Our final week at Forest School and again we were treated to bright, sunny weather. A carpet of fungi created a magical world for us to explore on the woodland floor and the Little Friends had left us an abundance of natural materials to use for craft activities..
However, before we could begin the morning's activities we found that a challenge had been set for us. Inside a box, we found many items from the woodland that we had to identify. Fortunately, Elder Group were up to the challenge and successfully identified everything from the box-what super nature detectives they all are!
The children then set about creating something that they could take home with them as a reminder of their special time at Forest School.
Unfortunately, this beautiful swing will have to stay in the woods but I am sure our Little Friends will enjoy playing on it once we have gone back to school!
Some final clearance work was carried out on Prickle Lane before the children enjoyed toasting GIANT marshmallows over the fire. They were very gooey... and delicious! Thank you Catkin!
Bracken and Elder Group would like to say a huge, 'Thank you!' to all our parent volunteers who have come out every week to help us at Forest School. Without their support we really could not offer Forest School to all our children so a special thank you to:
Catkin (Katy Green)
Jennie Jay (Jennie Creasy)
Frosty (Donnella Frost)
and of course Robin (Ms Starkey) and Fox (Ms Green)
What a busy morning! This week we welcomed a new volunteer, 'Frosty', to Larch Camp and introduced her to some of the rules that we have made to keep us safe when we are in the woods. We had to search for the picture cards in the woods and then explain what rule the card was illustrating. Can you guess what rules these cards are reminding us of?
Bracken started a fire using the kindling wood that Zac and Henry had collected last week. Children helped to keep the fire going by adding more wood whilst some children went off in search of more kindling ready for another fire next week.
Carefully adding more kindling.
Collecting wood. Does it pass the 'snap' test?
Meanwhile some of the children were busy learning how to use a palm drill. This was used to drill holes into wooden discs to make Christmas decorations.
Another group of intrepid explorers were busy hacking through the undergrowth to make a secret pathway to their den. It was aptly named, 'Prickle Lane'!
After all that hard work it was time to toast the marshmallows over the fire and enjoy a well deserved snack.
Another beautiful, but very cold, autumn day in the woodland. We decided that it would be a good idea to learn how to start a fire. Fire training really tested the children's resilience -no matches allowed - as the children attempted to set the 'fairy blanket' (cotton wool) alight using a fire steel. The cotton wool was fluffed up to allow lots of air into our tinder and a blob of 'Dragon's Snot (Vaseline) was added to help get the fire going. It took a lot of perseverance to generate some sparks with the fire steel but we were very proud of ourselves when we eventually managed to light our 'fairy blankets'.
Zac, Henry and Catkin worked very hard to collect some kindling so that we can have a proper fire next week. Three different thicknesses were collected:matchstick, pencil and whiteboard pen thickness. They made sure it was dry by using the 'snap' test. We are going to make sure it stays dry until next week by storing it in the poly tunnel.
We are looking forward to having a fire next week.
I wonder if we will cook anything over it?!
Today Elder and Holly group had fun exploring the woodland together. We discovered lots of beautiful fungi. Some of them looked like magical fairy palaces!
We learnt that fungi are important in the woodland because they feed on dead plants and animals. They break them down and return valuable nutrients back to the soil. Some fungi are poisonous so we took care not to touch them.
We also found a very strange reindeer!
The Little Friends had left us a firework picture in celebration of Guy Fawkes night so some of the children made 'leaf bonfires' for them. The colourful autumn leaves look just like flickering flames.
Holly group showed us the nest that they had made for the Sneezy Dragon and we all shouted, "Get well soon!" to Foxglove. I wonder if she heard us?
We spent the rest of the morning playing in the mud kitchen, den building, constructing a new camp near the Troll Bridge and making bracelets and fairy wands.
We had lots of fun working together but we missed Foxglove and hope she will be feeling better soon.
Mad Hair Day BUT we didn't frighten the horse! We were excited to see a new pony in the field today but we impressed Bracken, and the landowner, with how quietly we walked through the field to the woodland.
Waiting for us on the Message Stump was a letter from the Little Friends together with some tree cookies and a pooter! Our Little Larch Friends explained that unfortunately the Sneezy Dragon had accidentally knocked everything over. They had tried to rebuild the den, and the village that we had made for them, but they needed our help with the repairs. In return for our help, they had left us some gifts; the pooters and tree cookies.
Tree cookies-what shall we do with them?
How to use a pooter!
Some of the children worked hard to rebuild the den and the Little Friends' village. Great team work and excellent advice from our 'Safety Officers'.
