Wild Family Fun

Tales of living, working and enjoying life in the outdoors


My Sunday Photo

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My daughter and her friends found this giant up-rooted tree, while walking in the forest.

I didn’t want to reduce the size of the image, as I wanted to show the massive scale of the tree and its’ roots.

It certainly made me slightly awestruck, and happily amazed at the wonders of nature.

Once again, Mother Nature shows us how awesome she is, and puts our place in this world into perspective !!

OneDad3Girls

365 Project Week 8

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39: A nice relaxing Sunday and I had to take this photo as proof. My daughter watching a movie and picking from a bowl of salad. Yes salad, my husband and I were amazed!

40: A brilliant start to the half term holidays. Lots of lovely outdoor fun with a full day of Forest Schools. Lots and lots of mud.

41: Another busy day and a walk to Skirrid yr Eira waterfalls in Brecon. A long but lovely walk without any moans and groans.

42: We took a group of children to Porthkerry park on Wednesday. Another great day in the forest and we all ended up to our knees in the stream splashing and having lots of fun.

43: A day of cooking at home. Lovely banana cakes and strawberry jelly ready for homemade trifles.

44: We met up with some friends today and all went for a walk to Caerphilly mountains. It’s a great place to explore and is right on our doorstep. Of course the girls found the muddy puddles and were straight in.

45: A morning game of Bingo with prizes as well. First to a line and then for a full house!

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Half-term Outdoor Fun

Half-term holidays are great for my work, as the children we deliver activities to have all day to be in the outdoors with us.

We can have longer outdoor activities and adventures, and so we decided to use a whole day of Forest Schools activities for our group on the Monday of the half-term. We use a local woodlands near to Cardiff so; along with my daughter, my sister joined us with her two boys, who were all so excited to take part.

We donned our wellies and waterproofs, (ready for the mud and the puddles), and carried our equipment to our little hide-away area at Cosmeston Lakes near Penarth. The first priority was to build a shelter as it was due to rain, and it’s always good to have a “dry” area for bags, equipment and lunch.

We had a variety of activities planned, and the children loved having the ability to choose what they wanted to play with. They loved having wild freedom and soon dumped their bags and were off playing in mixed groups.

We made tree monsters from clay, made dens from tarpaulins and string, hunted for a variety of bugs, (observing how and where they lived), made bows and arrows, waded up the nearby stream, (splashing each other along the way), made a make-shift swing with a rope and two trees, and toasted marshmallows with the fire from our Kelly Kettle. It was great to see how the generational gap was filled, as all the children and adults played together.

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New friends were made and hands got dirty and everyone had so much fun.

We were all disappointed when it was time to go. It was a fantastic start to the holidays, and my sister said she was amazed that (apart from her packed lunch) the day didn’t cost her a penny and her boys had the best day ever.

So much so that they wanted to join us on our next activity the following day!!

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I really do enjoy our Forest School days. Everyone involved has so much fun, and it’s a great excuse for me to eat lots of toasted marshmallows!

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A muddy, wet forest…… what’s not to love ??!!

{Sadly I am unable to post images of the children I work with, all images are of my daughter and my nephews from todays adventures.}

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Learning for Life



365 Project Week 7

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32: A wonderful walk on Aberavon beach. The weather was beautiful and was a perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

33: Monday evening is my daughters kayaking club. She loves her club and it has given her so much confidence and skills to be safe in the water.

34: Bushcraft day in work. Learning how to light fires using different skills, then we able to boil some water on our Kelly Kettles for some warming hot chocolate!

35: A new pair of walking poles for my daughter ready for our planned walks in the half term.

36: A day I was dreading a little. We had a paddling session at Cardiff’s White Water Centre with a group and it was so cold! When my canoe got tipped in by the group I really wasn’t a very happy paddler.

37: This magnetic board is a great little thing to keep in the car. When my daughter gets a bit bored she doodles and I was very surprised to see her practicing her Maths on the way to school.

38: A little afternoon bike ride and of course my daughter wanted an ice cream in the little cafe. A lovely treat.

