Covid and the Great Outdoors
Trolls, Witches and Pirates and how to survive the Pandemic with Infants
I have been fortunate to be able to work in school throughout the Covid outbreak, going back to the early return of Key Worker children, and later with the restricted numbers permissible under social distancing and other health and safety measures.
Reduced numbers (I’m currently working with group sizes of eight) have enabled flexibility, as well as social distancing – most of the time – and I’ve been working on ideas for activities where children don’t have to work in close proximity. I have also set up activity areas – distinct areas that children return to to work on a project. I have found it useful to theme up the activities with story-telling and inter-active narratives. This encourages children to stay involved with projects as well as giving a more memorable purpose to what they do.
Troll Town. One such theme is Troll Town – with a few related stories, such as the Troll being tricked into marrying a witch. Troll town began with making a hall for the king and building huts around it. In the next session we began work on the occupants. Huts were made with sticks tied together with garden twine and dressed with hay. We sourced some willow and bought the hay at £3 a bale. Over the weeks the town was routinely visited, added to and repairs made. Troll houses got gardens, troll children made, and little bits and bobs of furniture.
Witches Bowers & Decorations . Another theme to the story was a wedding, as a result of the king being bewitched. This involved making a bower to conduct the wedding ceremony in. The Year 3 children made the bower – a frame of bent poles dug into the ground and tied in the middle. This was decorated with dangly things, including clay and stick spiders.
And so to the Beach. To keep things moving, we had the troll king run away to sea where he learnt to be a pirate (some wet things here) and got swallowed by a whale. Children swabbed decks (who can get their muddy plank the cleanest), made pirate ships, searched for treasure and walked the plank.
And the summer went all too quickly…