Wild Family Fun

Tales of living, working and enjoying life in the outdoors


September 22, 2014

Our Last Trip of the Summer

As a part of my work, we run outdoor activities throughout the whole summer holidays. We deliver two trips per day, ranging from walks for under 8’s, through to mountain biking, gorge walking and coasteering for young adults, and much more in between. It’s always a very busy time and, by the end of the summer, even we can’t wait for the children to go back to school!

So, our tired little troupe of outdoor workers, fed up with wearing damp wetsuits and not wanting to see another buoyancy aid for a long while, all decided that our last summer holiday activity would be a forest day, with a small group of under 8’s from a local play centre. Relaxed, not much kit to pack and, (let’s be honest), easier than clambering up a waterfall.

This ended up being one of my most favourite activity trips of the summer.

We didn’t have to travel far, as we went to Forest Fawr in Cardiff, not far from Castell Coch. It’s a wonderful forest area, with lots of safe space for children to roam and explore while still being in constant visual contact of the staff. It’s also where the T.V. series Merlin (as well as episodes of Sherlock Holmes) have been filmed, and this is something that the children love to be able to recognise and relate to.

We loaded our rucksacks with a Kelly Kettle, fire building equipment, tarpaulins for den building, wood cookies for outdoor medals and other bits and bobs for a full day of forest adventures and exploring.

We had a short walk to the site, which has a fire circle already in place and lots of space for den building. The children off-loaded their bags, and couldn’t wait to explore the area. Luckily, we gave them each a set of waterproof clothes and wellies, because it’s easy for us to wash off the kit, and the kids all go home clean and mud free!

They really did need protective clothes, as this was the first thing they spotted!

fallentree

Mother Nature providing the perfect playground!

The children spent ages balancing on the tree, carefully stepping and sliding along it. Eventually, after about twenty minutes, they finally became brave enough to stomp, squelch and jump in the mud, mud, glorious mud!

The staff stopped and took a step back, (thinking that we were the ones who were going to have to wash the kit), but all agreed that the children were having a wonderful time.

mudhands

They say that one picture can say a thousand words…………

After a bit of washing off, we headed to our base for the day. There, we handed out tarpaulins, ropes and string, and then just allowed the children to create their own dens. What struck me the most, was how the children worked together and didn’t need (or seek) our help. They were so confident and comfortable in the environment that they didn’t need adult intervention.

That’s how it should be…… child-led play.

It was so amazing to watch. As outdoor workers, that’s what we strive to see. Play is such an important experience for children, as it allows them to develop in so many different ways. Seeing the children happy, confident and totally in control of choosing how and what they want to play. It was wonderful.

We spent the rest of the afternoon learning about fire-safety, and how to make fires. The children loved having the opportunity to learn how to make a fire in a safely controlled environment. It was something they’ve never been allowed to do, and to see them working responsibly in pairs, on such a risky activity, was great. Then, the staff cooked popcorn on an open fire, which was enjoyed by everyone, both young and old.

mudphoto1

……………….and, of course, there was even more mud!

All the children and the staff had such an amazing day. It’s funny, sometimes, that people often “talk-up” activities such as gorge walking, canoeing and mountain biking. People are amazed that we get involved in delivering those sorts of activities to children and young adults. But, to this tired and weary outdoor worker, (at the end of a long summer programme), this simple yet fun-filled adventure in the forest has to be one of my favourite memories of this summer.

sometimes, the simple things in life are truly the best!

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Learning for Life

 

 



26 thoughts on “Our Last Trip of the Summer

  1. When I were a lad, we didn’t have mountains and rivers they hadn’t been invented yet. Also what hadn’t been invented all those years ago were jobs like yours or people to fill them. Adults who didn’t lead the children in everything they did but who stood back and watched the children have fun, become inventive and best of all be creative.
    Kim, you’re a Star as are those who work with you and the scheme that allows you to do so much for the children.There are times reading your posts when I wish I’d been born a lot later than I was.
    I’m not surprised you’re tired after a Summer of it, but just imagine how long the children will carry these memories and what they’ll pass on to their own children one day thanks to you.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

    1. kim says:

      Hi David,
      Everyone needs comments from you, its what makes a post so worthwhile. Thank you.
      I was very worried taking the children back home covered in mud, but it was so worth it when they started telling their Mums about how much fun thay had on the trip. A bit of mud never hurt anyone!
      Its always great when I see confident and happy children on an activity, it means I’m doing my job correctly.
      Thank you again, take care.
      Kim

  2. Forests are my favorite. They are always refreshing. I love that you covered fire safety and let the kids be involved.

