I just wanted to share my latest blog
post with you as it's so relevant for C&NN Connect.
In the woods of North East Scotland you may find a wee surprise. Several days a week, Mandy Tulloch, founder of Mud Pies
organises family woodland sessions for 2-5yr olds and their parents and carers. These woods echo with the sound of children playing!
All kitted out. Wellies (tick). Jacket (tick). Backpack (tick).
This week I joined a Mud Pie session for some fun in the forest. 15 children and their parents and carers met in the car park. After a brief word of welcome, the session began by looking for some hidden friends tucked away. The children quickly found the soft toys.
Many families attend weekly and make the most of the social opportunity.
Then the walk began. The pace was pleasantly slow so that children could stop to examine anything that took their interest. Muddy puddles were particularly fascinating!
Stomp. Squelch. Shloop!
A fallen down log provided a challenge to walk along. Luckily someone was always around to hold a hand.
All the children wanted a go!
Soon we arrived at the big shelter. Mandy had this set up in advance, with portable seating and snacks ready.
The shelter provided a useful visual meeting point.
Using the bracken and other material collected on the way, the children made camouflage nets for the game of hide-n-seek to follow.
My 13yr old son joined in!
Mandy demonstrating how to put on a camouflage net.
The children wrapped their homemade camouflage nets around themselves and found places to hide.
Can you see me?
These dens were made by older children during a ranger led activity several weeks earlier. Some children found that a tree was big enough to hide behind.
Even the toys were given camouflage nets.
After all this, the children enjoyed exploring and playing in the woods.
One child liked this den because it had a fire place.
This little girl fell over and became engrossed with the world at her feet!
Younger children also came along!
The sessions last 90 minutes. As well an opportunity to meet up, many parents enjoyed the time as it gave them ideas for playing outdoors with their children. But there was general agreement that there was something special about getting together for an activity.
Good byes were said at the car park. Until we meet again!
There is a growing world-wide movement to encourage families to explore local natural spaces and ensure their children spend time exploring and discovering nature. Have a look at the Children and Nature Network
site which contains activities and ideas for families in the form of a downloadable toolkit. Some families are getting together to form outdoor playgroups. The Canadian Active Kids Club
website gives some good advice for getting one started.
Meanwhile, many thanks to Mandy Tulloch and the families attending the Mud Pies session. If you want to find out more, there's a Facebook
page you can visit too as well as the Mud Pies