It was dry……relief for more than one reason…I’d left all four coats at home and my waterproof trousers…how did that happen then??!!! Harassed Mum that’s how! When we got there it was very breezy with lower than normal for this time of year temperatures, oh great. Having driven 45 minutes to get there, popping back home was not an option. A fellow mum scrabbled around in her car and produced one spare coat which mini man number 1 was more than happy to wear (but then he does love a princess fancy dress outfit too!). I then had a bright idea (they don’t come along very often), that the country park might have some sort of lost property. This sent our little lady into a blind panic, as apparently all lost property stinks…not sure what bad experience she had at school involving lost property, but I’m guessing the bin was full of stinking PE kit! Anyway, they did, and she had a very cosy coat to wear, and there was a coat for little man number 2 as well. However, he was having none of it, he would rather freeze, and announced he wished I’d brought his own coat…well deeerrrrr, so did I wish that too!! I was lucky enough to wear a spare adult staff coat. Phew, all sorted, we wouldn’t end up with hypothermia (well at least 3 of us as number 4 was adamant he wasn’t going to wear the lovely bright red coat). It was going to be a great session too, learning a new skill – kelly kettles.
The morning was split into 2 halves. The first half the children could choose what they wanted to do from a range of activities: Making music and then listening to it through wood, doing an obstacle course, making pine cone hedgehogs, making a pine cone mobile, or the mud kitchen. Eldest mini man started out with the obstacle course, before going over to the mud kitchen area, and then finally making a mouse rather than a hedgehog. The younger mini man started with the music, meeting his twin at the mud kitchen, then finally deciding, after tripping over on the obstacle course, he too wanted to make a mouse. Our little lady sat herself down with a cluster of pine cones, feathers, clay, and string, and past a very fast hour making the mobile (we then had to collect the resources to make the hedgehog at home as she wanted to do both).
The second half of the session was then spent learning and using the kelly kettles. The kelly kettles have a base which it stands on. In that base you build a mini fire (ours was dry sticks, bit of cotton wool, and some newspaper, lit with a fire steel). The kelly kettles have a chimney through the middle and then a double layer around the outside, inside which sits the water to be heated. The chimney helps to heat the water up quicker. Wind and rain tend not to interfere as the design prevents this happening. We lit the fire and heated the water (ours took quite a bit longer than the few minutes) to make a round of hot chocolates (which we added mini marshmallows to), and then whilst drinking that, the children peeled their hazel twigs to toast larger marshmallows over the remaining burning fire in the base.
2 weeks ago our little lady was terrified of the fire, and today she was lying on her tummy on the muddy forest fire, blowing into the kelly kettles air hole to rev the fire up. A far cry from her old Friday mornings sat at a desk, and seemingly leaving her anxiety about fire behind, by getting up close and personal with it. She loved having that role. After we finished forest school and while eating our picnic, we got out our National Trust Explorer books, and filled out cooking on a camp fire (well kind of, and more was done by them, than had it been a full blown fire) and creating some wild art. Both of which they had all done previously, but when we got the books the deal was we would start the 50 things again from scratch.
After a play in the park (curtailed by a hail storm and not having our coats), we headed home to plant the much needed spring upgrades into the garden. We also crossed off another RSPB task, by brightening up an outside space. In this case it was a garden fence that was bland…we added a butterfly made out of recycled plastic. Three exhausted, accomplished, and happy children fell into bed tonight having enjoyed their day.