Home Sweet Gnome

Christmas is nearly here and lots of layers, hats and gloves are needed as we head off to the woods for our weekly Forest School sessions. Here are a few quick festive Forest School activities to add Christmas cheer to your sessions.

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Log Reindeers
Make Rudolph and his friends.
1. Use a short stick. Elder is ideal but sticks from other trees will work. If your children can use hand saws they could cut their own stick.
2. Using a potato peeler remove a short piece of bark at the top of the stick. Turn the stick around and remove a short piece at the bottom of the stick. These will be the face and tail of the reindeer.
3. Add features to the face using felt tip pens and a cotton wool tail. You could use natural materials for the tail if you prefer.
4. Collect two very small twigs for the reindeer’s antlers. These are attached using raffia, coloured wool and string. Great opportunity for knot tying!

And your log reindeer is complete. Why not build a shelter for your reindeers using natural materials.

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Wood Cookie Father Christmas
Make a smiling Father Christmas to hang in the woods or on your Christmas tree at home.
1. Start with a wood cookie. Pre cut wood cookies can be brought online if you are working with younger children. Older children can cut their own using a bow saw and drilling a hole with a brace and bit.
2. Add features to your Father Christmas using felt tips, eyes and cotton wool or natural materials.
3. Add a loop using raffia, coloured wool or string.

You could also make Christmas baubles using wood cookies.

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Christmas Gnomes
Make a gnome to help Santa at Christmas. An activity for older children.
1. Start with a short stick. Again Elder is ideal. Use a sheath knife to sharpen the end of stick into a point.
2. Remove a small section of bark under the pointed end of the stick for the gnome’s face.
3. Paint the gnomes hat and add features to the face.

You can now build a home for your gnome using natural materials and don’t forget a pond so they can fish!

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Christmas Stars
Great knot tying and tight lashings needed for this activity.
1. Find five sticks of a similar length.
2. Place the five sticks vertically next to each other. Leaving the end of the first stick and end of the last stick free, lash the other ends together using shear lashings and clove hitches.
3. Now comes the challenging part. Twist the sticks into a star shape, lots of patience needed here!
4. Tie the last two ends together using a clove hitch.

You could decorate your Christmas stars with natural materials or tinsel. You could hang your stars in the wood to decorate the trees for Christmas or to celebrate National Tree Dressing Day on 7 December.

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