Can you remember settling down on a Sunday evening and listening to the UK Top 40 Countdown? When I was younger it was a weekly ritual in our house, in the days of Top of the Pops and long before digital downloads and iTunes. This week we had to cancel our Forest School session as winds gusting over 50mph are above our safety threshold! So instead we asked the group of 20 5-7 year old girls to compile their ten top Forest School sessions. Wonder what activity came top? Well here it is, the top ten countdown of Forest School activities for the week beginning 5th January 2015.
A re-entry at number 10, Playing Games.
No surprise here, whether it be ice breaker or mixer games, team building games or hide and seek, playing games remain a firm favourite with children of all ages.
Just squeezing into the top 10 at number 9, Collecting Things
Collecting spiky, rough, smooth objects for A Dozen Touches or natural materials to make a tree spirit, land art or food for your mud pie cafe. You cannot fail to love the excitement when you find a perfect shiny conker under a pile of leaves – the ultimate natural treasure!
A non-mover at number 8, Treasure Hunts
Searching for unnatural materials, The Gruffalo, dragon’s eggs, Autumn scavenger hunts and chocolate coins, the possibilities for the perfect treasure hunt are endless. Sharp eyes and determination are needed if you are going to succeed.
A surprise entry, at number 7, Playing.
Abit of a surprise here that this activity did come higher in the charts. However the girls did suggest that the activities higher in the chart were usually seen as playing as well and this meant, well, “just playing!”
After five weeks in the top ten, at number 5, Building Fairy Houses
I’m sure the magical woodland creatures are delighted about this entry, should help solve any possible housing crisis in any woods! A great way to work on your shelter building skills, mini shelter building proves to be a popular activity with our children.
A new entry, going straight in at number 4, Building Dens
Whether it be a den underneath a tree, in a tree or a round tree. A den for one, two or more. A den that is really a castle, a hideaway for pirates or a restaurant selling homemade milk shakes and muffins (all made from mud of course!). Shelter building is a very popular activity with our children whether it be as part of a session or just “when we are playing”.
Climbing 3 places to number 3, Climbing Trees
A popular activity for children (and adults) of all ages. Test your courage by climbing to the next branch, sit quietly alone watching the birds or gather with friends in the branches and gossip about the day. Everyone in our class has their favourite tree to climb and their favourite ‘perch’ in that tree. How about you?
Still there at number 2, Finding Nature
No, not leaves, conkers or pine cones, but worms, slugs, wood lice and beetles. Our children love to set off with collecting jars and magnifying glasses and go hunting under stones and logs for minibeasts.
And so…..finally… this week’s number 1 …. is ….. Campfires
Nothing beats sitting around a roaring campfire with your friends listening to the crackling sounds. Of course the experience is even better if you are singing campfire songs and telling stories while toasting marshmallows and making smores, eating bananas in pyjamas, popcorn or orange chocolate chip muffins! A fire ceremony gives everyone an opportunity to share their favourite activity of a session and brings any Forest School session to the perfect conclusion.
And this also brings us to an end our countdown of our favourite top ten Forest School activities. Have we included some of your favourite activities? Which activity would be your number one? Why not share your top ten with us, we look forward to hearing from you.A big thank you to J1 and J2 The Mount Junior School, York for their help with this post and to Hannah, Miryam, Pia and Romey for their brilliant pictures