Last week at Forest School we were using tools to process wood for our store and starting to understand how we make a fires. At the beginning of our sessions we went on a hunt for all types of sticks, twigs and logs. The children all managed to find lots of different sizes, which often caused discussion of the difference between thick and long pieces, and short and thin pieces. After we had collected our findings in our pink bucket we took it back to the cabin to start our tool work. The walks also gave the children time to run in the sunshine through the long grass, look at some insects they found and gave them an excuse to go on the assault course. We used ‘Boris’ the Bow saw, and ‘Loris’ the loppers to chop up the wood ready to be used in our fires next week. Both tools can be difficult to work with but after Ed demonstrated a very good way of how we don’t use the tools the children all knew how the saw and loppers should be used safely. He first showed the children that you bang the saw up and down and in reply the children would shout "No back and forward!"
We also did this for the safety side as Ed’s fingers and knee nearly got chopped but the children saved him by screaming and saying, "No! Your fingers! You'll chop them off!" (Ed did listen, and he doesn’t have any injuries...) Ed also tested the children as he was sawing by not using the full length of the blade, causing the children to shout "faster!" and the showed how to use it: "Like this..!" (pushing their arms back and forward). So Ed would do it back and forward but only using a tiny amount of the blade; some of the children explained that he needed to use the full length of the blade. The loppers are also very sharp as Ed explained, ‘Loris’ has a small jagged edge on one side and the other is a very sharp blade! Loris is always hungry for sticks and twigs, so never put your fingers in his mouth or he might chop them off ‘SNAP!’ (Everyone still has all their fingers and toes thankfully) We could only use the Saw for our big logs we found, and any smaller twigs and branches we would use the loppers. All the children had the opportunity to use both tools, and some great excitement was seen, as they would wait for their turn to use them.
Some groups had a chance to try and light a mini-fire with some fire steels, practicing the scrape to get a spark. We are continuing our fire theme into this week, and will also make some larger fires with all our collected, chopped and sawed wood!