The other week I was walking my dog around the village and noticed that the conkers had started falling from the Horse Chestnut trees. As a Forest School leader my instinct kicked in and I thought I must plan something that involves conkers and collect as many as possible for my Forest School natural treasure hoard!
After we finished our snack we headed over to the mud hill. Last week the children were based around the tree house and surrounding area and engaged well with the activity, so I thought it was a good idea to remain with gross motor skills but develop it further by exploring more areas of the paddock.
When at the mud hill the children had the opportunity to climb (the mound has different levels of incline for all abilities.) Before we knew it most of the children were at the top and eager to use the slide. Some children seemed to enjoy just standing at the top, looking afar to see what they could find whereas the other children were keen to start sliding. Once positioned at the top of the slide away they slid, over and over again.
This activity was good for the children’s gross motor skills and how we alter the way we climb depending on the gradient of the hill. On some parts you can climb using just your legs on others the children would need to use their hands. It also depends on the confidence of the children how they climbed the hill, one little girl was so confident she walked down the steepest part of the hill on her feet with no hesitation or wobble! Amazing ☺
Nearing the end of the session it was time to let the conkers have a turn on the mud slide. Some children stayed at the top of the mud hill with me and some children decided to stand at the bottom of the hill and catch them. When we were all ready, away the conkers went rolling down in all directions and at different speeds. I wondered aloud, “Where will the conkers land? Can anyone catch them?”
Allowing the children to access this perceived risk and select themselves how they could safely ascend and descend the hill was a real confidence booster and helps them to begin to think about the responsibility they wield when it comes to keeping themselves safe.
What a great week spent at the top of the hill!
Thanks for reading!