First taste of forest school
Last week we went to Skylarks Forest School, which takes place in a private wood in the Lyme Park estate in Disley, Stockport. It was a very sunny day, and I was worried we would get a bit hot and bothered – especially as I had baby Rosa in a sling. But the shade of the trees was the perfect place to keep cool.
It was a brilliant session and Charlie loved it. He got involved with all the games and activities, made a new friend and keeps talking about his ‘new school’. He’s going to be really disappointed when he starts reception and realises it’s not like forest school!
The session took place over four hours and was led by two teachers. It was very relaxed and although the emphasis was on child-led play and exploration, they had a number of activities to try out. Some of these ideas are below.
Bake a cake in a mud kitchen
An old favourite, mud kitchens are easy to set up in your own garden with some old pots and pans. If you’re worried about using the dirt straight from your garden (we have a few cats who like to use our garden as a toilet!) you can buy a bag of soil to use instead. As well as making a mud kitchen, you could also get some old sheets or pieces of paper and use the mud to paint with.
Print with plants
The natural dyes in plants are perfect for creating art. Start by collecting leaves and flowers when out on a walk or from your garden. Once home, get a piece of cloth and lay down what you’ve collected on one half of the material. Fold the material in half and using a large stone or heavy object, bang the folded material so you can see the dye from the plants bleed out. Once you’ve put pressure all over the folded material, unfold it and remove the plants. You’ll be left with a beautiful, symmetrical pattern.
Play with tools
Before the forest school session, I wouldn’t have let Charlie near tools – let alone actively encourage him to play with them! But they had an area with hammers, mallets and nails for the children to try out. To my surprise, he was actually really careful using them. It was great to see his concentration as he challenged himself to get the nails into the boxes and pieces of wood. One of the teachers leading the session also let him cut some sticks which were being used to make a gate. He was very proud of himself for being able to do this!
Have you been to a forest school? I’d love to hear about your experience – tweet me!
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