If you go down in the woods today….

During the Easter holidays myself and Kath took our little ones to “Bunny Woods” near Golcar, it was one of the first lovely sunny days we had and we decided to take out our forest gear.

We had a leisurely stroll up the hill, stopping to examinine bunny poo and avoiding getting stuck in the mud!

  
When we arrived we had a wander, let the children follow the stream and decide where we should set up a base. 

They chose a site with logs fallen nearby to sit at and we needed to cross the stream to get there. I noticed some exciting looking red fungus in the stream, when I got back identified it as ‘Scarlet Elf Cup’.

  
Lucas walked through the stream, but got a little stuck in the muddy patches, so he decided we needed to make a bridge. 

I offered to help him out with some of the larger logs he wanted to shift, and together, (under his direction), we created a lovely new walk way! When he was satisfied with his creation he decided to keep collecting large logs and dragging them over to our base to make a den. We worked together on this for a good length of time and he finished it by making a fire and putting up the cammo net. Both children kept coming back to the den and adding to it or playing in in throughout our time there.

   
 
In the meantime, Evie had found half a tennis ball during her explorations and worked with Kath to make her “mouse house”, complete with swimming pool and slide into it! She talked about it enthusiastically giving us details of how it worked.

  
Kath and I decided to erect a shelter, so we tied a line between two trees, (using clove hitch round a tree and Sammy snake…Timber hitch?!), then pegged down the back and used a couple of ropes with a taut line hitch to secure the front.

  
I needed to make some wood cookies for the forest session at school after Easter, so we found a suitable sycamore sapling, (growing too closely to the other trees to get anywhere) and together used the bow saw to cut through.

Kath and I both worked with the kids to use the bow saw, which they were totally thrilled about and worked really nicely. We used the hands through technique making sure they were on one knee and used my foot to steady to branch and supervise from above. The children were confident and understood to use “to me” commands really well, it was great to try this out with our own children, and they are so young, it really surprised us how competent they were and we could see it would be easier still with older children who have slightly more gross motor control. this is the first time we’ve used the Bow Saw with children and we practiced tool talks!

  
We had an Easter egg hunt, again quite spontaneous, I decided to make a trail to follow using sticks as arrows. The children delighted in following them around and up the hill to discover chocolate bunnies hidden in nests!

Then after packing up our camp and leaving no trace, we walked out of the woods and finished off by lying on the grass bank admiring the view and taking lead from the little ones who decided to lie down and look up at the sky…..we don’t do that anymore as grown ups! It was truly lovely and I got enough cookies made for my school sessions!

  
It was great to do a family session like this with Kath and practice using some of the skills in a safe environment, where we could feel free to make mistakes and remind one another of good practice. It got us both fired up and excited about running sessions in school after the holidays.

“Each new year is a surprise to us. we find that we had virtually forgotten the note of each bird, and when we hear it again, it is like a remembered dream, reminding us of a previous state of existence….The voice of nature is always encouraging.” – Henry David Thoreau

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