Whilst both my girls have done some Forest School at nursery and school, I had never done any myself with them. I had ear-marked the Toddler sessions at Wyre Forest to visit some time back.
So whilst I was trying to make the most of my one day off work with the youngest one, seeing that the forecast was good (although I do not believe this is a pre-requisite), I thought it was time to give Forest School a try.
Meeting outside the café at the Visitor’s Centre at Wyre Forest, it was not immediately clear where to go until I asked someone who was hanging outside the café. The chaps running the session were extremely friendly and helpful to find change for all of us who had bought large notes.
Once we had all paid and double checked for a toilet stop we were ready to head down for Forest School. The sessions were supposed to start at 10:00 but it was around 10:15 before we made our way down to the Forest School area. That said, the finish time was fairly flexible so we didn’t feel like we had missed out.
We all filed into the campfire area when we arrived to listen to the short instruction and safety briefing before being let loose around this small, fenced in area in the forest.
There were lots of fun things to do. We first tried some painting using sticks and other paintbrushes provided by nature to do a little card (an early Mother’s Day card maybe). My youngest loves painting so she really enjoyed this, especially using the different sized sticks.
From there we moved onto the really messy bits. As it had been a dry few days, we had to make the muddy puddles and there were plenty of water buckets to do so from. Once we had made a big muddy puddle there was nothing stopping my little lady from channelling her inner Peppa Pig by “jumping up and down in muddy puddles” (I was tempted to join in – it looks so much fun).
Once we had exhausted ourselves from the muddy puddle jumping we moved to the mud kitchen where we poured endless cups of “hot chocolate” from one kettle and cup to the other. Then we decorated our “kitchen” by painting the trees with mud with several of the paintbrushes nearby.
We had got quite mucky by this point (luckily I had remembered to put my little lady in a waterproof all in one and wellies – definitely a must), but a bowl of warm water and soap was on hand to clean up (my little lady loves getting messy but can’t stand dirty hands so this was really useful).
Having well and truly built up an appetite, the little one helped to make hot chocolate using a wooden whisk before we sat around the newly lit campfire to relax. Some of the kids (and grown ups) were given the chance to light the fire using what I think is flint but I decided against this myself not knowing how my little lady would react.
Once the fire got going, lots of goodies were provided to cook using a grill or forks. We used a fork to cook our pikelet and toast and everyone was able to have at least one turn. Plates and cups were provided plus butter and jam. Hot chocolate, tea and coffee were also provided including non-dairy milk for allergy sufferers.
After a bite to eat we had time for another quick play but although the session had technically ended I didn’t feel rushed to leave. The Forest School leaders were really knowledgeable and encouraged the children to try different things.
We never got chance to try the weaving, den building or printing but we will definitely check them out next time.
We had a quick chance to say hello to the Gruffalo before our parking ended. Next time I may get longer parking and visit the Zog Trail or Gruffalo challenge.
Cost: £5 (£4.50 with discovery card)
Location: Wyre Forest Visitors Centre
More information: A breath of fresh air