Monthly Archives: February 2017

A Term of One to Two hour Activity Plans for Reception & Year 1

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This article is aimed at those who are fairly new to teaching Forest School, work in school settings rather than a wood and have kids for short sessions. Here’s a term’s worth of 1 – 2 hour sessions I have done with them in the last year.

I work in three different primary school settings. I arrive, unload my van and then go off to get the kids into their dungarees and wellies. Three hours later I’ve taught two groups and I’m on my way home. Not ideal ‘Forest School’ I hear you say. I hear you say it even louder when I tell you the groups can be 15 strong. The reality is budgets are stretched and the schools want the all their kids to experience ‘Forest School’ on a regular basis. There simply isn’t the time or resources to load an entire school onto a minibus each week and take them to a wood for an morning.

A school environment removes a lot of the benefits that ‘free’ or creative play in a woodland setting brings. Children have got used to the idea of a lot of structure for most sessions. I also run occasional ‘free’ sessions, where the children have the choice of a range of long-term projects to go at – making paths, digging the pond, ‘clay-play’, working on ‘Sloth’s Cottage or their own dens or beastie habitats.

For the interest of those who find themselves in similar situations I attach a term’s worth of lesson plans, together with some pics.

1. Washing Line & Soft Toy Hunt
2. What are Wood Lice?
3. Clay Pots with lids. Den-making with soft toys.
4. Trolls & Troll Mazes
5. Hedgehogs
6. Willow Fish
7. Elder Beads
8. Tree Rubbing Card
9. Wizard’s Wand
10. Soft Toy Dens
11. The Lost Stick
12. Dragon Flags made with natural dyes
13. Den Building

 

Activity 1. Seasonal Washing Line & Soft Toy Hunt

Weather Forecast: Timings: Group Size:

Objectives. To encourage awareness of seasonal changes. To develop aesthetic awareness in the collection of attractive found materials. To encourage independence and the capacity to stay on task in collecting finds.

Summary. Children find 12 different soft toys hidden in a field. Children go on a scavenger hunt to collect items that are connected with the season and attach their finds to a piece of twine hanging on a washing line using tape, wools or by untwisting and inserting the item between the strands.

LGs

Children follow a sequence of instructions in respect of the activity and seek support in a way that is relevant to the activity.

Children handle the materials with confidence and are effective in achieving the desired outcome.

Children practice the different techniques for attaching found items to a piece of twine.

Children know about similarities and differences in relation to places, objects, materials and living things.

Prep. Put up washing line and pre-cut lengths of twine – one per child. Conceal the soft toys in your field or activity area. Laminated, numbered picture card image of each soft toy (optional).

Activities.

Soft-toy hunt. 12 soft toy animals are hidden around the field. A picture card is revealed and the children find the soft toys in sequence. Each child who finds an animal remembers where he found it and replaces it for the next group (if a follow-on group).
Seasonal washing line. Each child is given a piece of twine around 50cm long, address label and a peg. They label their string and attach to the washing line with the peg. Demonstrate how to attach items to the string by twisting open the twine and inserting (ideal for small sticks). Leaves and feathers can be attached by tying and taping. Each item must be different from the others in some way (e.g. no two leaves of the same colour and shape). How many different things can you find that remind you of the season? (Set a target of 10 items per child).
Share. Children each describe one item they have put on the line and say why it is different from the other items. Seasonal string can decorate the Forest School area, the classroom, or taken home.
Reflection. What things make you think about the season? Why?

Hazards. Ask children to walk sensibly around the field. Remind children not to put fingers to mouth or eyes once they have started to collect.

Materials:. String or washing line. Roll of address labels. Mini-pegs for attaching string to line. Ball of parcel twine. Scissors. Coloured reels of insulating tape. Wool. Small sticks for spools.

 

Activity 2. What are Wood Lice?

