Things [ Hand Made ]


My chance to wonder about hand made things and tell the world about those I make, love and cherish!

Monday, 6 June 2011

Forest School

 I think you may know already that although we are an urban family we love to be outdoors. My kids are horrible little things if they have been cooped up indoors and not had their fresh air and I have been known to kick them outdoors in all weathers declaring it to be "break-time" just as it is at school and making them go out.
  Although they love the outdoors they sometimes forget it as an option when they are surrounded by lego, DS etc.

We have lots of favourite outdoor places and one thing guaranteed to get all leaping of the sofa is a day when Forest School is on.
 We live on a modern estate and the children play around parks, small patches of grass and hedges along paths. Its a bit further to wilder spaces and so we try to take them out to them when we can.

 I discovered that there was a local forest school and its been very popular ever since. It is held in a tiny scarp of woodland and it makes me both happy to be able to take them and sad that it is still a scrappy little piece of land. It get well used and abused with trees for climbing, mud, bushes and paths. There are logs, ropes and tarpaulins left about for the kids to play with how they wish. they are supervised but in a relaxed way. they are allowed to make weapons from sticks ( which I know sounds horrific if it is not your child thing but its seems to be a process at least one of my boys needs to go through, I cringe whenever I see it.) as long as they abide by a kindness rule.
Its not quite up to the level of Lord of the Flies but it definitely has a feel of Peter pans Lost boys!
 They help build a fire and cook sausages for hot dogs over it for their lunch. Adults are welcome to stay and I did when they were smaller but all now feel confident in the space.
 Some sessions are specifically for older children and have a more formal set up with skills being taught. My 11year old went to one over the half term. It was based on knife skills.
It is scary how quickly my 11 year old can move when he is told he can go and try out knife skills.
The sessions are well run with a good child/adult ratio. The knifes are specific to the tasks the try.
He was very proud to tell me that he was the only one not to need a plaster!
These pictures are the things that he made. Its being kept as a collection for all to admire as anyone walks in the house.
Have you worked them out yet?
The top 2 are a fire stick, the feathered bark helps the fire to catch quicker, he thinks it make a good palm tree.
The second 2 are of  rope/twine made from nettles. 
You have to agree, that's quite cool, rope made from nettles!
The next 2 are of a flower.
 Then this item?
well, think about it.
You have an 11 year old, a stick and a knife... what is he going to make?

of course,  a sharp stick!


Anonymous said...

forest school sounds like the perfect place for children to let off steam and learn so many wonderful thinks - in a Just William way!

Gina said...

Perfect recreation... at least a couple of my boys would have loved that. I'm very impressed with the rope made from nettles.

Jee said...

When I was a child all boys (and some girls) had a penknife in their pocket. I don't remember anyone losing a finger or pocking anyone's eye out with a sharp stick - though my sister once knocked out my brother playing with a toy golf club (well he was fool enough to stand behind her) and on another occasion she knocked his friend over 'trying out' a pair of boxing gloves!

Jee said...

When I was a child, every boy (and some girls) carried a penknife. I don't remember anyone cutting themselves badly or poking anyone's eye out with a sharp stick though. My sister once knocked my brother out cold with a toy golf club - well, he was fool enough to stand behind her!

Chrissie said...

I love the things the children have made and am heartened to hear that they can still do slightly risky things in their play. I think I would definitely have needed a plaster myself after a morning learning 'knife skills'!!

Angie: said...

Wow! He is very talented! They look great and of course one always needs a sharp stick!! It's so much better than a poke in the eye with a blunt stick don't you think????(not that I really hope anyone gets poked in the eye with a sharp or blunt stick you understand~it's just that someone had to say it and I wanted to be the first!!! :o) )x

Carrie said...

This sounds amazing, especially in our health and safetly obsessed culture where kids can't even play conkers in the playground. Its just the sort of thing I did with my brothers every Sunday when my grandad insisted he took us out all afternoon no matter what the weather was doing. Of course, there was no DS then and only 4 TV channels!

moss stitch said...

Oh! I so want to go to Forest school! Its sounds brilliant you are very lucky.

Jane Housham said...

This is so brilliant. I wish we had a forest school near us.