Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Ready to play?

Ready? Forest Tots is back on Friday (7th September).

We have a new fire pit to play with so I think marshmallows are on the cards ;o)

The stream is currently dry due to the building works going on further down the marsh :o( on the bright side I guess we now have one of those dry creek beds that early years outdoor practitioners get so excited about! Maybe it will even be fun?

Looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible and catching up after the summer. New families are always welcome so pop on down and see what we are all about!

Please could everybody use the side gate (the one behind the forestry shed) as the top of the grounds is now a building site and we'd be best to stay away.

See you there!

Monday, 14 May 2012

Women in wellies!!! (and a few Dads too)

Hen, Meg and I gathered in the garden for a pre Tots picnic on Friday and it was simply beautiful. The beech leaves are just out, all soft and pale green. The birds were was just what I needed after a crazy busy week! Then slowly the hoards descended......

Tots is really busy at the moment, we are getting a minimum of twenty families every week, rain or shine! Normally that includes at least three families with more than one child...which is....lots of kids ;-)

The thing that struck me most on Friday as I wondered around chatting and taking photos was not the kids though (although they are easily the most photogenic!) but the parents. We have lots of Mums, a few Dads (I think they are probably of the brave sort to come along and socialise with so many women!) and a handful of grandparents and even a childminder or two! And all of them....every single one....get stuck in to the Forest Tots ethos. You find them in the stream, knee deep. Drawing in the mud with sticks, gratefully receiving another mud pie ("oh yum! Thanks!) climbing up and down the banks, hiding in the bushes.......

So this post goes out to the Mums, Dads, Grand folk and all the other carers who make Forest Tots Rock! Because without them and their enthusiasm, their willingness to get stuck in and to rediscover their own inner child.....none of this could happen!

Friday, 11 May 2012

Build a Roundhouse in the Forest of Dean

Build a Roundhouse

in the Forest of Dean

A ten day hands-on workshop with Tony Wrench

August 19th- 31st 2012

Experience communal building and sustainable construction practices as we build a 5m diameter roundhouse with wood henge, reciprocal frame roof with turf cover and cobwood walls.

This project is to create an educational space in the woods for Forest Schools. The roundhouse will be used by Forest Tots, and the Dean Field Studies Centre at Parkend, a children’s activity centre. The project will use tree trunks felled at source, and recycled donated local materials.

Camp on-site in lovely surroundings in private grounds surrounded by woodland. Fabulous access by steam railway!

Course fees are set low - you will be doing plenty of physical work!

15 places available. Concessionary rates are available to the first 4 who volunteer to run the catering (buying & cooking). The course fee includes camping on site plus use of facilities at the centre: showers, common room, drying room, and kitchen.
Course: £150 including camping

Food: Suggested £6 a day (funds pooled)
Concessionary Caterers fee: £75 (4 places only)

Overnight accommodation is available at the centre for £95 for the duration of the course (must be booked in advance). Accommodation is also available at the Fountain Inn next to the site.

For enquiries or to book please contact Debbie:

Email: Tel: 01594 562444

Dean Field Studies Centre, Parkend, Lydney, Glos GL15 4JA


Friday, 4 May 2012

Keeping busy.

It's funny to look at these photos that we took today. The session doesn't look busy. But it was! There are 26 families signed in on our sheet, many of whom have two kids. So we must have had over 30 kids there today! It felt completely crazy busy....but the photos look idyllic!

The group is going from strength to strength. We had some amazingly good funding news today, meaning we now have the money to purchase our own fire pit (the one we use is borrowed) along with a clear tarp to replace the cloche cover we are currently using! And there will be plenty left over to see us through the winter months with numbers slightly lower given the weather and illness etc. Although to be honest the weather these last few weeks has been far worse than it ever was during the winter!

These last few weeks have been yielding seven or so new families every week! Finally we are also getting a much higher return rate, and it has been really exciting to see people coming back and getting to know them better. We will try and get the 'let's go out and play' contact list fully running in the next week or so....then all we need is a bit of summer!! Feel free to get out in the garden over the weekend and do a sunshine dance or two! We are sooooo bored of rain and mud now!

Sunday, 29 April 2012

It's a drought (didn't you realise?)

It has rained here just about all day so we thought we'd take advantage of a brief break in the deluge to get the kids outside....and see if the FT garden was flooded at the same time.

So this is what we found. If water levels are this high the stream if most definitely too high for Tots to play in - it was just below my knees!

Maybe we need to start planning some dry/non stream activities......just in case!

Friday, 27 April 2012

Oh my!

When it rains for days on end.....the world turns to mud!

When it rains for days on end......families from all over the Forest decide to go out anyway, because there's only so many jigsaws a toddler can do.

When it rains for days on end......Forest Tots have their busiest week to date!

So let's get muddy!

Twenty one families in splishy spalshy squishy squashy Forest Tots heaven!

Friday, 20 April 2012

Splish Splash Splosh!!

There was no doubt about it - today was officially a wet day! As we set the tarps up before the session we were hopeful that we might, just might get away with it.....but no. The heavens opened and down came the wet stuff.

So seeing as we were all slightly damp anyway......we played parachute games Forest Tots style (you don't have to be mad ....but it helps!).

The 'parachute' was a large sheet of opaque plastic (clear would be better - this piece has been used as a garden cloche for a few years and is no longer see through). Rather than adding a teddy, or a few balls.....we added a bucket of water! The result was hilarious and was completely enjoyed by all.

Some got up close and personal (and wet!), whilst others looked on from afar (apparently it made a fairly amusing spectator sport too!).

Whilst all of this was going on, one of the younger ones took the chance to play in the stream without getting splashed by big three year olds running around!

The 'parachute' took on a second lease of life as a muddy skid mat, and these two little ones discovered that you could 'pour' the puddles!

 More water needed!

When the rain got heavy we found Mums sheltering in ever more ingenious places!

Until the shout of "marshmallows" bought everybody rushing to rewarm round the fire.

Yeap....our wettest (but probably most enjoyed) session yet!