Weather Forecast: Timings: Group Size:

Objectives. Children find out what features identify a wood louse. Children understand they have different numbers of legs and body segments. Children understand they are not insects.

Summary. Children hunt for wood lice and catch them. They make a wood louse ‘picture’ with natural materials.

Main LGs

Children work cooperatively and with consideration in the making activities.

Children can describe the shape of the wood lice in appropriate language and count segments and legs.

Children can talk about the physical differences between living things. Children learn to count legs and body segments.

Bug Mime. Individually or in groups children are given a bug to ‘mime’. This is done by giving out a card to the different groups with a picture – worm, spider, snail, centipede, beetle, ant.
Share knowledge about Crustaceans and Arachnids. Children talk about where you might find wood lice and spiders. Share insights into what they eat and why they are beneficial. Look at Wood Lice pics – what kind of a creature are they (Crustacean) and what are they related to? Wood lice eat decaying wood and plant matter. They need damp conditions. They are eaten by centipedes, spiders, toads etc.. What do spiders eat? Spiders eat wood lice and insects.
Wood Louse Hunt. a. Wood Lice hunt in pairs. Catch and place specimens in viewing containers.
How many wood lice have you caught? Count them.
Share where did you find your wood lice?
How many segments and pairs of legs has a wood louse?
What shape do they make if you touch a wood louse? (a ball)
A wood louse is a Crustacean – related to Crabs and Shrimps (show pictures).
Make a wood louse on a bare patch of ground (or if dry a piece of flipchart paper for contrast) using pebbles, twigs and other found materials. Follow-on activity – Make a spider using pebbles and sticks. Make sure it has the right number of segments and legs. Give their wood lice and spider names.
Reflection. Did I work well with my friends? Did we help each other? What makes a wood louse special and different? What makes a spider special and different?

Materials. Laminated Sheets illustrating Wood Louse and Spider, together with an Ant for comparison. Viewing containers for looking at insects. Pre-locate wood lice habitats. Bag of bark pieces, pebbles and stick etc.. . for making wood louse pictures.

 

Activity 3. Clay Thumb Pots with Lids & Tiny Treasure

Weather Forecast: Timings: Group Size:

Objectives. To explore clay as a material for making shapes. To make a decorative clay pot utilizing small, natural finds.

Summary. Dragon tag game, make a clay thumb pot with face lid & treasure hunt.

LGs

Children work cooperatively and with consideration in the making activities and the game. Fine Motor Skills – Children develop skills in moulding clay and decorating the clay with very small natural items they have found. Children are able to search the field systematically and with good observation to find the treasure.

1. Game. Dragon Tag. Create 6 to 8 ‘refuges’ using tyres or cones placed in a circle of 20 metres diameter. In the centre use another cone or similar to create the ‘dragon’s lair’. Two children are allowed per refuge. Increase to 3 if a large group.

Rules: Pairs of children take it in turns to be dragons. Dragons try to tag the other children with their ’fire’. When the referee blows the whistle all children must run to another refuge. The referee allows 30 seconds before blowing the whistle twice to indicate the end of the round. If a child is touched by a dragon before reaching another refuge they are out. Each pair of dragons has five rounds. After the five rounds all children are back in again and another pair of dragons are chosen. The winners are the two dragons who tag the most children.

2. Making a clay thumb pot with lid.

a. Demonstrate technique for making a small thumb pot. A ball of clay is kneaded and rolled into a ball between the hands. The thumb and fingers are used to make a depression in the clay and shape the sides into a bowl.

b. Decorate the bowls. Decorate the bowls by impressing a design round the rim with a small stick. Decorate by pressing in the small, found items.

c. Make a pot lid with a face. Provide a small piece of clay. This s rolled into a ball and flattened with a rolling pin. It is pinched up in the middle to make a nose. Eyes and mouth are added to make a face It is moulded to fit the bowl.

d. Initial the pots for identification with a stylus, place on trays and take indoors to dry.

