Bosinver’s Wild Kids sessions aim to encourage exploration of the natural environment and imaginative outdoor play – and to counteract what has been called ‘nature deficit’ by campaigner Richard Louv.
As the school holidays are now in full swing we are offering two Wild Kids sessions – one for the under 6’s and a later group for the 6 and overs so that we can offer some more fun and practical hands on projects down in the woods.
Whilst the little ones make fairy wands and houses, stick men and toast marshmallows on the campfire, the older ones (many of whom have stayed with us before and experienced Wild Kids’ fun) are now benefiting from our leader Tatum’s Forest School training and are learning some basic bushcraft skills and learning to appreciate the natural world around them.
Last week the children all experienced lighting their own fire with a fire striker, cotton wool and Vaseline. They gathered a variety of dry wood, starting with the tiniest sticks and there was much huffing and puffing as tiny embers were encouraged to burst into flames. Six little fires were burning under supervision and some very happy faces proved that they had enjoyed every smoke filled minute!
This was followed by ‘sausaging’ around the main campfire and all the children cooked and ate their own hot dogs! The Eugelie girls made a late arrival as they had been experiencing a ‘Wet and Wild’ day at Porthpean Activity centre and whilst canoeing had shown all the boys up in their group and caught 12 mackerel with a hand line. These were duly cooked on the fire too much to the girls’ delight and Tatum who took some home for tea.
This week, encouraged by Pat’s recent course on bee awareness, we set about building our own Bug Hotel. We searched the internet for some good examples of construction and spent the week getting the materials together, ranging from small cardboard tubes for solitary bee nests found online, old hollow branches of buddleia bushes, cow parsley stems, old thatching straw, dead grass and leaves, some pine cones, air bricks, small cord wood and rolled up carpet and cardboard. The framework was several wooden pallets and Farmer Dave fixed a corrugated iron roof to make it waterproof in the winter.
Firstly the children went on a mini beast hunt to see what was easy to find in the wood and down by the lake. They discovered an adult toad and toadlets, worms, caterpillars, slugs, spiders, beetles to name a few so they knew that area was rich in wildlife. We then set about building our bug hotel following the best design we could find.
The children were amazing, so energetic and enthusiastic, all eager to help. Farmer Dave and the dads kept busy showing the children how to drill some holes in the ends of logs for bee homes and the hotel soon took shape.
Here it is in all its glory. We built it above the ground and made sure it faced due south to catch the sun and filled the gaps with straw and dried grass for warmth. All we have to do now is be patient and wait for our residents to arrive!