“Just so many strange dishes”

Sign of things to come!

Sign of things to come!

The weather forecast for next week is unsettled, with frequent rainfall. This will of course mean plenty of our favourite Forest School resource … mud! We organise many Forest School activities which involve mud. Everything from tracking, to mud pies; from mud creatures to painting with mud. Nature Detectives produce lots of ideas for activities that are ‘Muddy Good Fun’ in case you need them. Our favourite ‘mud, glorious mud’ activity combines lots of the messy stuff, food and al fresco dining at its best.

The session starts with the children finding a letter from the woodland creatures in an Elder Post Box, hidden high in the laurel bushes. Such letters and invitations are the perfect hook and are always greeted with enthusiasm, excitement and chatter. What sort of adventure will there be today? The letter, written in flowing cursive writing on light brown paper, asks the children to help. The woodland creatures are busy preparing for a forthcoming banquet but unfortunately they have been let down by their caterers, Sneaky Fox Caterers. Can the children help to prepare a banquet fit for hedgehog and their guests? Soon there are new restaurants appearing all over the woods. We sent MacLeod the fairy, restaurant critic and Restaurant Writer of the Year 2003 and Rayner the elf, food critic and writer of the food column in The Woodland Times, to review some of the new restaurants.

Mud soup with beech mast croutons

Mud soup with beech mast croutons

The Pick and Take restaurant offers the perfect romantic dinner for two. Each table is beautifully presented, complete with a pine cone candle to create the perfect atmosphere. The menu takes full advantage of the local, seasonal produce available. We started with a bowlful of mud soup, decorated with beech masts and red berry croutons. This was followed by a trio of tartlets. Without doubt the conker tartlet stole the show. Finally we just had room for some mini cakes and mud pies with a red berry cherries on the top. A delicious banquet and we will be back for seconds!

Al fresco dining

Al fresco dining

Our second restaurant, Grab and Go offers a truly unique experience, dining under the stars. On entering this take away restaurant, diners are invited to paint mud patterns on their faces before ordering! The menu is scratched in the mud or made from sticks. We chose a naked mud burger served on a bed of crisp leaves and the freshly made woodland risotto. We couldn’t resist the mud chocolate milk shakes, complete with feather cream and beech nut marshmallows. Our choices were carefully served up on bark plates and we decided to settle down in a quiet corner of the woodland and enjoy our food; a wonderful end to a hectic day and highly recommended.

A trio of tartlets

A trio of tartlets

We love this activity ~ suitable for all ages, open ended and encourages the creative juices to flow. The children can work independently or as a team. A great activity for the senses. Do you have a favourite muddy activity, why not let us know? Oh and don’t forget, enjoy the mud!

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