3. Treasure Hunt. A tin treasure box or similar containing a collection of tiny treasure items (small shells, pebbles etc..) is hidden in the school field. Children find it in a systematic search of the field (or a pictorial map can be used) and the treasure is distributed into the clay pots.

Reflection. Show and tell. Which part did they take the most care with. Each complete the sentence…”I like my pot because…”.

Materials. Game: Whistle, tyres or cones, foam sticks. Clay Pots: Log stumps or similar to provide working surfaces. Golf ball size piece of air-drying clay per child. Trays to carry clay pots indoors. Treasure Hunt. Tin box containing small shells and pebbles or similar to put in their pots.

 

Activity 4. Clay Trolls & Pebble Mazes

Weather Forecast: Timings: Group Size:

Objectives. To encourage imaginative play. To support skills in narrative construction and storytelling.

Summary. Troll story-telling. Children use sticks, wool, tiny pebbles and clay to make a trolls.
Work in groups to make mazes to stop the trolls from escaping.

LGs

Understanding. Children follow the sequence of instructions in respect of the activities and seek support in a way that is relevant to the activity.

Speaking. They develop their own narratives and explanations by connecting ideas or events.

Being imaginative. Children use materials in original ways, thinking about uses and purposes. They represent their own ideas, thoughts and feelings through role play and stories.

Prep. Make a one metre wide, three-circuit labyrinth out of pebbles to demonstrate the technique. Children can make a pebble maze to their own design.

Activities.

1. Troll Story. Tell the story about Trump the Troll. Explain how Norse sailors made mazes out of pebbles on the beaches so that the trolls couldn’t follow them onto the boats and make mischief at sea.

2. Make a Troll. Demonstrate troll-making. Use a Clay body, pre-cut small stick for arms and legs legs, and grass or moss for hair and beards, leaves for clothes. (trolls have very long hair).

3. Make a Troll Maze. In groups, children make a maze for your troll family out of pebbles that is so confusing they will not be able to escape.

4. Children create their own Story. Children take it in turns to contribute to the narrative.

5. Troll Hunt. Search the field for evidence of trolls. Are there any troll doors and windows in the trees.

Reflection. What did you like best about making up your story?

Hazards. Remind children about the usual hedgerow hazards of fungi, brambles and nettles. Remind about not putting hands in mouth or eyes after handling clay, raw wool or found materials.

Materials. Troll-making: Clay, thin willow pre-cut in a bucket (4 pieces per child) for arms and legs. Available grass and mosses etc.. for hair, beard, clothes. Troll-maze: Buckets containing pebbles of different sizes.

Trump the Troll

Who can tell me what a troll is? Do we know what they look like?

Trolls usually live in caves and holes in the ground. They also live in woods. You have to be careful of trolls because they like to play tricks on people. One trick is to hide under a bridge or behind a tree and make rude noises. What rude noises do you think they might make?

Once there was a troll called Trump. He lived in a tree. You can still find his house is you look very carefully. The door is hidden beneath the tree roots. Shall we see if we can find his house?

Trump was a very naughty troll. He made people trip. He dirtied their shoes. He made branches swish in their faces. He would make rude noises to make them blush. Even his mum thought Trump was a naughty troll.

Trump liked to pick on children. It was easier to make children cry. Children nearly always cried when they tripped up on a root or fell into nettles. The children who lived near his wood were always having accidents! Did Trump feel sorry for what he did? Not at all! He laughed and laughed when someone fell in a puddle. He laughed even louder when they hurt their knee on a stone. Sometimes he laughed so much he would wee himself.

But Trump wasn’t very clever. In fact trolls aren’t clever at all. A long time ago the Vikings found out how to stop trolls being naughty. They built troll mazes!

What is a maze? Most paths are straight or a little bit bendy. A troll maze has lots of bends and goes round and round in circles. You can make a maze out of sticks or stones. Trolls can’t help themselves. They love a puzzle. They will go into the maze but they can’t get out. Not until mummy or daddy troll come to fetch them.

