Yesterday we took Munchkin and BearCub on a new adventure and it turned out to be an adventure for us too!
Ruth had been looking for ‘Forest schools’ in London and came across Nature Play. So, along with a friend and her son we decided to give it a go. As both South and North London are ‘far’ for us, being based in West London, we opted for ‘North’ in Highgate Wood, as this is where our friend lives.
So, the first part of the adventure was an almost hour-long tube journey with the already tired Munchkin and BearCub but they managed to keep themselves (and the rest of the carriage) suitably entertained. We got off at Highgate tube station and were minutes walk away from the wood. However, we then needed to find the ‘water fountain’ which was the meeting place and it turned out none of us had a particularly good sense of direction. Still, as soon as we entered the wood the kids were in heaven – picking up sticks to make ‘marshmallow fires’ and squidging in mud and puddles!
We eventually found the water fountain and were greeted by Sophie who runs the session with her 2-year-old daughter. Shortly after, a couple more mums and a dad with twins joined us. Sophie explained how she’d gone along to the South London Nature Play sessions and really enjoyed them so when she moved house (to North London) she decided to set one up in Highgate. ‘Nature Play North London’ has been going since February and the group turn up come rain or shine – adverse weather only adds to the adventure! Sophie explained how the children never get bored with the Wood and constantly entertain themselves with the surroundings, “Because of the change in weather and seasons the beautiful thing is that the Forest looks different all the time. The children get so excited when something new emerges like Bluebells!’
When everyone had gathered we made our way up a small hill to a clearing where we put out picnic blankets and shared snacks.
Then it was time to explore! The kids LOVED it! The great thing was although we were in the middle of a forest it felt very safe. You could clearly see the kids wherever they went and there was always a soft landing for any tumbles. The experience clearly fed the kids imaginations and soon a game of ‘spot the fairy’ emerged which involved a special ‘fairy pumping stick’!
I think we’d both expected a little more ‘organised’ or ‘guided’ activity but having said that the kids were not at all bored and more than happy to amuse themselves though they did particularly respond to a couple of prompts from adults e.g. making some forest bunting!
We left invigorated and inspired to face the long tube journey home with two even more tired children – that is after it took us half an hour to find our way out of the forest!
All in all a great experience we’d both highly recommend. Now we just need one in West London!
For more info see www.nature-play.co.uk
Also linking up to Country Kids again this week