With the first signs of spring peeping through, and the first Friday we have had since we started Forest School in January that hasn’t been wet and windy, we returned to the woods after the half term break. The boys as usual were very excited to be back (mainly for the marshmallows which they announced they were hungry for at school drop off!). We wrapped up against a very crisp and cold morning and went off to have fun.
This weeks activities were based around the very well loved story, The Gruffalo. The first task was to set off around the wooded area finding characters from the story. Once we had a full set (or two full sets in our case) of the fox, snake, owl, gruffalo, and mouse, we needed to think back to the story and make their houses using our imaginations and natural resources. My little men decided to make one home for each pair (this was cunning as it meant less work, but they stated it was so each character could chat to someone). So we made a log pile house (for snake), underground house (fox), a treetop house (for owl), and a cave (for the gruffalo). For the mouse we just improvised with a homely shelter. We based everyone around one tree stump making it all seem quite homely.
After all this hard work, hot chocolates, hot squashes, and biscuits were needed, but not until after a very focused play session with their characters. The little men were suddenly so involved with their characters playing out whatever storyline was in their heads, they nearly missed the snack time altogether.
After snack time we set about making characters from the gruffalo with clay and bits of nature we could find foraging around the area. Little man one chose to make a mouse from a fir tree cone with clay ears, paws, and nose. Then added string for tail and whiskers held on by more clay. Little man two chose to make an owl. He had an acorn cup for a nose (held on by clay) and bits of bark for wings (held on by clay) and clay eyes. Then both got the chance to make snakes. This involved sawing a section of wood for the snakes face, then drilling a hole through the middle to thread some string. We then poked the centre out of sections of twigs with a tent peg and threaded it on the string. Once all this activity had been done it was time to light our fire for the week. The children chat about how we do this and then help build it by adding some dry sticks. They then peel hazel twigs with potato peelers, which the little men mastered quite well today, and then hold a marshmallow, which is on the end of the twig, over the fire to roast….yummy. The session was a huge success and my two eagerly await next weeks Forest School. There is no pressure to conform (if they wander off to investigate that is ok), if they get involved in something for longer there is no pressure to move onto the next task, and best of all its outside, hands on, and involves getting muddy!