Shall we make a troll maze? Then we can go for our walk and there will be no accidents or rude noises because Trump the troll won’t get out until after dark!

 

Activity 5: Hibernating Hedgehogs

Weather Forecast: Timings: Group Size:

Objectives. To develop skills in participatory story-telling. To develop clay-working skills.

Summary. Children make a hedgehog using clay and natural materials including pine needles. Children name their hedgehog and make a small bed for him/her if time permits.

LGs

Understanding. Children follow the sequence of instructions in respect of the activities and seek support in a way that is relevant to the activity.

Speaking. They develop their own narratives and explanations by connecting ideas or events.

Exploring and using media and materials: Children safely use and explore a variety of natural materials, experimenting with design, texture, form and function.

Being imaginative: Children use materials in original ways, thinking about uses and purposes. They represent their own ideas, thoughts and feelings through story.

Art & Design. Children develop their ability to use colour, pattern, texture, line, shape, form and space.

Activities.

1. What do hedgehogs look like? What do they eat? Why are they hard to find?
Explore the materials we will be working with.
2. Demonstrate stages of making (hedgehog to be chicken egg sized). A hedgehog body shape is moulded in clay. It can be given eyes using tiny stones. Pine needles or tiny twigs are stripped from pieces of pine brash and stuck into the clay in a dense pattern to create the hedgehog bristles.
3. Children make their hedgehogs and hedgehog nests if time permits. Get children to count the spines they use.
Where might hedgehogs live in the school?
Reflection. Why should we look after hedgehogs?

Hazards. Ensure all children are adequately clothed for the conditions. Observe for signs of significant discomfort and early stage hypothermia (shivering, listlessness) and warm up or return to school. Demonstrate all tasks. Warn children not to carry sharp items and to leave tools on the blocks when not in use.

Materials. Clay, several pieces of pine brash (branches), scissors. )

 

6. Willow Fish & fine tying

Weather Forecast: Timings: Group Size:

Objectives. To improve fine motor-skills through decorative wool work and knot-tying. To develop basic skills in manipulating willow.

Summary. Children learn to manipulate willow to make a simple fish shape. Children add detail with different coloured wools.

LGs

Understanding. Children follow the sequence of instructions in respect of the activities and seek support in a way that is relevant to the activity.

Moving and handling: Children show good control and co-ordination in large and small movements. Children show good co-ordination in handling and moving willow , weaving it to make hurdles and bending it to make a fish shape.

Shape, space and measure: Children learn to identify thick fom thin by separating different thicknesses of willow. Children recognize the elements of a basic fish shape and follow instructions to create the shape out of willow. Children use appropriate language to describe the shape.

Activities.

1. Game. Crocodile Swamp. Using tyres or similar as stepping stones, children cross a field without touching the ground. This is done by working as a team to pass the tyres from back to front to move the row of tyres forward. The winning team is the team that makes contact with the ground the least number of times.

2. Preparation activity. Children make a spool of wool. Issue the spools and wool. Children wind about three metres of wool onto the spool.

3. Demonstrate willow bending to make a fish shape and tying off with wool. Show how the willow can be warmed in the hands and bend slowly by working hands along the stick.
Make the fish shape and tie-off.
4. Decoration. With emphasis on neatness, children decorate their fish with coloured wools.
Reflection. What have they learned about willow today?

Hazards. If a fire, remind children of all procedures relating to the fire area. Do not leave fire unattended. Cut willow to length for children with secateurs. Warn about carrying willow upright and being aware of eyes and faces. Warn about the capacity of willow to ‘flick’ when released.

Tools & Materials: Willow whips not exceeding 1cm thickness, pre-soaked and flexible. Make demonstration fish before session. 10cm long sticks to use as spools. A bag of different coloured wools.

