Below are some online resources to support mark making from home:
Draw Together is an online art class by illustrator Wendy Mac. You can find her on Instagram where she is streaming live classes every day or catch up here:
Would highly recommend, even younger children can join in with you at home, so kick back for half an hour and enjoy!
Check out Picture Book Author Events Online for lots of live streaming tutorials from our favourite children's authors. Learn how to draw the ladybird from "What the ladybird heard" & more.
Happy mark making!
Inspired by one of our favourite story sacks, ‘Shaun the Shy Shark’ (see Tapestry for our own rendition of it!) why not try and make your own story sacks using your favourite stories and toys from home? You could also get really creative and design some finger or hand puppets. See below for a lots of different ways to make your own:
Another story telling method is The Helicopter Technique, which Our Pre-Schoolers love to join in with. This is where the children are encouraged to write their own short stories with the help of an adult and then everyone gets to act the stories out on a stage.
What story telling opportunities can you create at home? Can you make up your own tales and characters? Let us know what stories you come up with!
I have made a mini tutorial video (go to Tapestry to check it out!) showing the basics of how to have a fire like in our Forest School sessions. This is something you can do in your gardens or if you have BBQ’s at home and is a great activity for children to get involved in. Despite the risks associated with fire lighting as long as you follow all the safety procedures there is no reason why children can’t be hands on. This kind of activity promotes risk awareness skills as children start to learn how to keep themselves safe and supports their general understanding of their environment and the natural world. Why not go for a walk beforehand and collect all your sticks for your fire – you can even make a sorting game out of it to help support mathematical skills, getting your child to find different sized sticks and then arranging them into piles ready for your fire.
Fires are great for a whole range of activities – we have made bird feeders, our own charcoal for mark making and have done lots of cooking, to name a few. Here are some links for two of our favourite recipes we use at Forest School:
(Take out the olives if you prefer – you can be really experimental with this recipe adding whatever you like. We’ve tried adding cheese, chorizo, garlic or you could make it sweet with cinnamon or chocolate – go crazy!)
If anyone is interested in having a charcoal making tutorial, I can post one for you, just let me know.
How to stay safe (please read before attempting your own):
Create a fire circle using markers to indicate to children where is safe to go or not (unlike me in the video!) The distance the markers need to be from the middle varies depending on how windy it is, how big your fire is and the age of child participating, but an average should be at least 1.5m away from the fire.
Have containers of water available – a. for any accidental burns & b. to ignite your fire at the end.
When collecting sticks try and find dry, dead wood or your fire will be hard to light and very smoky. If a stick snaps easily with a ‘crack’ it is safe to assume it is good to use.
Keep long hair tied back and don’t wear clothes with any toggles of lose hanging bits.
Have fire gloves to hand.
If you are lighting a fire straight on to the earth make sure the area is clear of debris such as grass/leaves etc which could ignite and spread.
When your fire is all finished make sure to put it out using lots of water. Make sure there are no grey bits of wood or embers left. When properly out the wood should be cool enough to touch.
A few of our Pre-Schoolers were recently belting out the lyrics to Bon Jovi’s ‘Livin’ on a prayer’, much to our amusement. So why not take this a step further and create your own mini band whilst at home?!
To help burn off some of that energy we’re sure your children are full of at the moment here are some clever DIY musical instrument activities you can make together and then get jamming along to!
Can you make a new and unusual sound with your instruments? Can you play really, really loudly, or really, really quietly? Can you play slow or fast? Can you play along to one of your favourite songs or nursery rhymes? What can you wear to look the part?
Let us know what creations you come up with!
Spring foraging activities:
Foraging is a great way to get children interested in their natural environments and engaging with different types of plants in new ways. Below are four basic and easy to find foraging plants that you can find on walks around the countryside and in hedgerows to make delicious drinks and meals with:
A really simple thing to do is pick the fresh leaves and chop with butter, toasted on some bread makes a yummy garlic bread. For more wild garlic recipes and how to find it click the link below:
To most, dandelions are just weeds, however the whole of the plant is edible and can be used to make natural dyes, salads and even a natural coffee! See below for how:
(You can skip the dehydrator stage if you don’t have one)
This versatile weed can be made into a yummy crisp snack or used in more filling meals such as nettle soup:
(See images below for an alternative to this recipe).
Goose grass/sticky weed spring tonic
Not just a funny trick to throw on your friends back, sticky weed is packed full of goodness:
What natural food and drink creations can you find and make?
Why not take a break from the pressures of ‘home schooling’ and make a DIY cinema in your home? Get all your duvets, comfy pillows and beans bags on the floor, find the biggest bowl for popcorn or your favourite snacks and kick back with a great film. You could take inspiration from drive throughs and make your own cardboard cars to watch the film from! Older children could even get creative designing their own film tickets and set up ticket booths.
It’s important to remember how vital spending fun and quality time together can be in times where emotions are running higher than normal. Children will be absorbing a lot of the ‘adult tensions’ floating around at the moment and struggling to understand why they aren’t going to nursery or school and why they can’t see their friends or family members. Time spent with your child/ren which is focused solely on supporting their mental health and wellbeing will be ensure they feel safe and comforted during a stressful and uncertain period in their lives.
With all the glorious sunshine we’ve been having it’s the perfect weather for making shadows! If you can get outside experiment with making your shadows bigger and smaller, can your shadow ‘catch’ someone else’s?
Indoors you can hang up a sheet or use windows and lights to make your own shadow puppet shows either using props, your hands or why not make your own puppets? These kinds of activities support children’s literacy skills, imaginative play and their creative thinking, allowing them opportunities to explore story structures retelling favourite tales or making up their own.
Here's some shadow play inspiration, let us know what you get up to:
Let’s talk bubbles!
Bubbles are an amazing activity for children of all ages. Some of the many benefits of bubble play are:
As well as using a bubble machine, you can make your own giant bubbles using some basic toys or resources from around the house so you can have giant bubble fun outside or make your own bubble tunnels.
See below for some giant bubble recipes and activity ideas:
Anyone else enjoying some bubble play at home?
This morning I took a much-needed mindfulness walk to the Badger Woods. Mindfulness is something we encourage the children to take part in, especially at the end of our Forest School sessions. We use the time to sit or lie quietly looking up at the trees and seeing what different sounds we can hear. This time helps ground the children after a busy session and supports their transition into the next period of the day. We are lucky enough to have a whole range of different birds to listen to when we are down in the woods – how many types of birds can you hear in this video?
When feeling emotional and anxious it helps to take a minute for your self and find some peace where ever you are, which applies for both adults and children! Whether it’s outdoors or in, try and find a quiet spot and pause for a minute today.