoiding the nettles and I had some difficulty finding everyone. The area we play in has lots of holes that the children burrow into and if they are quiet it is almost impossible to see them. Fortunately, the game is very exciting to play so often I will hear the squeaks of the children even if I can’t see them.
When we got to the Forest School site we talked about how the mice come out at night to keep safe. They have to smell and feel their way around the wood to find their way. We used blindfolds to see if we could find the mystery path. This game is excellent for developing team work skills as well as helping the children identify different trees. We found that the oak has very rough bark whereas the beach tree is smooth.
After we had fun playing ‘find the path’ the children chose the activity that they wanted to do. Some wanted to make a den again, others chose to have a rope adventure. One group wanted to make some twig men. We started off by taking the bark of a twig. Then cutting it down to size. One child suggested putting arms on theirs so we found that we could drill a hole through and then get a tiny twig to poke through for an arm. The last thing we did was to decorate them.
Hot chocolate and a quite reflection rounded off another busy day in the dene.
Autumn Gold 17/11/21
With the colours now turning from a gold to a bronze the autumn leaves are looking fantastic. I don’t think they will be on the trees much longer as even as we were leaving the dene a sudden gust of wind caught the branches and made a mini leaf flurry. I recommend a walk down to see the dene now.
We played a new game on the way to the dene this week; the hungry wolf! The children hide amongst the bracken and must move as the wolf looks for their tea. We have some great pictures of it. I wonder if you can spot all the children hiding? Mrs. Luke walked right passed some of the children without seeing them! We only play this game when the weather turns colder as ticks like to lurk in the longer vegetation but with the cooling of the weather there shouldn’t be any about.
When we got to the Forest School site we made a quick shelter by lifting up a big tarp, putting it over the back of our heads and then sitting on the piece that we had a hold of. I love the enclosed feeling this gives and it is surprising how quickly it warms up under there. After talking about why we need shelter the children split into groups and made their own shelters. They are getting very good at rope wrapping and put up elaborate structures that they could hang a tarp over. They were so good that the children could sit in them and had a hot chocolate break in their own shelter.
After that some children wanted to play in their shelter, making leaf fires and special seats in them whilst others wanted to go on a rope adventure. For those who wished to I took a group to the big slope. We definitely needed a rope for this one. Everyone who wanted had a go, some more than one!
Of course we finished with some quite time watching the leaves drift down and listening to the sound of the stream running over the pebbles. How fabulous.
Autumn Celebration 10/11/21
Today was our first trip into the dene to visit our main Forest School area so it was the first time that the children had to pull the trolley along. They all took turns and helped each other. It is quite a task stopping the trolley from getting out of control but they managed it well.
There is so much to do and find on the way to the site. The first thing we discovered were that the berries of the ivy look just like frog’s eyes I don’t know who started the game of frog’s eyes first but somehow throwing the berries and shouting ‘frog’s eyes’ became a great game. I was surprised to see that wasps were still out on some of the ivy flowers so we had to watch for those ones. As we got further into the dene we saw how many leaves were on the ground. They were nice and dry so we collected them up into a HUGE pile. This made a great place to jump into.
You might see how it can take so long just to get to our Forest School site. When we got there we made some great leaf angels. The leaves were so wonderful we started to collect them and turn them into crowns and hats. Some children did not want to make crafts so they went off on a rope adventure whilst others chose to hang out in some hammocks that we put up.
What I liked was that the children were able to choose something that they wanted to do and then could pursue it until they wished to change. The sound of their laughter filled the woods and made everyone happy. What a treat to be able to have Forest School as good as this.
Sour Pears 03/11/21
What a privilege to take out such a keen group of adventurers.
Today I thought it would be nice to do some cooking. I was thinking of apples. Unfortunately, our school apple tree had nothing left and there were no windfalls that we could use either. Luckily Miss. Luke had a great idea of going to the community orchard and checking out that.
Off we set. The children were very sensible walking safely at all times. When we reached the orchard we set of exploring to see what we could find. Oh no! No apples in the orchard. What we did find were some very bitter crab apples and some tiny pears. We tried the crab apples and decided that there was no way we could eat those so we picked the pears.
From the edge of the orchard we could see a stream so we set off to explore. We spent a long time exploring the stream, climbing up the slopes and sliding down them. Everybody had a go which made me very proud. We could have stayed there for the whole session but decided to go back to see if we could cook the pears.
When we got back to the school we set about collecting some sticks so that we could use them to eat the pears. Miss. Luke started to cook the pears. I tried one and it was super sour. We cut them up smaller and mixed them into sugar to make a lovely toffee. They were still super sour but they were eatable. Every child had a little try and a few liked them but most thought the same as me and threw them away. Luckily we had hot chocolate and a ginger nut biscuit to help with the taste.
Next week we shall explore the dene.