 

Activity 7. Bead wristbands or necklaces

Weather Forecast: Timings: Group Size:

Objectives. To improve co-ordinated movement and fine motor skills through the use of a saw to cut wood.

Summary. Children practice cutting elder neatly and carefully. They cut beads and string them together to make a necklace. The activity leader needs to be confident and competent in cutting with a mini-hacksaw.

Notes. Elder sticks are easy to cut and has a soft, pithy core that can be readily pushed out with a steel tent peg. Children struggle most with holding the stick so the foot makes a good support. Log stumps of around 30-40 cms high (one between two) are necessary.

LGs

Children improve their fine motor skills in handling the tools and making the beads.

Self-confidence and self-awareness: Children are confident to try new activities. They will choose the resources they need for their chosen activities. They say when they do or do not need help.

Children safely explore and use a variety of materials to create an item of jewelry.

Childrens’ individual ideas and creativity is expressed in the object they make..
Making beads.

a) Children are shown or reminded of the correct/safe use of mini-hacksaws. They are put into teams of 3 and practice,cutting a single bead each.

b) Cutting the beads. Children select a suitable piece of elder and cut three to five beads each as neatly as they can.

c) Hollowing out the beads. Children are given a demonstration of how to hollow out the beads safely. Use a rubber mallet and log stump to tap out the pith. Repeat the process until all the pith is gone. Warn about never pointing the tent peg towards the body and always wearing a glove for this stage.

d) Stringing the beads. Children are given large needle and wool thread. The beads are strung. The children are supported in tying a knot.

Reflection. Share what you did best today.

Hazards. Issue gloves to saw user and child next to them. Supervise children at 1:4 whilst using mini-hacksaws. Demonstrate safe cutting technique – support elder stick by putting foot on it or holding it with a gloved hand.

Tools & Materials. Gloves. Wool and large needles. Quantity of elder – about 30cm per child. Mini- hacksaws (one between two). Steel tent pegs, scissors. Firm cutting surface, such as a selection of log stumps. Rubber mallets.

 

Activity 8. Tree Rubbing Cards

Weather Forecast: Timings: Group Size:

Objectives. To explore the textures of tree surfaces and learn to identify trees by their bark. To make an art work that reflects some of the patterns found in nature. To reflect on the changes that winter brings

Summary. Students use art paper and crayons of different colours to make a rubbing of different tree barks. The border of the rubbing is decorated with leaves from the tree where the rubbing was made. Double-sided tape is used to stick the leaves.

LGs

– Children follow the sequence of instructions in respect of the activities and seek support in a way that is relevant to the activity.

– Children express themselves effectively in reviewing the activities at the end of the practical session.

– Children handle the materials with confidence and are effective in achieving the desired outcome (preparing the ground for planting).

– Children safely use and explore a variety of materials, tools and materials, experimenting with colour, design, texture, form and function.

Activities.

Explain that trees can be identified in several ways – their leaves, their bark, their seeds and their overall shape and size. Explore different trees and their bark. What differences do they observe? Ask them to rub their hands over the surfaces. How does it feel?
Support children in using masking tape to attach paper to the bark. Demonstrate the rubbing technique and encourage them to produce a rubbing of even density to accurately reflect the bark texture.
Make a flower and leaf border. Peel the covering tape off the double-sided tape. Encourage children to make a symmetrical pattern of small leavers and flowers around the border.
Reflection. No two trees are alike, even trees of the same species. In that sense they are like us. Think about all the things that trees give us – their beauty, their shade, timber for buildings and furniture, wood for our fires and a habitat for so many living things.

Hazards. Children only to use safety scissors and remind of safe carrying method.  

Tools & Materials. Pre-prepare cards (folded over A4 card) by creating a double-sided tape border – one per child and a couple spare. Cartridge paper – 2 sheets per child, selection of thick crayons, masking tape, safety scissors, 3 glue sticks, pen to write names on artwork. 12 clipboards. Sample tree bark sections for trees not present in the school field. Glitter, Glue Sticks.

