IMG_7828What a glorious day for forest school, and having missed last week (me not the children) it was so nice to see how alive the forest was becoming with the warmer weather.  It was a packed forest school session today and all three of my gang loved every minute.  We started off with some pond dipping, and our little lady found several different specimens with her dip, including a large water snail.  The pond was beginning to come alive too with the warm and sunny weather.  There were laminated reference sheets to use in order to work out what was swimming in your trays once you had emptied your nets.  A great variety was caught and everyone enjoyed trying to work out what was what.

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During the time various groups were swapping in and out of pond dipping (in order to prevent any shoving and pushing into the pond from too many clustered there), there was a simple but very effective craft activity.  My little lady loved this so much (as did the boys, but she loves anything pretty).  You slide one bead down a pipe cleaner into the centre, and again with a second pipe cleaner.  Then bend them over in the middle and twist a few times.  Then grab some wing shaped laminated plastic, with glitter in it, and put those in before twisting the rest of the length of pipe cleaner. Et voila, you have a lovely dragon fly.  Simple, very effective, and a crowd pleaser.

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IMG_7831Once our wildlife was returned into the pond, we pottered off into the woods to do the second half of the forest school morning.  We painted material with light sensitive paints.  Then went on a hunt for leaves to place onto the material while it was damp.  We lightly pressed them on, then put them into the sunshine to dry.  The results were lovely, others were better than ours and more effective, but we are hoping to do this activity again as it was such a lovely idea.

 

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While the paint dried we went into a clearing and did a mini beast activity that I, and the children, had never tried.  We each waved a net around over the ground and grasses trying to catch mini beasts in it, and then transferred them to pots.  We caught a few flies and unidentifiable creatures, but apparently when this is done more towards the summer you can catch grasshoppers, crickets, and similar things very easily.  I was amazed at how a small child waving a net around randomly could produce such a result of interesting things to look at.  It did nearly turn into a pirate sword fighting session on several occasions, but we did manage to keep on task with a few firm words!

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We then returned to our leaf paintings and peeled off the leaves to see the results.  The ferns worked best for us, as the other leaves left more of a blob shape, but I’m not sure we left them in a sunny enough place either.  However, the trio were quite happy with their work and I’d love to try this again with them.

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Whilst we were oooohhhhing and aaaahhhhing over the children’s handiwork, and everyone else’s results, the fire was lit for the delicacy of the morning…toasted marshmallows squashed between 2 chocolate digestive biscuits….no complaints about that, which resulted in three silent children for the time it took to munch through them in bliss 🙂  The morning was fantastic fun, as always, but we did seem to do an enormous amount today at forest school without feeling rushed or dashed.  I am going to finish with 2 funny tales of the day.

Dadda was away in Norway yesterday, and when the children got up this morning there was great excitement.  He coaxed them into getting dressed by announcing he had a surprise downstairs for them on the kitchen table.  Twin no.1 turned around and said………is it summer???!!!!!

The second tale, that I was blissfully unaware was taking place at the time, or I might just never have turned up to forest school again!!  Luckily a fellow mum covered the twins antics, and found much amusement and hilarity in it, seeing the funny side, not the judgemental side!!  Twin 2 apparently decided he was desperate for the loo while I was caught up with the little lady.  Instead of seeking out a bush he dropped his trousers and proudly performed……not missing an opportunity for water play, twin 1 started putting various leaves into the stream of water to see how it affected it….thank goodness this mummy; 1.  stood in front of them to hide their antics, 2. has a sense of humour, and 3. I get on very well with her…it might have been the end of our forest school career otherwise!!

Forest school, pond dipping, mini beast hunting, sun developing paint www.mammasschool.co.uk