Little Miss and I were really lucky to attend 8 weeks of “Wellies in the Woods” run by our local Children’s Centre. Each week we went to the local woods for two hours and I attempted to get Little Miss to join in with the activities rather than running off and falling into rabbit holes :).
E came to a session in the last school holiday and was really disappointed it wasn’t on again during the Easter Holidays so we headed into the woods to do our own. Prior to this I don’t think I’d ever taken either child into the woods on my own. As I’ve said before I quite like planning activities so the idea of preparing for a trip into the woods rather than just wandering in really appealed to me.
There are lots of different printables available on pinterest. I chose this one because I liked the pictures and I thought it might interest Little Miss as well. She liked drawing on it so I guess it kind of worked. It really kept E’s attention.
This is a really good way of getting them to get really close to the trees and actually look carefully. You just need ordinary crayons and paper. Little Miss also quite likes hugging trees.
E wanted to build full size shelter but I thought that was a bit optimistic. I blamed it on having to look after his little sister at the same time but really I don’t think my skills are up to it. We settled on a shelter for a cuddly toy and brought the Mouse and the Gruffalo with us.
I got the idea from here . We chose an appropriately sized stick and tied things onto it. As I expected, Little Miss was entirely uninterested in this activity but it kept E busy (and me interested) while she ran about! I also realised that E is rubbish at tying knots! I blame velcro shoes!!
I’m planning on making myself up a set like this so it’s ready to go for next time
- Clipboard – not entirely necessary but if you’ve got one it helps
- String and scissors
- Crayons and writing pencils
- Printable scavenger hunt list
- Cuddly toys
Hints and Tips
- For me, planning activities (rather than simply going for a walk) makes the whole experience more fun and last longer.
- Don’t tell your 8 year old all of the activities you are going to do in advance! This is a rookie mistake and I don’t know why I did it! It certainly made him want to move on quicker than he otherwise would have done and we ended up doing a few of the activities simultaneously.
- Bring snacks – I did not! (Again rookie mistake)
- It’s basically imposible to take beautiful photos whilst trying to stop a 22 month old from sitting in a pile of nettles.
We were out for about an hour and a half which isn’t bad going I think. We’ll definitely go again so I’d love to hear any other ideas.
I love spring especially the way the flowers seem to suddenly appear. For March’s play dough set I wanted to bring some of that indoors because, let’s face it, the weather’s been a bit rubbish!! I was inspired my this Spring Play Dough Set from Mama Papa Bubba.
- Soil Play dough.
- I use this recipe from Counting Coconuts . If you’ve not bought it before, cream of tatar can be found in the baking section of any supermarket.
- To make it look like soil I waited until it was cool then kneaded in about a tablespoon of ground coffee. This has given it a really lovely grainy texture – but also means that it leaves bits of ground coffee everywhere.
- On my Facebook page people have also suggested using cocoa powder or making up a pot of coffee and using that instead of the water.
- Fake flowers. I got these from Wilkos and cut them up. This can leave a sharp edge so you might want to try and get individual flowers or tape the ends off.
- Plastic insects. We already had these Melissa and Doug ones. (This is an affiliate links which means if you click on the link and buy something I get a small advertising fee at no extra cost to you. )
- Plastic Bowls. I decided to use bowls instead of plant pots because I couldn’t find any coloured plant pots.
- Textured play dough rollers from The Dotty Dough Factory (This one isn’t an affiliate link – but I highly recommend their play dough and tools)
How did we get on?
Both children have really enjoyed playing with it. For E it was a good chance to talk about the changes in the seasons. We talked a bit about bulbs and seeds and about how different insects behave in the winter.
My house permanently smells of coffee which is obviously awesome 🙂
It’s been a funny couple of weeks. I’ve felt like it’s impossible to keep the all of the balls up in the air but I’m pretty sure no one really wants to read a blog post of me moaning about how sometimes I can’t manage the basics of my incredibly privileged and easy life. Then I don’t write anything – which of course adds to the feeling that I’m not on top of everything. When I was actually hiding in the kitchen eating biscuits this came to me in response to The Prompt. This one’s definitely autobiographical – it turns out I’ve been a secret eater for a while!
Hiding in the kitchen stealing from the biscuit tin,
6 year old me,
15 year old me,
39 year old me.
Everything changes and nothing changes.
If you like this you may also like
This is February’s sensory box. Obviously it’s not still February and I don’t think this is really a sensory box but luckily my ‘boss’ is 20 months old so I reckon I’ll get away with it! If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram you probably already know everything you need to know about this box!
Little Miss has recently become aware of colours. Well kind of – she thinks everything is red – but she seems to understand that red is a way to describe things. So I decided to see if I could help her along.
- Coloured bowls (I got these in a set from Tesco)
- Rattan bowl – this is the one I used for her treasure basket, a clear bowl would work just as well
- Random coloured plastic stuff (mainly toys). I aimed for things that were one solid colour to make it as simple as possible.
- Sneak a Peek Colours. (This is an affiliate link which means if you click on the link and buy something I get a small advertising fee at no extra cost to you.) This is a really sweet little book. There’s a colour on each page and you’re supposed to look through the hole to find examples of the colour.
How did we get on?
- She’s still mainly favouring calling everything red although she’s learnt the word ‘blue’ and occasionally uses it correctly.
- She sometimes sorts things correctly – then randomly adds in wrong ones. Basically we have no clue whether she gets it or not!
- She pulls the box out and insists people sit and play with it with her. This means that she likes it!
I’m not sure how E learned his colours but I’m pretty sure I didn’t actively teach him and he is doing just fine! I do remember him learning purple because some good friends had a purple car!
As with the play dough sets, the sensory boxes are at least partially for my own benefit. I really liked the planning side of teaching. Not the form filling paperwork aspect of it necessarily; but the finding interesting ways to inspire learning. So when I’m planning sensory boxes or play dough sets I get to feel like a teacher again (and there’s no ofsted in sight 😉 )
If you’re looking for more ideas here is my Pinterest board for toddler ideas
For February’s play dough set I wanted to use the stones that Little Miss liked so much in the Arctic Animal box. I found this idea and decided to make a whole play dough construction kit.
- Play dough – this is the recipe I use.
- Stones – these are polished stones but any old stones will do
- Sticks (from the garden)
- Milk bottle lids
- Glass pebbles
- Play dough tools – I went for rolling pins, knives and scissors. Play dough tools are great for developing cutting skills because they’re totally blunt so safe for little ones.
How did we get on?
(Thanks to Karen from Two Tiny Hands for the heading suggestion 😉 )
- As expected Little Miss was basically uninterested in the ‘point’ of the set! She likes to push things into play dough and to be honest it doesn’t really matter what I give her with play dough at the moment.
- She was however, very excited by the scissors. Up until this point she’s rarely been allowed to touch scissors so she obviously thinks they are things of wonder!
- E on the other hand really went for it. We’ve made various structures and had some great discussions. Since it’s half term having an activity they will both do together is a major plus. 🙂