 

Activity 9. Wizard’s Wand

Weather Forecast: Timings: Group Size:

Objectives. To develop children’s skills in handling a range of materials to make a decorative product.

Summary. Children make a wand by sourcing and cutting a stick to size and decorating with spun wool, coloured tapes, feathers

LGs.

Design & Technology – use a range of tools and materials to cut their wood to the desired size, and assemble and join their selected components to achieve the product as described.

Art. Children engage in making a decorative item and engage creatively with the making process.

Activities.

Children explore two exemplar wands. What are wands for? How has the exemplar wand been made?
Children are given demonstrations on the different techniques for using wool and tape to decorate the stick.
Children cut their sticks to length with a mini-hacksaw and decorate sticks with colour pens, wools and tapes. Additional items, such as feathers, leaves or small, decorative sticks are also added.
Children describe their wands to the rest of the group.
Reflection. Are you happy with how you cooperated and worked together? Say that you liked about the activity and the product you made.

Hazards. Warn about not running whilst carrying sticks. Remind them to look carefully before picking up ‘found’ objects to make sure there are no hazards. Remind them not to put fingers near mouth or eyes once they have started to collect. Supervise at one adult to 3 mini-hacksaws in use. Issue only as many tools as can be supervised – maximum 5. Position children and adults so that they are all in clear view. Instruct and demonstrate at each stage of the process. Ensure that the hand holding the stick is gloved when sawing with mini-hacksaw. Give very clear instructions about working away from the body and not towards it.

Materials. Selection of freshly cut sticks (15 x 30cm) 8 mini-hacksaws and spare blades. Butter knives. Reels of coloured tape. 3 pairs of scissors. 5 grooved blocks. Spools of wool. Spare ‘found’ sticks. Bale of string. Brace and bit in case children wish to drill holes through thicker sticks. 24 feathers.

 

Activity 10. Soft Toy Dens

Weather Forecast: Timings: Group Size:

Objectives. To develop skills in handling Forest School materials. To enable the children to make simple den environment and furnish them with found materials. To develop skills in working safely with sticks. To encourage simple story-telling relative to the environments they have made. To encourage free play.

Summary. Children make small scale dens with mini-gardens and furniture for their soft toys.

Main LGs

Children work cooperatively and with consideration in the den building.

Children express themselves clearly and develop their own narratives and explanations for events they have participated in both in making the den and constructing a narrative around their experiences.

Children use their imagination to design shelters.

Starter & warm-up – (10 minutes). Soft Toy Relay. Can they save the soft toys from the Eagles? A relay route between 4 tyres with relay team members waiting at each station. Can they safely transfer the soft toy to their team members or will they be caught by the marauding eagles and have to hand over the soft toy?
Main Activity – Den Making with Soft Toy Characters. (30 minutes)

Children are divided into groups of 2-4.
Children are given simple guidance about shelter-making. How to safely carry materials and place sticks . Each group is provided with several robust sticks, a piece of tarpaulin and an area of their own with a low rope fixed between trees.
They are given around 20-30 minutes to create a shelter for themselves and their soft toys. Think about simple furniture and making the ground comfortable and dry. N.b. Do as little problem-solving as possible. Let them find their own solutions to structure building.
They visit each others’ shelters with each ‘host’ telling a brief story about who lives in their shelter and what adventures they have had that day.
Reflection. Did they work together well to make their shelters? Would they like to live in the houses they made?

Materials. 3 bundles of long sticks, 3 pieces of tarpaulin, 3 lengths of rope pre-tied between trees. Other materials from the Forest School Area. Bag of soft toys, streamers.

 

Activity 11. The Lost Stick

Weather Forecast: Timings: Group Size:

Objectives. To think about what they think would make people happy and write it in their own words.

