Summer holiday play

We can't quite believe we have nearly come to the end of our summer holiday woodland play...

It has been a fantastic month of freedom, adventure, friendship building, independence, imagination and creativity.

The skills that the children have developed with their fire making were evident today. They were fantastic at selecting appropriate wood for burning, talking about the differences between green, dry and rotten wood and how each of them can be used- for creating with, burning and how the rotting wood benefits the woodland ecosystem. The new trolley proved its worth with the wood collection and it managed the deep mud and tricky ditches! They sorted and built their fire independently and used the char cloth they had made to light it. Some delicious sandwiches were toasted at lunchtime as a result!

After identifying many of the trees in the woods by cutting some hazel and collecting some hazel nuts, which hadn't yet been eaten by squirrels and mice, the children cut some elder and learned about its versatility as a wood to work with. It is a soft wood to work with as a start to using tools safely. Its bark is easily peeled by hand or with peelers, which built the children's confidence and tool skills from which to develop on to using knives. The pithy centre was then pushed out with pegs and screwdrivers to create beads, threading necklaces, bracelets, snakes and we even had a go at making elder whistles.

"I know why Dumbledore is so chilled out...pushing the inside out of the elder is so satisfying, I just want to do it over and over again...look!"

The cut hazel was used to make small mallets. The children sawed, axed and carved handles brilliantly to create many mallets. They used the bow saw in pairs, learned to use a knife to axe the sides of the mallet safely and how to mark and carve a rounded handle. The way in which they worked together throughout the process was brilliant to support. As was the chance to create with their hands and talk, chat and discuss as they were busy creating.

" you know what?....sometimes it is really brilliant to sit and talk to people..."

Meanwhile others spent a huge amount of time swinging, playing self initiated games, making dens, spotting insects and fungi, climbing trees and generally getting on with the important business of child's play.

So at the end of another session, at the end of another summer of woodland play, it was wonderful to hear all of the children individually have the confidence to share what they had enjoyed about the experience.

" I loved doing all of the things I have done and all of the people I have played with"

That pretty much sums it up for us as well!

So we have one more day in the woods tomorrow with some of the children, who have the chance to bring their parents and younger siblings.

And we are very much looking forward to the October half term, where we will welcome back the children for two days of Autumnal play on Wednesday 27th and Thursday 28th October, during the half term break. If you would like a space, booking is here: