Imagination can so often be in short supply in this technological world of ours. Many children, if they are given a choice, prefer to stay inside rather than get out in the fresh air. I know that with H that’s often the way, as he loves to play computer games, and he’s only 6 years old. When he does get outside, he loves it and I intend to make sure that we make the most of the wonderful outdoor places that this country has to offer. Outside in amongst the trees it’s much easier to fire up the imagination and create some interesting ideas, intriguing images and compelling stories.
As you may know, we have been Forestry Commission for the last year. I’ve blogged before about our visits to the Wyre Forest and Hicks Lodge. This summer the Forestry Commission have launched a programme of enchanting activities inviting parents and their children to enjoy the magic of the forest. The Forest Fairy Tales campaign has seen events take place across the country including fairy trails, sculpture making, picnics, crafts and story walks across various Forestry Commission sites. We went to one such event at Wyre Forest recently: a Forest Fairy Trail.
Now I was a bit nervous about taking H along to a Forest Fairy Trail. I wasn’t sure if it would be seen as something ‘for girls’ or whether I would have my scientific son loudly declaring that ‘there’s no such thing’ or something along those lines. The trail was advertised as suitable for 3-8 year olds, but I think he was at the upper end of the age range in reality. I guess if your child is fairy mad then they would enjoy it up to around 8 years of age.
First we were sent off on the fairy trail through the forest. As we went round the forest we found pictures, questions and information about fairies and pixies. We were also tasked with looking for a forest item to give to the fairies as a present at the end. H picked a pine cone which he placed in the wicker basket at the end of the trail. Also at the end of the trail was an area called the stumpery. It was filled with little fairy houses which you had to try and spot amongst the tree stumps. These were very clever and H delighted in trying to spot them before me.
After the trail we went inside to make a wand from birch or willow sticks. H chose a willow stick to create his wizard wand. He decorated it with feathers, ribbon and thread.
Next we made a pixie picture with the pixies clothes being made from natural forest materials. We also used woodland plants to colour his hair and create his features.
By the way, did you know that you can actually camp out at some of the Forestry Commission’s properties? The idea being that you can stay as well as play. So if you are planning to attend a forest fairy tale event or even create your own forest fairy day out, you can consider staying overnight. If you’re quick, there are some competitions to win a stay in the forest in conjunction with the Guardian.
Disclosure: Earlier in the year we received a free Discovery Pass from the Forestry Commission to enable me to visit the Wyre Forest and write about our experiences there.