Barnes - Woodland walks

Our Week in the Forest... 

This week the Little Forest Folk-ers enjoyed venturing back out onto Putney Common after the Summer holiday break. They enjoyed the long walk to the woods and commented on the changes they have noticed on the way. It is amazing how great their spatial awareness is and how many details of the environment they remember! The children noticed that our huge muddy puddle is now completely dried out, that some of the path is now overgrown with grass and that new plants are growing in the fields since the rains finally returned.
The best discovery was an oak tree and a horse chestnut tree growing close by one of our sites which of course gave us lots of conkers and acorns to play with! The children had a little competition to see who could find the most and they used them in their role play. Some of them used tongs to pick up the acorns demonstrating excellent hand eye coordination and stirred them into their concoctions. They practiced their maths skills by counting them and even telling us: “I need five more!”. The conkers soon turned into meatballs that were added into their spaghetti in the mud kitchen.

Some of the children took the investigation further and wanted to know what was inside the acorns and conkers. They worked together finding the right tools (rocks, sticks, kitchen pans) to break and smash them. The children commented on the texture, colours and smells.

During our adventure walks we explored the fields and meadows and the children had fun digging out the horse radish from the ground. Some of them commented that the leaves look similar to the cabbage that we grow in our garden.

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The children also discovered lots of dry grass in the field and they decided to build a big house which again enabled them to use the mathematical language, talking about height, volume and weight. Building a house of straw quickly reminded them of the story about “Three little pigs” so they practiced “Huffing and puffing” to blow the house down and taking turns to be a Big Bad Wolf and chasing the little pigs around. We all remembered that the next pig house in the story was the house of made from sticks so they built that one too, working beautifully together. Of course, the house of sticks was no match for the Wolf so we had to move to the house of bricks. Finding bricks in the Forest might be a challenge but not for our children with their amazing problem-solving skills and imagination. Small stones found in the ground became the bricks and leaves helped to form the roof and the play continued. So much fun and so much learning!
We have noticed that more of our children are interested in numbers and lots of the activities spontaneously evolved around counting and number writing. One day the children drew train tracks with chalk on the wooden planks and they wrote down the numbers of the platforms on little blackboard labels. Some asked an educator to scribe the numbers and others wrote them down independently. It was wonderful to see some of the youngest children practicing their mark making giving meaning to their marks as they told their friends which number they had written.
This week we have been welcoming new friends into the Forest and it is wonderful to observe how caring and friendly the children are as they try to include our new friends in their play straight away, explaining the rules and looking after them, making sure everyone is having a great time!

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Little Forest Folk