Our final session in the wood today. We started the session by reflecting on what we had achieved during our time in the woods and tried to represent this in some way.
Can you work out what the children found most valuable about their time in the woods?
In addition to working together, the children have also enjoyed developing their practical skills: using tools, fire lighting, construction activities and much more.
The children are hoping to return to the woods in the summer term with their buddies from Class 1. I wonder if they will enjoy the swing as much as these big kids?!
Another busy morning in the woods. It is noticeable how much more confident the children are about tackling different projects. Just look at the range of activities carried out today. Great teamwork on display as well as individual initiative, problem solving and resilience.
Woodland furniture construction
Sawing logs to size.
Tripod lashing the chestnut poles together.
Is it stable?
Square lashing further poles creates a chair.
Building a 'Standing Swing'.
Great knot work and problem solving.
Drilling elder to make the body, arms and legs.
A tree cookie for the head - great idea!
Clearing, cutting and construction to create secret hideaways!
The wood chip crew!
Helping everyone today - 'Thank you!'
Lashings for Lanterns
Tripod lashing mastered!
Completed lantern frame. Well done!
Clearing logs and leaf litter from the ditch.
We now have running water on site!
and on the menu this lunch time ...
The 'Camp Fire Queen' made a perfect fire for ...
This week the group spent most of their time extending and enhancing their dens.
Tree cookies were made to decorate the dens and next week the children are planning to construct lanterns and furniture to further improve on the comfort of their woodland homes!
This week's culinary delights included baked bananas with chocolate chips and fruity, cinnamon infused baked apples. Very tasty!
Another cold and frosty day so Willow group were very grateful to be greeted by the smell of wood smoke as they entered the woods!
The first task for each team today was to identify the bundle of twigs that had been left for them and consider why it was helpful to be able to identify different trees; not an easy task when there were no leaves to help in the identification process!
Luckily, the children were all able to identify hazel - a non-toxic wood that is easy to carve - so they could practise their knife skills to create toasting forks!
Meanwhile, some of the children were busy moving wood chips to help maintain the paths through the wood. They did a great job and it proved to be an excellent way of keeping warm, as did sawing logs to size for the den.
Giant marsh mallows were the reward for all this hard work. Some were toasted to golden perfection whilst others were ... burnt to a blackened, charcoal shell!
Many thanks to Dog Rose (AKA Debbie Roffe) for supplying the marsh mallows this week. Next week we are going to bake bananas, or apples, in the embers of the fire. Remember to bring your foil wrapped fruit!
Our first ever Forest School session in the snow!
We kept warm by keeping busy: collecting fuel for the fire, building shelters, sawing wood, drilling holes with palm drills, brewing up with Kelly Kettles to keep us all well supplied with hot chocolate and eating cake to help celebrate somebody's special birthday!
Den & shelter building
Learning to use tools
Practising the bow saw safety talk.
Thinking about how to use the saw safely.
Using a palm drill to make holes in tree cookies.
Happy Birthday Foxglove!
It was a cold and frosty morning so the challenge set for today was …survival!
To do this, the groups would have to work well in teams to help put tarps up and gather tinder and fuel for the fire. Therefore, their first task was to develop their problem solving and communication skills.
Sticks had been placed on the ground in the shape of wine glasses. Each wine glass contained a trapped mini beast - shown by the yellow circle! Each team had to recreate the wine glass without the mini beast in it! To complete the challenge, they were only allowed to move two sticks. The remaining sticks and the fly were not allowed to move. Can you solve this challenge? Remember, you only have two moves!
Their next task was to work together to navigate balls around a tarpaulin for as long as possible without the balls falling off -this was harder than than they thought it would be!
Once the children had started to listen to one another and work cooperatively, they were introduced to 2 new knots, a timber hitch and a quick release tension knot, that would help them erect their tarp shelters efficiently. However, the knots were only taught to a couple of people from each team - they then had to return to their groups and teach the skill to the rest of their team!
A successful timber hitch.
On mastering these knots, each team was set the challenge of erecting a tarpaulin shelter and collecting sufficient wood for our camp fire so that we could all enjoy s'mores at the end of the session. After all, survival depends on shelter, warmth and FOOD!
Each team succeeded in creating a shelter. Which one would you choose to stay in?
Forest School was a little unusual this week as it took place indoors. With the children due in church for the Nativity Service straight after lunch we decided it might be better to keep them clean and dry and not smelling of bonfire! It was also slightly easier to make woodland crafts when everybody had tables and chairs to work at. Natural materials were provided for the children to use in any way they wanted whilst a few more knots were introduced to help the children develop their skill set. They also learnt how to use secateurs safely.
Here are just a few of the creations from their morning of festive fun.
Soak wool roving in water.
Rub between fingers.
Shape into acorns.
Glue into acorn cups.
Great for fine motor skills!
Attach to a willow circle to make a decoration.
Ready to guide the sleigh with a red, shiny nose
Can you see what has been used to make Rudolph?
Pompon making using a fork.
Willow wonders & cone creations.
Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Bracken & Foxglove.
This week started with all of the group being introduced to a new skill - tripod lashing. A tripod can help create very stable structures and can be put to many different uses e.g it can be used to create a den, a seat or even animal sculptures which are strong enough to sit on and ride! Some of the girls demonstrated true problem solving and resilience as they worked together to create their structure. You will have to check out this page over the coming weeks to see what it is finally going to become!
Some of the boys adapted the tripod lashing to create their own special knots that they used for their den building project.
Different types of knots were used by these children as they explored their creativity to make some beautiful hanging Christmas decorations from tree cookies.
Other children were keen to practise their fire lighting skills and used fire steels to make miniature 'fairy fires'whilst some helpfully gathered fuel for our camp fire. Under the expert guidance of Catkin, a few children also learnt how to use a Kelly Kettle to boil water for our hot chocolate.
You may be wondering who is going to eat the soup that is gently simmering over the fire and those sizzling sausages? Well, Foxglove and I wanted to thank our wonderful adult volunteers who help us run Forest School so we treated them to lunch in the woods! While we were busy cooking they had a go at some of the crafts we are hoping to introduce to the children next week. Luckily, they survived our camp fire cooking and we had a lovely afternoon in the woods together. On behalf of everybody we would like to say a huge thank you again to our volunteers who help at our Forest School sessions - we really are all very grateful for everything you do.
Willow group were excited to be back at Degg's Wood again - this time based in Larch Camp with Bracken. After a team challenge game, involving a tangled web of ribbons, the group set off to explore their new environment.
Once the children had got their bearings, they were given the task of creating a map of their new site - but without using any paper or pens! They then had to hide some 'treasure' in the woodland and mark its position on the map so that another group would be able to find it. Unfortunately the children were keen to make their treasure as difficult as possible to find rather than demonstrate their map making expertise! The task proved exhausting for some!
The dappled sunlight through the coppice today was a joy to behold as was the enthusiasm of self-titled Willow Group.
Today we explored the extent of the woodland, collaborated to set our own boundaries, agreed on various fire-circle agreements and played games. We then had an opportunity to create a picture, symbol, sculpture or word that would symbolise our hopes and dreams.