I’m sitting on a moss covered log, under a canopy of leaves, their delicate skeletons illuminated by the sunshine. My dog is by my feet and a friend by my side. Giggles from the den carry across the wood, followed by the sound of branches snapping and leaves scrunching as our kids run across the clearing to tell us their plan.
Another day of family adventures in the woods, this time at one of our favourite National Trust places, Calke Abbey, which I was also pleased to discover is one of the 900 woods listed by The Woodland Trust in their guide to woodlands.
The Woodland Trust are a wonderful charity who help preserve our woodlands for future generations, as a parent that’s something I feel really strongly about. Leaving a legacy of woodland and kids who believe it is important to protect the woods and all those who inhabit them.
We also went to Ilam this week and gave another favourite tree a hug. It needed it, but it’s given us so much fun over the last few years.
The Woodland Trust have just launched a membership scheme for children and families, an excellent way to get young people excited about woods, as well as raising money for the trust.
There’s a new adventure playground for the summer at Calke, made out of trees. Although we didn’t spend much time in there, as they had already spent lots of time making their own adventures in the woods.
To accompany the amazing idea on The Woodland Trust site for things to do in the woods, I thought I would share 5 family adventures we’ve shared in the woods recently:
Make a movie
Woods are the setting for so many amazing narratives, from fairy stories to horror films, kids naturally know how to recreate them.
We made a movie at Calke, which my friend kindly edited for them, I filmed and edited this film on my IPhone about our other fabourite wood. Click on the link for even more movie making tips, with my ex media studies teacher hat on.
Make a den
So many woods we have visited recently have dens, whether they are organised den making areas or remnants left behind by other visitors, there is nearly always something to work with. If there aren’t enough big sticks, make a den for a teddy, a fairy, a mouse or another woodland creature.
Stumble on a rope swing
Both woods we have visited during the Nature Detectives campaign have rope swings. The one at Calke is really inpressive. You can’t beat screaming ‘I’m a wrecking ball!’ as you whizz round on a rope swing.
We stumbled on a geocache at the base of a tree, without looking for it at Calke, searching for geo caches is the perfect way to get kids to walk further.
I went on a brilliant walk with my son’s class where the children had to collect as many different leaves as possible in a bag. They identified them at school and used them for art work.
On our wood walk with Becky from Baby Budgeting, she collected feathers to paint. Another lovely idea.
The ranger at Sherwood Pines introduced me to Forest pictures, a strip of sticky back plastic on a card that you stick bits and pieces you find on the forest floor too.
There are loads more ideas for fun in the woods over at The Woodland Trust, membership will ensure you and your kids get seasonal inspiration through the letter box too.
I will leave you with a little more of our trip to Calke. Our kids had made their own fun by the time they reached the adventure playground, and probably need another visit to make the most of it. I normally go to the woods to escape other people and organised adventure. But it really is a magical space, and only there for a limited period, come September it will close again.
Gorgeous isn’t it?
We also fitted in a butterlfy hunt for Butterfly Awareness week.
Find your nearest wood
Search here to find great ideas for woods close to home or wherever you find yourself if the UK, you can’t go wrong with a wood to explore!
Join The Woodland Trust as a family
Create your own little legacy in the world, protect woodlands for future generations and immerse your family in nature.
Here’s what you get…
- Membership to Nature Detectives.
- A Nature Detectives welcome folder and activity booklet, plus bookmark, nature passport and stickers.
- New seasonal activity pack four times a year posted to each Nature Detective, and weekly Facebook challenges.
- Different packs for different ages.
- A tree dedicated to you in your nearest Woodland Trust wood.
- A unique guide to native British trees.
- Directory of Woodland Trust woods to discover.
- Two copies of our Broadleaf and The Woods Today magazines each year.
- Emails with details of activities, events and lots more.
Join the Woodland Trust with your family today – membership starts from just £5 a month for one child and £6 a month for two children.
Visiting Calke Abbey
Check out our favourite trees at Calke here, there are some amazing ones to play in.
Entry is £3.20 per person, or free to National trust members. Family membership to The National Trust is another great option.
To celebrate the launch of the nature detectives and family membership schemes, I have one gift set from The Woodland Trust to giveaway – a bag, notebook, jigsaw, mug and tree identification swatch book. Just leave a comment, telling me about your favourite wood or woodland family activities and complete the rafflecopter and I will choose one person at random on the 1st September 2015.
UK competitions at ThePrizeFinder – See more at: http://www.theprizefinder.com/content/wood-land-trust-goody-bag#sthash.OoC1B0D4.dpuf