Planning how to make the den stronger.
Safety Officers watch & try out pneumatic drill!
Explaining the new design to Bracken.
Our wildlife expert went on a mini beast hunt and a telescope was used to watch out for the Sneezy Dragon.
Looking for mini beasts.
Have you seen the Sneezy Dragon?
The tree cookies were decorated to make: necklaces, hanging ornaments for our dens, and to warn the Sneezy Dragon that he was approaching the Little Friends' village.
Some intrepid explorers investigated the area near the Troll Bridge. They had great fun making their way through the undergrowth, balancing on logs and searching for any signs of the troll!
Is the troll at home?
Can you see me?
A magic charm to protect us.
Any sign of the troll?
We are looking forward to carrying on with our woodland adventures after the half term holiday.
This week we got ourselves tied up in knots as we investigated the relationships between all the living things in the woodland! We thought about the plants, and the animals that depend on them as food or as somewhere to live. We then considered the predators that may feed on those animals. We created our very own tangled web of life to show how all the living things in the woodland are connected and depend on one another, just as we all depend on one another in our school community.
After disentangling ourselves we played a game of Predators and Prey. One team was made up of the tracking predators and the other team had to hide as the prey. It was important that the prey kept very still and silent to avoid capture by the predators. Some prey did manage to escape discovery so there were a few hungry predators roaming around! The children all swapped roles before we discussed the special features that predators and prey have developed in order to survive. We also considered other methods, such as setting traps, that some predators use to catch their prey and several children had a go at making a spider's web (or dream catcher) using the twig circles that had been left for us on the Message Stump this week.
Luckily none of the predators, or prey, went hungry for long as a snack was provided to revive us before we all set to work. Some children continued to work on the Little Friends' village whilst others were very busy constructing their own dens.
The autumn sun shone brightly again for us as we practised our listening skills, sitting very quietly, in our own special 'Silent Spots'.
When we played Vanish, we were able to keep so still and quiet that Bracken couldn't find us! Eventually she had to call, '1,2,3, where are you?' to bring us all back to Base Camp.
The Little Friends had left us a book called, 'Not a Stick', and this inspired us to be very creative and make lots of things out of sticks. We attempted to learn a new knot so that we could lash our sticks together. This was very hard but we kept trying.
We used the A frames that we were able to lash together to make buildings for a village for our Little Friends. This contained a castle (with a dungeon!), a school and a play area with a swing. We all worked together on this project and are looking forward to adding to the village next week.
22nd September 2016
Last week many of the children made magic wands and cast spells to bring us sunny weather. Their spells certainly worked and we all enjoyed the autumn sunshine today!
During our last session the children were all very good at using their eyes to discover the treasures of the woodland. This week we were therefore surprised to find blindfolds on the Message Stump. We decided that the Little Friends wanted us to explore the woodland using our other senses.
With a partner we took it in turns to be blindfolded. The other person acted as a guide and led us carefully to a tree by giving us clear instructions to make sure we avoided any obstacles! We explored the tree using our senses of touch and smell. Our guide then led us back to the starting point and removed our blindfolds. We then had to try and find our special tree!
After this game we set about exploring the woodland using our sense of smell. We made some special 'smelly cocktails' for our Little Friends and decorated them beautifully.
Some of us then made dens and things out of clay for our Little Friends' village.
Just before it was time to return to school we practised our listening skills by playing a game of bat and moth. Bats use echo location to find their prey and we mimicked this in our game. Our 'bat' was blindfolded and had to hunt for the 'moth' by listening closely to the echoes it sent back. The surrounding 'trees' ensured the bat didn't fly too far away!
16th September 2016
Elder group (Year 2) showed that despite the rain, it was still possible to have fun in the woods.
The children took part in a treasure hunt to search for signs of autumn as they explored their new woodland area.
Can you spot the treasure?
A naughty jay, who had stolen all of the acorns that a squirrel had collected, was spied next to a large oak tree. Luckily the jay had fallen asleep so the children quietly crept up and stole the acorns back again for the squirrel! Some of the children then took part in a special challenge and imagined that they were squirrels, searching for acorns in preparation for winter. In order to survive the winter the children had to collect enough acorns to fill their beaker.
Luckily, this squirrel has found enough acorns!
After a quick snack there was just time for the children to create acorn jewellery, bows and arrows, play in the mud kitchen, make wizard and fairy wands and try their hand at hypnotising one another!
Deep in concentration.
A bow & arrow for the' Little Friends'.
A hypnotising wand!
A wizard's wand.