It’s no surprise to say that my family like to be outdoors, we love going for walk whatever the weather. Come rain or shine, we can usually be found on a trail somewhere or off to try a new park. My kids get excited when they see their wellies!
This week, me and my two year old twins Oscar and Isla headed to Brownhill Nature Gardens in Uppermill to take part in a Forest School session, ‘Woodland Tales’. Ellie from Two Hoots Forest School actually contacted me via Twitter to tell me all about her sessions and they sounded perfect for me and my little tribe!
Two Hoots Forest School is all about having fun by outdoor learning. The Woodland Tales sessions are for under 5’s and their parents which are led by Ellie, a qualified teacher and forest school leader. The sessions consists of story-time, crafts, playtime, games and snacks including hot drinks for the mums and dads. All these activities are taken place outdoors, whatever the weather!
Oscar and Isla wore their wellies and their puddle suits. The weather as we arrived wasn’t great, I actually thought it may have been cancelled but Ellie’s message said whatever the weather the sessions run.
As we arrived at Brownhill Nature Garden, (which is lovely by the way) we noticed caught up with Ellie and other little ones in the shelter they had made underneath the trees. Everyone was very friendly and we sat down to introduce ourselves. Oscar and Isla were a little wary to start with but they soon came around. Luckily it stopped raining and we were able to head out of the shelter too.
The first activity we did was to explore the surroundings and think about the colours of nature. The children chose two colouring pencils and we headed out of the trees to find something outside that matched the colour. Isla unsurprisingly picked pink, which actually proved very easy. There was plenty of pretty pink flowers. Oscar’s green pencil was also easy to match as there was plenty of leaves. We explained to the children now to pick flowers, just what’s fallen to the ground naturally. We all came together to show what we found……
We headed back into the shelter where Ellie explained that today’s theme was The Gingerbread Man and she read the children the story. She gave each child a lump of clay and they each took turn to use the cutters to make their own gingerbread man.
Next we headed out to find things to decorate our clay gingerbread men with. Oscar and Isla used little stones for the eyes and we found seeds and acorn shells for buttons. They had so much fun doing this and they were so impressed with what they made.
Next was snack time, a favourite part of any activity for my greedy pair! Haha! Carrying on with the theme, each child (and parent) was given a little gingerbread man each from Ellie. There was also water and juice for the kids and tea or coffee for us parents. There was something very relaxing about enjoying a hot coffee on a wet Tuesday morning in the woods, it was lovely!
After the gingerbread men, Ellie said the children were going to cut their own fruit and make some fruit kebabs! My two have never used a knife before but they loved having a go, understanding they had to be sensible. The both enjoyed their fruit kebab, my two love fruit anyway but it was such a fun way to eat it, Oscar went back for seconds!
After our snacks, each child was given a fishing net and we headed to the pond. Ellie explained to the children that they needed to slowly place their net into the pond so not to scare off any of the creatures that live their.
All the children loved the pond dipping! It definitely tested my twin mum skills, making sure they didn’t fall in haha! We watched the Water boatmen stake across the pond and scooped up some pond-life.
We then tipped the contents of the nets into trays and the children enjoyed seeing what they had found. Ellie provided some pictures of what lives in a pond and the children got excited when they found something. After a couple of times back and forth to the pond, Ellie carefully put all the creatures back in the pond and we headed to the grassed area for some games.
We played a few Gingerbread Man themed games including What Time Is It Mr Fox and TAG (once caught you stand like a gingerbread man). I think the children would have had us playing these games for the rest of the session, they were not for stopping. Unlike Ellie explained the finally activity.
She gave all the children a mini bread stick. Then had to give them a second one as they all ate it! Haha. Once they stopped trying to eat them, she explained that we were going to pretend our bread sticks were the gingerbread man from the story. The gingerbread man would have made it to safety if he hadn’t had help from the fox and if he had had a boat! The children went in search for something that could be used as boat for a mini bread stick………..
We found some giant leaves and drew little faces on the bread stick. We then headed down to the riverside across the stepping stones. Testing my twin mum skills again and with the help from Ellie, we were soon stood on the river bank where the children all let their ‘gingerbread man’ set sail on their ‘boats’. The children loved it, shouting ‘bye’ and waving as they floated away. They couldn’t resist a little jump in the river either!
We had a jam packed morning that we loved and can’t wait to go again!
After each activity (especially before eating) Ellie got the children to wash their hands. She asked the children to help, by holding the ‘sink’, a bucket. There was plenty of soap and water to keep clean and safe.
Other parents seemed to park along the main road, I parked in the car park of the Brownhill Vistors Centre which is only a few minutes walk from the garden. There are also toilets in the car park.
For more information including prices, check out Two Hoot Forest School Facebook Page or contact Ellie at firstname.lastname@example.org or 07913779447. We might see you there next week!
I wasn’t asked to write this review. I decided to tell you all about it as a paying customer because we had so much fun!