Oh I know what you’re thinking, blogging is so 2007 but hey, it’s a record of what we do and apparently some of the kids like reading it (check out the volcano explosion YouTube entry from last term for example) and it’s like a virtual community, man.

We started back last week and made swishy ribbon willow stick twirly-abouty things which went down well, Paula murdered the Sparkling Seahorses song on the guitar but words were learnt by new folk and sack racing fun was had by all.

This week a pirate visited us, a real live one (one of the kids asked if he wore pants during his story of the pantless pirate), we’ll have to ask him… He told us pirate tales, made treasure maps with us and sang us the okey kokey with a piratical twist.

Talkin’ of pirate nonsense: Don’t forget, Llandoger Trow in King Street Friday night for the International Talk Like a Pirate night of song and rum drinkin’.


Only a few of us managed to go to this but the weather was great and we did some games with the other groups in the District out on the grass: a football version of rounders, the Giants-Wizards-Elves game and some parachute game then a big game of Sharks resulting in an injury to Poppy in our group but soon plastered and she was up and running. We didn’t stay til the end where other groups did performances and ate Ploughmans and enjoyed a ceilidh, next year…

On the way home from the City Farm today I was explaining to Jude that, if you were careful, you could eat some wild p

lants. I took a bite of the root of a ‘hedge garlic’ or somesuch onion-related plant to show him (OK I admit, slightly cockily). About 2 minutes later my mouth nearly exploded with searing pain and my throat felt like it was closing up.

When I explained the sorry tale to Nige he laughed and said it was old permaculture joke that it’s easily mixed up with Lords and Ladies which has mild sulphuric acid or similar in its root.

Ho ho ho.

This isn’t the first time I have failed to show any bushcraft prowess. So far we showed the Woodchips how to put up a tent with no tent, have at least once locked everyone out of the building, forgotten to take a penknife to cut open oranges for juicing in the park

Weather very sunny so we mooched about in the Quaker Meeting House garden. We had a circle time and found out how everyone’s holiday had been. We then played Duck Duck Goose and did some ‘dot voting’ – I had a list of crafts and activities we could do and everyone got to put a sticker next to their favourite 3, tent putting-up, cardboard cities and making windmills being the favourites so far…

I told the story of the Tortoise and the Magic Tree and we sang our song. Nice and laid back today!

Nige opened the session with some running around in the hall, which sorted him out and the kids seemed to fancy doing it too (ho ho ho!). This was followed by a longish circle time where everyone had the chance to say something and to think about their Woodcraft names (so far we have the likes of Sleeping Tiger, Cherry Blossom, Rambling Rose, Polar Bear and Snowflake Star).

Gem then made pine cone bees with the children – wrapping yellow wool around the cones and around the netting wings, they looked fab and they all went into the garden to buzz them around to say hello to one another! Thanks Gem!

Paula told the story of the Monkey and the Papa God, about a monkey who loved honey. Pete played Abumdie on the guitar and the children were picking up the actions. We closed with the Sparkling Seahorses song and alot of loud shouting ‘goodbye’, a sort of primal scream therapy I think! Oh and Lindsey made us all a grand cuppa, thanks to all.


A post from my friend at Get Fitter…

It was a gift of a day yesterday with puffs of cloud scudding across a blue sky, and golden spring sunshine.  My kids are on their Easter break, a time when many parents feel the pressure to provide entertainment and expensive days out; the first second that you set foot inside a kid-oriented venue, there will be someone at hand to lighten your pockets.  Why do you have to exit the zoo through the shop, why do you need an LED sword in order to enjoy a pantomime, why do our kids need to be tempted by overpriced and unhealthy snacks EVERYWHERE we go?  Sometimes the more effort and expense involved in a day out, the more stress, less enjoyment and greater risk out burn-out, and/or disappointment.  If you are fed up of spending holidays queuing with swarms of other stressed parents and hoards of spoilt kids, returning home in the car to half an hour of tired bickering and pockets full of sticky wrappers and plastic junk, simply opt out!  Arm yourself against pester-power and let the spring time be your theme-park! 

