6 Easy Forest School Activities For You To Enjoy
A great post to read for Forest School leaders or for those looking to implement the teachings of Forest Schools into their children’s lives. Here, we’ve listed several easy Forest School activities, some of which you can complete at home or in small natural areas! By each suggestion, we have noted the type of environments most suitable for the activity.
The bug hotel
This activity can be completed in any outdoor area but works best at home or in a school setting.
For the bug hotel, children should be encouraged to build a small structure using planks of wood, sticks, and leaves etc. The idea is to create an insect-friendly place with amenities that would interest our crawly friends. Children may want to add cardboard tubes, shredded paper, and maybe even small food sources such as fresh leaves!
It’s a small and creative activity, which requires no expense and very little preparation.
This activity can be completed in any outdoor area but works best during larger Forest School workshops.
Encourage children to make a tower out of natural materials like stones, pebbles, logs, and sticks. They’ll need to work together to create a structure that stands without any assistance, which will likely include a solid base or foundation. If the groups manage to make a tower, their next task could be to see if they can make changes to the tower without it all collapsing.
The natural towers activity is great for teamwork, communication, fine motor skills, concentration, and hand-eye coordination. It has no cost and very little set up, because it’s more fun to let the children find the materials themselves!
This activity is best completed in larger Forest School settings but can work anywhere.
For this activity, Forest School leaders will need to take the age of the children attending into account. For younger children, you can use vegetable peelers to stave off the risk of anyone hurting themselves. For older children who have learned outdoor risk management and have the experience, they may be trusted with small knives.
A magic wand requires a decent stick and a lot of patience. Children should use the peeler or knife (under supervision!) to whittle sticks and take off all the bark. Once this is done, they can use pens or paints to decorate them.
Wand making promotes creativity, hand-eye coordination, and helps advance the ideas of risk assessment in young children.
This activity works best in an area with lots of flowers and is great for inspiring play!
Allow the children to go on an adventure and collect flowers. If you have enough set-up time, you could make a list of the kinds of flowers in the area and make it into a kind of treasure hunt. Once they have enough flowers, teach them the basics of making a flower crown. There are two main ways to do this with natural materials: the standard daisy chain, or by knotting together long grass to create a wreath that flowers can be tied onto with more grass.
Flower crowns promote creativity, teamwork, concentration, and fine motor skills.
Build shelter/a den
This activity works best in a scout camp or forest setting.
When setting up the shelter/den building exercise, remember to choose an area that has a lot of long sticks on the ground and large leaves. You may need to provide string or some other basic supplies, but ultimately, the children should be able to build a shelter using mostly natural materials. Encourage them to use trees to help with the structure of their shelter or show them a couple of pre-built examples of your own so they can study them and learn from you.
Building shelters like this are great for introducing survival skills, as well as promoting creativity, communication, and teamwork.
This activity works best in a scout camp or forest setting; as natural as possible.
Give your children a guide or list of things in the area they can find. This activity is essentially a natural scavenger hunt where they can find useful materials in the forest and learn to identify them. Good examples for foraging are seeds, berries, and flowers. However, do warn your school not to eat anything before they’ve checked them with you. It’s best to give them a guide or two to the things they’re looking for, so they don’t accidentally pick up a nettle or a poisonous berry.
Foraging teaches great skills, such as teamwork, communication, and knowledge of nature.
Enjoy all of these activities and try to develop your own for your Forest School programme. Learn more about the benefits of Forest Schools.