    1. kim says:

      I love forest, a great place for exploring.
      Fire activities can always be a bit tricky, but worth it when the children understand the rules and stick to them.

  3. Coombemill says:

    I can see where you are coming from and also it is lovely to see the excitement on little ones faces doing something as simple as fire building and mud squelching when they are not used to it. Lovely photos and well done on what sounds like a successful if tiring summer.

    1. kim says:

      Hi, it was such a simple but wonderful day out. The children made it so fun and sometimes its the little things that make an adventure worthwhile.

  4. Christine says:

    Sounds like they had great fun. We had a wildlife explorer meeting at the weekend (I’m a leader) and we’d planned a tree shaking activity to find bugs but the kids were more interested in climbing the trees so they did that instead. I’m not sure it was easier for the leaders as we had to keep an eye on how high the older ones were climbing! #letkidsbekids

    1. kim says:

      Wow wildlife explorer sounds like so much fun. How great to provide children with a scheme like that.
      Climbing trees is a must, I find it hard to keep my two feet on the ground when we’re in the wooods!
      #letkidsbekids

  5. Louisa says:

    Wow, you have a very rewarding job. My son learnt how to make fires and toasted marsh mallows at Scouts last night. He had a ball ( as did my husband who stayed as a leader for the event) #letkidsbekids

    1. kim says:

      Yes I am very lucky with my job, get to take children on such lovely adventures.
      Making a fire is so much fun, and toasting marshmallows is a must!
      #letkidsbekids

  6. Sounds like a lovely outdoor adventure, what a great way to let the children be free and learn. We love muddy puddles and need to spent more time on the wild side with our children just letting them do their thing. #letkidsbekids

    1. kim says:

      Thank you, I think the element of freedom is what made the day so successful.
      Such a simple but wonderful day.
      #letkidsbekids

  7. TheBoyandMe says:

    This warms my heart. I wanna go! 😉

    1. kim says:

      It is your type of day! Lets do it and make it an event. The more the merrier I think!

  8. Wow, this sounds like my kind of day. I do love to go out exploring in the forest, there is something quite magical about it. I hope my children will continue to enjoy activities like this from now until adulthood!

    1. kim says:

      The forest is so amazing, we are so lucky where we live.
      I’m sure your children will love outdoor adventures if they see you enjoying them too.
      Thank you.

  9. Kierna says:

    Oh this sounds like my idea of a perfect day too, Kim. Thanks for supporting the OPP xx

    1. kim says:

      It was wonderful, a great finish to the summer. Glad I could link up to Outdoor Play Party.

  10. Woohoo!! That mud looks amazing, I’m ready to jump in 🙂

    1. kim says:

      There was a lot of mud that day. Who could resist jumping in!

  11. Aww just reading about it makes me so happy already. I can only imagine how fun it is to do this in real life. We have been limited lately as its already autumn and we dont know if we can still camp out. But what do you know. Look at the weather? Still not as cold as waht we’ve expected. Love this post of yours. #letkidsbekids

    1. kim says:

      Thank you, we had such a wonderful time. So simple, going for a walk in the forest but really was a brilliant day.
      The weather is beautiful at the moment, its a favourite time of year.
      #letkidsbekids

  12. Karen Bell says:

    What wonderful basic fun led by children. I love seeing kids get stuck into mud play, den building and how great they got the opportunity to make a safe fire too. It sounds like a perfect day for kids
    Thanks for linking #LetKidsbeKids

    1. kim says:

      Thank you, I think thats what made the day so successful. All the play and ideas came from the children. So great for the staff to see that style of play as well.
      #LetKidsBeKids

  13. Wow, I love your muddy pictures. Forest fun at it’s best x
    #letkidsbekids

    1. kim says:

      Thank you, it was my favourite photo of the day. It sums up the fun from the day.
      #letkidsbekids

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