Although it’s not a new phenomenon, the concept of forest school has become increasingly popular in recent years, with many schools and childcare settings having regular trips to woodland or even their own on-site forest school.
There are also plenty of sessions for pre-schoolers and primary age children to attend, run by qualified forest school practitioners.
If there’s not anything near to you, it doesn’t mean you have to miss out. Many forest school activities can easily be replicated, in your local woods or even your garden. Here’s our guide to the easiest, and safest activities to start your forest school adventure.
Get outdoors and look around to see which leaves, flowers, plants and mini-beasts you can find. If you need some help with identification, download a list beforehand from your local wildlife trust and take it along with you. This is an activity that can be done all year round, and it’s great to compare what you have found during the different seasons. You can expand this activity by drawing pictures of what you see, or why not create a nature crown or mask? Cut out a template from paper or card and stick on whatever you like! You could also have a go at making a home for minibeasts (or a small toy) from what you can find.
Look out for different sized sticks and twigs, that you can then make creations from. Decorate with leaves or flowers, paint them, or use wool or string to create more advanced projects! Try to find ones which are dry and not too brittle, and remove any sharp pieces before you unleash your creative side. Suggestions for things to make include walking sticks, name labels for plant pots or a Stick Man (and his family).
Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud
Host your own mud birthday party! Use old cake tins, muffin tins and silicon moulds plus wooden spoons and mixing bowls to mix up some birthday treats with mud and water. If you’re brave, you could make a ‘cake’ from a mound of dirt and add some stick candles to light. Just steer clear of any dry leaves or sticks that are too close, or you may need the fire service at your party.
Planting seeds doesn’t have to just mean plant pots and seeds from a packet. Have a go at experimenting with different containers, such as yoghurt pots or empty eggshells for growing seedlings inside, or old shoes or welly boots filled with compost. You will need to ensure that whatever you use has good drainage if they are going to be outside in the rain.
Try planting the seeds from the fruits and vegetables you have eaten; apples and pears work brilliantly for this, as well as sunflower seeds or go large with a mango stone!