Fox sightings, Elderflower Cordial and Forest School Fun

TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_20Foxy and Floral Findings

Phew, two thirds of the way through 30 days wild! I had a very leisurely start to my week – isn’t it great having a Monday off? It rained for most of the day so I got on with some odd jobs and caught up with general life paperwork. Eventually the sun appeared and the rain held off so I could spend some time outdoors.

I’d already decided not to venture too far due to the unpredictable weather so I headed over the road to take a walk around the local ruined manor. There are lots of paths around the edge that I’ve never been along before and have wanted to explore. I loved seeing all the plants weaving around the ruined building and the wild edges to the pathways.

As I peered through a gap in a door to be nosy and see what was behind it, I spied a fox! I thought it might be a statue at first but it ran away when I kicked the door with my clumsy feet. A little further along the path I discovered loads of elder trees full of flowers. I filled up my bag and rushed home to convince Ryan to make yummy cordial.

The cordial in the picture below had to be left overnight before we bottled it up. I’ve been drinking it with lemonade and experimented baking it into biscuits. It’s not a very strong flavour but it is very sweet!

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Peter Panda’s Pizza Party

Tuesdays are Forest School days at the Nursery; read about my other sessions here and here. My previous sessions have been focused on a story but this week was a letter focus instead. The children have been learning how to write and say the letter P so I had to try and incorporate it into as many activities as possible.

The letter focus sessions always start with writing practice on the chalkboard and then the children find the letter on the nature alphabet banner. Then it is on to the activities! First everyone had to find Peter Panda who had got lost on his way to Forest School. It turns out he was stuck in the willow circle with a bag full of goodies.

Peter Panda had a scavenger hunt of things we could pick up. I used cards from the Go Find It game because they are really visual for the younger children. They soon found rough bark, bendy branches, smooth pebbles and yellow buttercups. Wet was a really interesting one because we found cuckoo spit and learned all about frog hopper nymphs that live inside it.

Now Peter Panda had another trick up his sleeve. He’d invited our team to join the other team for a Pizza Party. Cue my very first fire with a group! The children in the other team had collected loads of sticks for me in preparation and there were bags full of dried material to use.

Volunteers helped me to create a waffle fire lay, add the tinder and build up the smaller sticks on top. With a little help from some Dragon magic we managed to get the fire started. Everyone made their own pizza pocket by filling half a pitta bread with cheese, peppers and sweetcorn. They were then wrapped in foil and toasted on the fire until the cheese was all gooey. I’d say my first fire session was a success!

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Derbyshire Forest School Day

Forest school came in a double dose this week as it was the annual Derbyshire Forest School day today. Practitioners from all across the county come together to mingle, skill share and generally have a lovely time. It was my first visit so I didn’t know what to expect but I spotted a few familiar faces, got stuck into activities and had an awesome time.

My first workshop was ‘Kindle a Spindle’ which I signed up to because I was intrigued. We all had chance to make our own spindle which is used to spin wool. Firstly we used a bow saw, Forest School style, with a partner to cut off a thin, round piece of wood called a cookie. Then we used a hand drill to drill a hole through the middle of our cookie.

After we’d selected a stick and realised it wouldn’t go in the hole it was time to whittle. I used a sheath knife to carefully whittle the end of my stick so I could wedge my cookie onto it. The final step was to twist a hook into the end and voila, I created a spindle to spin some wool (which was the way trickier part).

My second session was all about how to incorporate maps and compass work from the geography curriculum into a Forest School session. I love that sort of thing so I was happily following the compass in the woods and adding details to my map.

Lunch time and the afternoon was spent talking to other practitioners, trying out some foraged food and having a go at some craft activities. I met loads of interesting people and was inspired to bring their ideas into my sessions in the future.

I was VERY excited to finally try out some hapa zome! I’m not 100% sure what the name means but it is basically hitting plants with a hammer to create a print on a piece of cotton. So arty, so much fun and so therapeutic. I made some bunting that is now hanging from my mantle piece because I’m so proud of it.


What Next?

Tell me why it is called hapa zome!

Make your own elderflower cordial using this recipe

Follow Blackbird Forest School on social media for updates


2 thoughts on “Fox sightings, Elderflower Cordial and Forest School Fun

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