We're going on a pine cone hunt

This week’s forest school activity in the Burrow is pine cone painting. So last Friday we set off around the nursery grounds looking for a pine tree. We started our adventure in the paddock having a sneaky go on the assault course, we climbed and crawled up our mud hill, searching for the pine tree at the top! We scuffled back down on our bottoms, explored the long wavy grass - and of course we played a bit of hide and seek!! We strolled up to the fort and the cabin and in the corner stood a tall, pine cone tree! We looked on the floor and saw lots of part buried and dusty pine cones. We picked them up and collected them in our basket. The children seemed to really enjoy having a challenge to all find their own pine cones and put them in the basket.

On the way back from collecting all of our pine cones, we sat around the fire pit, discussing what it was for and poking it with sticks to watch all the ash fly up. We found our way in to the cabin, using much of our energy running in and around, up the steps and down the ramp!

Children can gain many benefits from learning outdoors. It allows them to move around without many of the restrictions of being inside. They can use their senses to take in and appreciate their surroundings, trees and bushes full of colours, the sounds of birds, cars and people and so on. Being outside allows children to build their confidence, this could be their physical development, risk taking or playing with other children. Objects such as old tyres, logs, crates, tins and old kettles, pans and cutlery will stimulate their imagination and can be used in a number of ways. A tyre could become a boat, a tin could become a lunchbox. It's said that children's use of language is five times greater when they are outside.

After bringing back all of our pine cones, I sat down and tied pieces of string around the core of the cone. I put them outside on the table along with some paper and paint. I didn't tell any of the children how to paint with them and instead I just observed how they were going to use them. GW came out and dunked the pine cone straight in the paint, then he looked at LTB who was holding it by the string and dabbing it in and out of the paint on to her paper, GW then copied her dabbing it on his paper.

It was great that the children who collected the pine cones on Friday were able to use them in the painting activity and we will put our lovely pine cone paintings on display in the Burrow, so feel free to come in and have a nose!