Adventures in Nature
Connecting with Nature #6: Swallows and Amazons Forever!
26th August 2016

20160716_170437As children we would dream of having adventures like the Swallows and Amazons:  when their summer holidays came round the Walker children would spend it camping on an island in the middle of a lake. With no adults on hand and just the cavalier parental advice that ‘if not duffers, won’t drown’, they spend their holidays having adventures in boats and sleeping under the stars. (more…)

Connecting with Nature #5; Respect Your Elders
21st June 2016

You’ve got to respect the Elder tree; vitamin-rich berries, gnarly climbable branches and brittle sticks of kindling that will get the fire going – it’s the tree that keeps on giving throughout the year, but its at its finest right now in June with its white froth of perfumed blossom filling up the hedgerows.   020 It was once believed to be the most magical of plants with the power to ward off evil, so its often to be found at gates and entrance ways.  Growing in hedgerows and wastelands we’re never far from an elder tree, which is handy as there are plenty of ideas for forest schools and anyone looking to get creative outdoors. (more…)

Connecting with nature #4: Flexible spring!
30th April 2016

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We’ve been bending over backwards to try out new ideas with flexible materials this April.  Spring hasn’t quite sprung for us here yet (still snowing at the end of April!) but a plentiful supply of willow rods and bramble stems has provided a flexible resource that keeps on giving.

2016-03-30 11.51.01At end of March my Dad presented me with 2 buckets full of fresh willow he had chopped back from his hedge.  Taking this to our Easter holiday forest schools the children soon got to work experimenting and making.  The flexibility of willow meant some got snapped up for making bows and arrows, although we don’t think its as good as hazel for strength under fire. The bendiness lends itself well to some creative ideas though, and forest school practitioner Ruth McBain showed us an owl she’d made by tying up curved shapes with wool.  A few forest school-ers soon wanted to make one too. (more…)

Connecting with Nature #3 Muddy March
22nd March 2016

Are there two sorts of children; those that love the mud and those that don’t? In my forest school work I see both preferences on a regular basis but think that perhaps there are only those that love it and those that don’t love it – yet. In March, there are small signs that spring is on its way but mainly it’s a grey month of waiting for the world to turn green again. After winter rains and heavy feet crossing waterlogged ground, mud is one of the resources in plentiful supply and one packed with possibilities for creative play. (more…)

Connecting with Nature #2 February
9th February 2016

forest school ideas Come February and the half term break we may be yearning for the spring and to get outdoors, but the weather often has other ideas.  I have grown to dislike the oft-quoted saying: “There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes,” as even the best dressed individual can soon get fed up when the rain is lashing down sideways for hours on end, as it has done this winter.  Through working with large groups of forest school children in pouring rain or bitter cold, we have learnt a few things about having a positive experience outdoors even in the most challenging weather. (more…)