A Little Forest School Life
As another autumn grows and our woodland treasure box fills with acorns, cob nuts and prickly conker cases, we’ve already buried each other in fallen leaf piles and strung up colourful garlands in many random places (keep an eye out for some if you walk in the woods near here!).
Branch prunings and fallen leaves have become story dens and leaf art and blackberries have been face dye and flag paints.
So many of the games and activities we all play with our families and friends come from experiences we had growing up ourselves and yet others are borrowed, adapted or inspired from things we see and people we meet. Most everyone with children will by now have heard of Forest School and hopefully will have come across it in one form or another. In essence, it ties in all our love of playing outside, confidence building, taking risks, building on skills and learning about nature. Perfect!
Unfortunately, Ramona’s school doesn’t yet have a Forest School programme nor does Eomer’s nursery, yet it’s what I am lucky enough to have as a job 4 days a week. Needless to say, much of what we get up to on weekends and holidays can be classed as forest school type activities. If you haven’t yet found a Forest School group near you then have a look at some of the things we’ve managed to make close to us as there really are so many attainable and exciting games, skills and woodland experiences to be had at home, in the garden and in any group of trees, no matter how small! We’ve tackled nettle string, learnt how to use a Kelly kettle, practised our hand drilling, made tree guardians, grass seed heads and spiders, all playing outside whatever the weather.
Simply getting outside, exploring those sensory skills – and taking some away to be more aware of others (e.g. blindfolding), playing games, making stuff from things that you find, practising finding new things and looking a little closer at all around you – all of these are fundamental Forest School elements, all hugely achievable and, of course, fun.
Bring in stories, songs and generally lots of shouting and laughter and the options are endless! Happy playing outside… I’d love to hear your Forest School experiences and favourite activities
About the Author
About Me & Mine
Having lived in N. Devon for the last 12 years, we recently moved across to the other side of the world and now live in New Zealand on the North Island. Our adventurous family includes my husband Phil and 2 small cheeky children: Ramona 8½ and Eomer 5½. I have a wonderful day job as Lead teacher in the sensory unit of an SEN school and spend as much time as possible outside, exploring nature and environments both on our doorstep and further afield.
Favourite place in the world:
Hmm, that's really tough! I loved the west coast forests of British Columbia in Canada, such a humbling, incredible place - tall trees right down to the big ocean waves. There's a whole lot of other places I'd love to explore though...moving to New Zealand has opened up a whole world of new adventures and we’re slowly finding new favourites to add to the list.
Sea, mountains and forests in any combination please!
Favourite things to do outdoors:
Again, lots of favourites. Definitely a mix between walking, cycling, surfing, camping and exploring, combined with taking time to notice detail of a place, hear the sounds and absorb the changes over time and seasons. Active and quiet times are both invigorating for different reasons.