Wandsworth - "Smooth it, squish it, crush it, smash it, bash it!"

Our Week in the Forest... 

"Smooth it, squish it, crush it, smash it, bash it!"
Rain, what rain?!  The children have had an absolute blast this week at our Wandsworth sites. They have also been really excited to welcome our enthusiastic holiday campers and it has been brilliant to see how they have played together. With such a great mix of children it was unsurprising to see the incredible, imaginative ideas that the Little Forest Folkers developed together.  Read on to get a hint of some of the fun we have been having.
The children’s enthusiasm for pirates hasn’t waned, over at Paradise.  Their new role model is the treasure-hungry Captain Purplebeard from the now much thumbed, ‘Pirate Cruncher’, by Jonny Duddle. Snack was barely over before the children had commandeered the bench, equipped with binoculars and tape measure (an essential item every pirate keeps close at hand).  I pottered over but was quickly informed that a serious operation was underway; they were on the lookout for a sea monster. In the deep dark depths of the hay bales, a child popped up and waved, before quickly returning to being a terrifying monster. It was great to see how their play progressed throughout the day, even building their own pirate ships using logs and planks, with room for everyone. Land was discovered in our disused flowerbed and treasure dug for, in the shape of shiny stones, which the children had fun counting and hiding.
There has been an exciting crop of blackberries in the gardens.  The children have had a cracking time identifying and collecting them to make blackberry paint. They hunted around the trees to discover the best stick mashers they could find.  It was terrific to see how the children worked as a team to collect and share the blackberries. Squishing them up together they added a little water and set about painting lovely purple pictures that Captain Purplebeard would be proud to hang in his quarters.  It was a lovely experience for the children that I am sure many of us remember fondly from our own childhood.   What was really special was how, as adults, we were able to take a step back and watch as the children organised themselves, worked together and created beautiful art.  Amidst all the fun and collaboration, the children were also developing great fine motor skills and enjoying mark making experiences.

For some reason, over in the Windmill woods, the rain inspired the children to give their play a holiday theme.  Hopping on a plane (read helping each other clamber onto a big fallen tree, whilst we stood back clutching at each other because it was such a heart-warming sight), the children set off for their hols. The extremely young (possibly unqualified) pilot was quick to land as soon as he spotted the sea, urging all passengers to come and join him for a swim.  Great customer service!   At the beach they spent hours digging and making ‘MUD CASTLES!’  If you want to know how they were made just use this helpful chant from one of the holiday campers, ‘Smooth it. Squish it, crush it, smash it, bash it!’  Warning, once this chant is uttered by yourselves, it will not leave your head.  We know, we’ve tried.  When the mud castles sometimes crumbled, the children were fab at working out how to develop their techniques to improve upon them. They began instigating new plans, ‘We need to pat it more on the top!’  The rain also brought out the worms.  Lots and lots of baby worms, until suddenly the children happened upon the Grandfather of all worms. A race to the tape measure confirmed it was of Guinness World Record size, measuring a whopping 30cm! 
Finally the children also had a brilliant time creating their own stickmen, using all sorts of bits and pieces: goggley eyes, pipe cleaners, fabric, tape and wool.  They were so proud of their new friends and set about making them a home, complete with cosy beds.  One stickman informed the others that it was not just any stickman but a pirate stickman.  It marched around the house shouting ‘Ooh Arr!’  In the kitchen one of our holiday campers had been busy chopping up wool for ‘Bisgetti’ which she popped onto bark plates for the stickmen.  Whilst the other stickmen ate hungrily, the bandana wearing one informed them, ‘I’m not hungry because I’m a pirate!’ 
What an absolutely wonderful week we have had at Wandsworth.  Thank you everyone!  We can’t wait for next week, to see our dear Little Forest Folk, and to welcome new and returning holiday campers to our settings.  Hurray!  Have a top notch weekend, everybody!

Hope you have a great weekend!

Little Forest Folk