This weekend just gone, Sara and I took the boys in to some very treacherous woods and pushed one of them down a hill, whilst balancing the other precariously at the top of a muddy ledge. Before you call Childline, I should probably explain – it’s alright, because loads of other parents were doing the same thing!
Okay, so it’s not quite as bad as it sounds – and maybe I exaggerated the “pushing” part above…! We were actually taking part in a “Learning Through Nature” day which had been organised by Robert’s (excellent) pre-school, along with a lot of other pupils and their families.
I don’t know whether “Learning through Nature” is a national thing or something they’ve made up, but essentially it happens once a week at school, and involves the children being taken in to the parkland and woodland near their school to do naturey things – looking for bugs and animals, learning about leaves and trees – that sort of thing.
As it always goes down very well with the children, the staff decided to extend it to families for a special, one-off weekend event. So, on Saturday morning we all traipsed in to the woods (not an easy feat with a stroller, I can tell you) and took part in lots of fun activities together. We built dens, hunted for “mini beasts”, guided each-other round rope-trails while blindfolded, started fires and weaved twigs (you can see my creation on the left – I call it “The emptiness of the forest – a study in wood”. We even got a barbecued lunch thrown in.
And best of all – they ran the whole thing for just £1 per family. ONE POUND! I couldn’t even pay for the string I used to build the den with a bloody pound! Amazing.
Perhaps the hairiest moment for me was watching Robert and Sara sliding down a very steep muddy bank in to a massive ditch, which they then had to climb out of with a very long rope. I thought I could get out of it by staying at the top minding Freddie’s stroller (which was perched precariously at the ledge), but eventually I was forced down myself, where I proceeded to surprise even myself by how little embarrassment I caused.
It was a great way to spend a few hours, and a real “family day” – something we get to do far too infrequently, with modern life so regularly getting in the way. I’d highly recommend it!