During my forest school training I always wore my purple waterproof jacket. It wasn’t something I thought about, I just naturally donned my waterproof gear each morning as I set off for the magical woodlands of Hollywood, Co. Wicklow. Maybe I should have given it some consideration, because one day we were told that we needed to disappear. My brown and green hat was perfect for camouflaging in amongst the autumnal leaves and wooded areas. However, purple, no matter how much I tried to obscure it, refused to be tamed! So needless to say I was the first person spotted, but I had great fun in the mean time trying to work magic on my appearance and disappear into the backdrop of the woods.
When I tried this with a group of kids one day, one of the boys could never understand how he kept being spotted, so convinced was he that he really was perfectly camouflaged.
For your next trip to the woods, get creative and see how well you can blend into your surroundings. Trust me the kids will be much harder to spot than the adults.
Use earth to darken the skin of your face, wrap ivy around your torso, stick ferns in the waist band of your trousers, or stick twigs and sticks into the tops of your wellies. Find as many items as you can that have already fallen from trees or that are on the forest floor rather than breaking branches from trees. If you choose to pick living things, such as ferns, pick one from a large area and move onto the next clump, rather than clearing one whole area. A good rule of thumb when picking flowers etc. in the woods is that for every one you pick you should be leaving at least ten behind. Try out a game of ‘1, 2, 3 Where are you?’ (see The How to… Guide, Part 1) and see how much longer it takes to find each other now that you blend in seamlessly with your surroundings.