Summary. Children decorate a stick and add a special message to it – a prayer or wish for the world, their family, friends or themselves. The stick is then buried.

LGs.

Self-confidence and self-awareness: Children talk about their ideas, and will choose the resources they need for their chosen activities. They say when they do or do not need help.

Art & Design – Investigate visual and tactile qualities of natural materials and combine to meet their creative purposes.

Spirituality – Children experience enacting a personal prayer for others.

Activities.

Warm-up activity. Tell the story of the lost stick by Leonid Tolstoy. Children share ideas about what they think would make the world a better place.
Exemplar the activity – my special prayer or wish on a piece of paper attached to a stick decorated with wools and a knotted length to represent the rosary.
Make the Prayer Stick –Decorate the stick with wool and coloured tapes or fabrics Write the prayer or wish on coloured paper and attach to the stick with a rubber band..
Share the outcomes – Children share their prayers and wishes with the group.
Children are taken to a suitable locale to bury their sticks.
Reflection. Why should we pray for others?

Hazards. Wear gloves if sawing. Supervise at 6 mini-hacksaws in use per adult. Remind about carrying scissors safely.

Tools & Materials. Tools & Materials: 30 plain willow sticks (children to saw to size if time permits), wools, coloured tapes, coloured paper slips, sellotape on reel.

The Lost Stick

Based on a story by Leonid Tolstoy

When we are in a wood or a park we find and lose sticks all the time. Even dogs like to find sticks and play with them. Sticks are like treasure. You can do so many things with them. Do you like finding sticks? What things can we make with sticks?

There was once a boy who lived on the edge of a forest. His name was Sam. Sam was five years old. Sam had an older brother called Jack who he loved very much. Jack was fifteen years old. Sam was six. Jack was always kind to Sam. Jack would take Sam for adventures in the forest. They would watch the creatures who lived there.

They would sit perfectly still and quiet. Jack said the animals are no longer afraid when you are still. They will come to you.

Shall we be still and quiet for a few minutes? What can we hear? What can we see?

Jack and Sam saw birds of every kind. They saw foxes, badgers, deer and rabbits. Sometimes they heard woodpeckers drumming away on a dead tree. Sam liked to hear the cooing of doves best. It made him feel so peaceful.

One day in the forest Jack found a special stick. He said it was came from a willow tree. He said he was going to write a message on the stick. It would be a special prayer.

Sam asked what the special prayer was. Jack said it was the most important prayer in the world. It was a secret that would make all people happy. It would help people to love each other. Jack picked up a stone and rubbed the stick with the stone until the bark was off. He then took a pencil and wrote his special message on the wood.

That night Jack lit a fire. He was going to burn his stick and send his special message to God. This made Sam sad. If you burn your stick no one will know your secret. He started to cry. Very well then, said Jack, I will bury it instead. When you are old enough we will find it together.

Jack went into the forest, dug a hole, and buried the stick.

When you are a man, he said to Sam, I will tell you where the stick is hidden. Look all you like between now and then. You will not find it. This did not make Sam happy. He cried some more. But he was not as sad as before. One day he would know how to make people happy.

Then Jack became sick. He had never been strong. He went away to hospital and did not come back. Sam was very sad. He had lost his brother and his best friend.

For many years Sam would go into the forest to look for the buried stick. He wanted to make the world happy again by finding the special stick. Many years later, when Sam had become much older he told his own children about the special stick. One day, Sam said, one of my children will find the stick and the world will be a happy place.

Maybe we can guess the message on Jack’s special stick? Or shall we make a special stick of our own. We can write a message on the stick or decorate the stick and make a special prayer instead.

 

Activity 12. Dragon Flags made with natural dyes

Weather Forecast: Timings: Group Size:

Objectives. To develop craft skills and creativity by making a flag or montage incorporating panels of fabric dyed from leaves and flowers.

Summary. Children design and make a picture utilizing fabric pieces they have cut to shape and dyed.

