I have always been intrigued by forest schools and since having Sophie, I have been slowly working towards making my back garden look like one! We now have a mud kitchen and a water wall and I have a growing list of things, inspired by Pinterest, that I would like to add such as small worlds in tyres and brick roads. When I saw an advert for a local forest school on Facebook, I couldn’t wait to take Sophie.
Willow Rangers is sited on the Umberslade Estate in Tanworth-In-Arden and runs a weekly club called Willow Tots during term time for children aged under five and their carers. Once a month, they also run a family session on a Sunday which we attended last week.
As we walked down from the farmyard and through the muddy field, we entered the forest school. I was surprised at how big it was and how much there was to do. At first, the children sat on tree stumps around the camp fire area. They were welcomed and asked to listen to the rules: stay within the green rope, do not eat the berries and only climb on trees with an adult present. Then they were free to explore, play and learn and Sophie certainly did!
I didn’t get many photos while we were there because I just wanted to get stuck in and to play, but there was so much to do. The mud kitchen was fantastic and definitely gave me some inspiration about how to improve and extend ours at home. They had a sink and cooker, a table made from a pallet and some tree stumps. There were so many pots, pans and utensils and also a tea set. Sophie really enjoyed using the teapot to pour water and this is something I will add to ours.
Here’s a picture of our delicious Easter soup!
There were lots of branches to climb and some of them bounced like a see-saw. One of my favourite things was this dollhouse made from timber. It was full of adorable, miniature furniture made from branches. I know we have some timber kicking around behind our shed so I have added making one to Craig’s to do list! Behind the house, there were tyres filled with bark, stones and dinosaurs.
There was a huge tractor tyre, which Sophie was desperate to climb inside, and they also had a tyre swing. Other activities included searching for minibeasts in a huge log pile with magnifying glasses and tweezers and digging in the mud using children’s gardening tools.
There were lots of shelters set up around the forest and Sophie enjoyed playing hide and seek in them. Some of the tents had activities such as treasure baskets inside to explore. There were even baby change and toilet tents set up near the entrance.
I also loved the car area. They had positioned two drainpipes to create ramps so that you could race the cars and they had created roads by painting pieces of wood. One of the pieces of road was positioned over a hole filled with muddy water. Sophie moved the wood so she could jump in and have a splash!
There was also a tuff spot filled with water, ducks, frogs and boats. Sophie climbed right in so that she could splash about. The session was an Easter session so they had hidden pictures of Easter eggs for the children to do an Easter egg hunt too.
The session ran from 10-11.30 but I could have stayed for a lot longer! I have already booked our next session and can’t wait to go back. If you are local, I would definitely recommend Willow Tots and if not I would definitely recommend seeing if you have a forest school in your area.
*I have not been sponsored to write this post. I just wanted to share our days out on the blog.