Free Rangers once again opened its doors to what can be only be described as a HORDE of children to come and play & learn at Free Rangers Forest School Holiday Club. It not only proved to be the busiest Holiday Club we've ever run, but also the most fun!
It was a complete joy and a pleasure to welcome the children back to the Cabin to get their hands dirty for the two weeks, but even more so for all the new children who came to visit too for their Forest School fix. From what I can tell most of these heard about us from word of mouth so thanks loads for spreading the good word of Free Rangers! On the whole the weather was kind to us, which made the days much more open and free for the children to explore our grounds properly. Whether this manifested itself as a trip to the brook and woods or to exploring the depths of the pond and hedges of the site, the options were limitless.
Each day brought about new focusses for the groups, and they had a great time devouring the activities (and lunches) we had supplied for them to access. The most popular activities proved to be the tools, especially splitting the huge logs for our fires. As you can expect, we get through a serious amount of wood during the Holiday Clubs not just for us to cook our lunches on, but also for the children to practice their fire safety, so any chance the children wanted to replenish our stocks was duly granted. It's great exercise, not to mention practicing tool safety and technique, problem solving, hand/eye coordination, as well as communication.
Fires are always a popular choice with our Forest Schoolers and they didn't disappoint this time round. Most relished the chance to make a fire of their own, or work in groups to organise, fuel, and start their fires. The creation of fires are a great way for children to learn important skills, not only about how fires work, but the methods of creating fires, maintaining them, but most importantly, how to respect and be safe around them.
Along with the tool work associated with splitting wood, was the use of knives, again another very popular activity, enabling children to make swords, bows and arrows or even kindling for their fires. We aim to instil in the children a safe and respectful working relationship in the tools they use with us, so that they can make the most effective use of them. To sate the children's creative sides we also had clay, and willow weaving, and the children did brilliantly crafting with these mediums, with each child bringing their own imagination and ideas on the outcome of their efforts. Apologies for size of some of these! Forest School in it's nature is a physical beast, and no more so was their represented in our rope swing where the children hauled themselves (or "roped" me) into heaving them up into the tree. Definitely earning our lunches with that activity!
The Forest Skills Friday sessions could not have been more different. The first was all boys and consistent rain, the other, all girls and bathed in sunshine! Both productive and fun and a nice change of pace to the busier days. All in all, the 2 weeks we felt, were the best we have run, not just because of the numbers, but from the wonderful feedback we have already received. So a big thank you to you, for choosing us, we hope your children have had a memorable time!
If you would like to see ALL the two weeks then please do follow the link below for some photos of the 2 weeks: https://www.flickr.com/photos/124128095@N06/sets/72157656984697782
We look forward to welcoming you back next time!
Ed & Vince