LGS

Understanding. Children follow the sequence of instructions in respect of the activities and seek support in a way that is relevant to the activity.

Speaking. They develop their own narratives and explanations by connecting ideas or events.

Exploring and using media and materials: Children safely use and explore a variety of natural materials, experimenting with design, texture, form and function.

Being imaginative: Children use materials in original ways, thinking about uses and purposes. They represent their own ideas, thoughts and feelings through story.

Activities.

1.Children are told a story about what dragon flags are for. They are informed that we need to make dragon flags to keep the dreadful dragon that hides in Glastonbury Tor (change to place-names local to you) from attacking Wells. Explain how the Chinese scare off dragons.

2. Explain about natural dyes. How were they used in the past? Explain how dyes were fixed. Children practice with fabric scrap.

3. Discuss designs – can we make a face to scare the dragon? Practice with a piece of scarp fabric.

4. Children gather/share resources. The different stages of making the picture are demonstrated and it is made in stages

5. Model the stages of making their individual pictures. Children will be encouraged to work as a pair or a three and support each other. The stages are:

a. Search for natural items in the field to extract dyes from (leaves, bark, flowers);

b. Dye the fabric scraps to the desired colours;

c. Cut the flag stick to shape and staple or tie onto the flag stick.

d. Put name on item.

Secondary activity – makea natural dye flag headband or wristband
e. The imminent arrival of the dragon is announced. The children process round the field waving their flags and making as much noise as possible to scare off the dragon.
Reflection. What is your favourite dragon called? Why don’t we see many dragons today?

Hazards. Warn about hazards with collecting materials from hedgerows. Some juices from plants may cause stomach upset. Check there is no fingers in to mouths or rubbing eyes. Ensure hands are washed on return to classroom. Check with children and teacher in respect of skin allergies to plants. Do any children suffer from rashes/ hives?

Tools & Materials. Tools & Materials.One piece of white fabric per child, 2 staplers and spare staples, string, colour pens. Box of flower clippings (out of season I use unsold stock from a local florist). Wools to make a decorative top to the flag if time allows.

 

Activity 13. Den Building

Weather Forecast: Timings: Group Size:

Objectives. To develop skills in handling Forest School materials. To enable the children to make simple den environment and furnish them with found materials. To develop skills in working safely with sticks. To encourage simple story-telling relative to the environments they have made.

LGs

Children work cooperatively and with consideration in the den building.

Children express themselves clearly and develop their own narratives and explanations for events they have participated in both in making the den and constructing a narrative around their experiences.

Children use their imagination to design shelters.

Activities.

Soft Toy Relay. Can they save the soft toys from the Eagles? A relay route is created between 4 tyres with relay team members waiting at each station. Can they safely transfer the soft toy to their team members or will they be caught by the marauding eagles and have to hand over the soft toy?

Children are given guidance and demonstration on shelter-making. How to safely carry materials, place sticks and position the tarpaulin. Demonstrate how the tarp material can be secured with tent pegs. Demonstrate making a tripod with two short sticks and one long stick. Also leaning sticks against a fixed structure such as a tree or fence.
Each group is provided with several sticks of different lengths, a piece of tarpaulin and an area of their own with a low rope fixed between trees.
They are given around 20 – 30 minutes (or longer) to create a shelter for themselves. Think about simple furniture and making the ground comfortable and dry. N.b. Do as little problem-solving as possible. Let them find their own solutions to structure building.
They visit each others’ shelters with each host telling a brief story about who lives in their shelter and what adventures they have had that day.
Reflection. Did they work together well to make their shelters? Would they like to live in the houses they made?

Materials. ( For 15 children) 4 bundles of long sticks, 4 pieces of tarpaulin, Other materials from the Forest School Area. Bag of soft toys.

Please note, you are responsible for carrying out your own risk assessments. The ‘hazard’ notes are simply personal reminders and do not constitute a risk assessment.