It’s the summer holidays and many families have more time to spend together away from the structure of school days and rigid timetables. Be it the weekend or a week’s holidays away from home, finding ways of getting out of the house and keeping everyone happy can, for some, be difficult to manage. How often have I heard an adult announce to a group of children “okay, we’re off for a walk” only to hear the children groan in response. “It’s boring”, “it’s too far” or “I’m tired” are the usual reasons that kids give for not wanting to go out for a walk. However, offer to take them to the woods and play some games, they’ll be clambering to get out the door and on their way. Forest school style activities can be easy to organise and very often the only resources you’ll need are those things that you can find on the forest floor as you’re making your way through the woods. Over the coming weeks I will introduce you to activities and games that you can play with all the family. Add any of these simple ideas to your next trip to the woods and see how engaged your children will become, you might even find as an adult that you too enjoy your “walk” in the woods even more.
You’re Only Safe If…..
This is a version of tag or catch with one person “on” trying to catch the others, but the den or safe space changes with each round.
1. The person who is on calls “You’re only safe if…. you’re touching something green.” Everyone else must run and find something green to touch, they are only safe once they are touching something green, until that time the person who is on can catch or tag them.
2. Once everyone is either safe (i.e. touching something green) or has been caught, start a new round with a new safe space, for example “You’re only safe if you’re standing on a fallen tree.” Again everyone runs to safety hoping to be standing on a fallen tree before the person who is on has a chance to catch them. And so on.
3. There are a few variations to this game, once a person is caught they can then help the original catcher to tag more people, or they can become the person who is on and calls out the next “You’re only safe if…”
4. Use the environment you are in to help you decide where people will be safe. It’s a fun way to help with tree and leaf identification- “you’re only safe if you’re touching an oak tree”, or to discover new textures in the woods- “you’re only safe if you’re touching something soft” like moss, “something prickly” like holly leaves, or “something crunchy” like dead leaves from the forest floor. Keep it as simple or make it as complicated as you like, depending on the age of your kids, and how comfortable you are with identifying trees and other species in the woods.
Don’t forget to check back in for a new activity next week.