3D structures, Angles, Transient Art and lots of great conversation, whilst making Hot Chocolate and Smores (toasted marshmallows between biscuits)
This activity helps to promote group cohesion, physical activity and communication (social & emotional learning)
It can be a useful activity to calm a group, or to identify and resolve group problems and tensions. Some children can find it very difficult to relax and trust everyone to support them. They may show this in different ways – by refusing to take part, or by fooling about. Don’t push anyone to take part if they are not comfortable, but encourage everyone to be supportive of each other.
Set the scene –
- you may want to hide the rope to be discovered in a treasure tree or similar spot. When it is found, discuss how it is important in Forest School to be able to rely on each other and trust one another.
- One large polypropylene rope with its ends tied.
- Children hold the rope in a circle
- Everyone leans back slowly to take the strain and balance the circle.
- When everyone is in balance and harmony, the feeling is of mutual group support.
- Counting can help provide a challenge – for example ‘can everyone hold each other up for a count of 50?’ and improve concentration.
- Note who finds this easy/ difficult, or who cannot lean back with confidence. Discuss this with the individual and look to the group to offer peer support.
- Repeating the activity over a number of sessions can help you to review how the group cohesion is improving, and how individual children’s confidence with their peers may be growing.
This is a great sensory activity, using the sense of touch, to explore the trees in your Forest School site. It is also an extremely valuable way to develop co- operation, trust and care for each other. Language skills are also supported when descriptive words are encouraged.
You will need:
enough blindfolds for half your group. Ribbons may be useful if you wish to pre-select your trees. Otherwise leave step 1 out.
1 Prepare for the activity by marking double the number of trees to children in your group using ribbons – choosing a variety of tree types, sizes and shapes if possible.
2 Pair up the children and instruct them how to lead each other safely if one of them is blindfolded. Point out any potential hazards for the blindfold person – uneven ground, tree roots, twigs at eye height etc – and demonstrate how to guide someone carefully (no pulling or pushing).
3 Tell them they are going to get to know their own tree in the wood – they should feel its bark, the shape of its leaves, anything growing at the bottom, where the branches start and how many there are, what it smells like, how wide its trunk is.
4 One child in the pair then leads the other blindfolded to a marked tree or a tree of their choice, and then their blindfolded partner has a few minutes to get to know the tree.
5 The children return to their starting point still wearing their blindfolds and being led carefully.
6 Only then can they remove their blindfolds – they then can have three guesses to identify their tree.
Encourage them to feel, look and remember carefully.
7 The pair can then swap roles and repeat the activity.
Aims: to promote understanding of trees using sensory learning, care for each other – cognitive learning & interpersonal skills
This activity develops an understanding of the sensory qualities of the tree and helps the child develop an emotional connection with the woodland environment.