Yesterday I spent a perfect sunny afternoon with a friend and our four children out in the woods and fields.  We took a bag with some water, bread and raisins, some binoculars, a camera, blanket and a wild flower guide.  The kids mucked about in the stream, poked sticks under rocks, explored the woods, ran in the fields and had a great time.  My friend and I even had the time to laze on a primrose bank, soak up some sun and watch them bumbling around at a distance, enjoying some of the independence and freedom that city kids rarely experience.  The afternoon was fantastic, everyone has lots of fun, it cost only the petrol to get there, and there was no whining and pestering about wanting this or that; pure simple enjoyment. All the kids are desperate to get back and re-explore their favorite places.   
A simple day out is a healthy-option for the holidays.  All you need is a little preparation; wellies, spare clothes in the car in the event of over-enthusiastic puddle stamping, a bag of fruit and water and a few good ideas to keep all ages happy;
  • Take wild flower or animal guides, a flower press, or camera.
  • Build a bivouac or shelter with bigger kids.
  • Find a bridge or stream for pooh sticks, or build little boats or rafts from found materials to race with bigger kids.
  • Hold a roly-poly competition (ensure that you know what dock leaves look like).
  • Find a climbing tree, or logs to balance on (endless entertainment).
Keep it simple and energetic, and look for areas with plenty of places to explore and poke around in.  Every time we do this I am freshly surprised by how much fun can be squeezed out of a simple walk, and fresh air and open space will let the kids blow away the cobwebs and fully exercise their bodies.
For ideas on urban and other places to visit www.bbc.co.uk/breathingplaces
For wildlife info and games for kids   www.naturedetectives.org.uk/springwatch/index.htm
Once again, the urbanites will not miss-out, as there is a collection of walks through towns and cities: http://www.ramblers.org.uk/info/urbanwalks.html  (For walks in the US and Canada try http://walking.about.com/od/trails/Walking_Trails_and_Destinations.htm or http://www.trails.com/activities.asp?area=14949 )
For mountain bike paths and trails www.moredirt.co.uk
Also check out your local council website which can be a wealth of info on free events in local parks and museums to keep kids entertained.
For country side walks without using a car to get there check your local council website http://www.bristol.gov.uk/ccm/content/Environment-Planning/Countryside/countryside-walks—exploring-the-countryside-without-a-car.en
We have been led to believe that children can only be kept happy and educated if they are provided with an interactive button to press, a zillion opportunities to purchase souvenirs (which they will immediately leave under the bed and forget), and crammed full of kid junk food.  There is a reason that we are fed this line, and it is that other people are making huge amounts of money out of our desire to keep our kids happy.  But these things don’t always provide golden memories, happy smiling relaxed children and contented parents, in fact usually the opposite.  Toddlers to teens will benefit from some time spent outside surrounded by nature and away from the endless noise and expense of the commercial world.  So chuck some snacks and a blanket in a bag, and get out into the open with your family and friends to enjoy simple holiday pleasures.
Until next time,
Be springy,

this is from the Global Village Venturer Camp (13-16 years I think) a couple of years ago…


Weather: windy but bright

We had quite a lot of children today, partly as lots of us turned up and partly as we’ve been reluctant to turn people away. It was great, as usual, but we need to stop taking more children now!

We did a long-ish circle time to try to get some names but need to work out a better way to do this. We looked at some seeds in various fruits and vegetables and then put some alfalfa seeds in cotton wool egg box nest for watering at home. We went outside and let off some steam with the seesaw etc and parachute then Karen brought her guitar and some instruments for a rendition of ‘she’ll be coming round the mountain when she comes’ – amazing concentration by those who joined in, well done!

Paula told the story of the Little Red Hen and the Ear of Wheat on a growing theme and sang our Sparkling Seahorses song. Next week pine cone bees with Gem!