I sit here on the eve of Solstice, finishing off what I can before joining nature at this time of rest. As I look through the last three months I realise how much has happened. I took on a Postgraduate course in Entrepeneurship and Innovation in September and I think it’s safe to say that I had fun adapting some of this thinking into some outdoor fun and games. The birth of Naturvation, where Nature and Innovation meet.
We kicked off last Sticks and Stones session at the Hollies with a giant game of Snakes and Ropes. How many things can we make out of wool and sticks ? And the classic Marshmallow challenge. All went down a treat.
I love exploring the possibilities of learning through play and inspiration hit when someone was throwing out these 6 cardboard tubes and sparked off a whole series of games that allowed me to explore maths in action.
The first game involved throwing dice and getting to the tubes to pick one. Inside each one was a challenge. Make as many triangles as you can out of 9 sticks, sort concurs into smaller containers by number, bundle sticks in numbers and make things from clay and sticks.
The following week we had to throw a dice and knock over a tube that contained potatoes. We attempted to make potato prints so we could make our own wrapping paper for Christmas.
During a scavenger hunt we gathered different amounts of things which we attempted to balance in a mobile.
We carried out Science Experiments. The most favourite by far being the volcano which returned on two more occasions due to popular demand.
Story continues to open doors to imaginary play, where more on more I find the kids stepping into the roles in the story and playing them out in action. We welcomed the ancestors to dinner for Samhain and found our superpowers for the day. We danced with the Oak and Holly King for the Solstice, making wishes on cotton thread and burying them at the root of Grandmother tree to take into the New Year.
We made pencils, hunted for bugs and decorated a tree for the birds to celebrate Christmas in our absence.
On one of our monthly Saturdays at The Hollies we were treated to a morning of animal connection by Selvi. We learned how to read their body language and change ours so that we could interact with them in a more considered way. The kids loves this. We fed the sheep, Hung out with the horses, learned how to hold a chicken and be with dogs.
And somehow within all of that we still had time for some risky play, silly games and plenty of time to just be in nature.
So for now, from me and all the Mucky Boots gang I would like to wish you all a wild and wonderful Solstice, Christmas and New Year. Thank you so much for your continued support. We will be back in action again from February with some new seedling ventures to share.
Written by Niamh Geoghegan Co-ordinator and co-founder at Mucky Boots Forest School