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Why I Love Living in Wales!

Last Sunday, we had a beautiful sunny day. It was a joy to be outside, with some warmth on your face and not have to have a minimum of four layers of clothing on!

We decided to visit a local beach very near to our home.

Aberavon beach is a thirty minute drive away, and is a lovely long beach which we often use in work. With the nice weather, it seemed that everyone else had the same idea! The beach was full of people out splashing in the shallows, or digging for shells and enjoying the sunshine. We had a lovely long walk, enjoying the sunshine, climbing rocks, finding new shells for my daughters collection and making funny shapes in the sand with sticks. As we got back to the car, the day was so nice that we realised it was too nice to go home.

Luckily, about ten minutes away from Aberavon beach, is Porthcawl. This also is an amazing beach, which, in season, is a favourite with surfers and beachcombers alike. This is one of my favourite places as we use Coney beach a lot and, in summer, it turns into a traditional seaside beach, with fair ground rides, donkeys on the beach, ice cream stands and, of course, plenty of places to buy fish and chips.

As the tide was well out, we made our way to the rock pools. One of my daughters’ favourite things to do at the beach, is rockpooling. We scrambled over the rocks, carefully hunted through the seaweed (looking for crabs) and my daughter found lots of caves to explore and climb through.

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I used the opportunity to practice some of my beach training, and we looked for different types of seaweed and animal life that live on the rocks. We photographed dog whelks, limpets, barnacles and anemones. I also showed my daughter how (and why) different seaweed can be found at different levels on the beach. It all depends on how much sea water they need to survive. We looked at toothed wrack, bladder wrack and green seaweed that looks a lot like lettuce! It’s a good way of introducing learning, within a fun and relaxed setting.

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We visited two brilliant beaches in one day. They are beautiful, clean beaches with lots of activities to fill out our day. My little beach combing daughter even managed to sneak in a cone of chips and a hot chocolate !!

I think that’s why I love living in Wales. We are very lucky, as we have everything needed for outdoor adventures. The mountains, the sea and endless forests.

But, I also think that we all have outdoor adventures near to us, we just have to take the time to seek them out. I would love to hear about the Great Outdoors near to you… !!!

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

 

Learning for Life

My Sunday Photo

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Having a whale of a time……

….sorry I couldn’t resist.

OneDad3Girls

365 Project Week 6

A bit of a quiet week this week, doesn’t hurt once in a while……

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32: A quiet Sunday but with lots of planning for the future. Exciting things happening this year!

33: A lovely day in work teaching parents from a local school Heart Start first aid skills. Heart Start was created by the British Heart Foundation and is a brilliant course teaching simple first aid skills for all ages.

34: We have lots of new groups in work so its been a week of indoor climbing which is lovely as the weather is very, very cold. It also means I can have a lovely caramel latte from the little cafe, a little treat.

35: A team challenge of cooking on camping stoves, bit of an outdoor Masterchef. Spicy chilli noodles with veggies. Very delicious and filling. A big success.

36: While my group were having lunch I managed to get some climbing in while at our local climbing wall. The young people are always much better than me.

37: My daughter had some friends over after school and my husband found these in Asda. It’s a sign of the times when instead of potatoe letters we have potatoe hashtags now!

38: My daughter loves Chatterboxes and she gets me to make them all the time. As she is learning about Space in school we did a Space theme Chatterbox with fun facts inside.

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Is “Risk” a Benefit within Play?

I’ve wanted to write this post for a long time and, after completing my Forest School training, I now feel suitably qualified and confident enough to talk about “risk” within play.

My training covered so much about why risk is important within play, how we can manage risk, the value of risk assessments (a vast and lengthy topic), and what are the benefits of “risk” within play. For someone like me, who’s worked in play and outdoor pursuits for many years, it can be easier for me to accept that risk is a part of play, and that children need it to develop many important skills.

I’m comfortable with my daughter taking risks. We mange her adventurous nature. We teach her about appropriate behaviour and boundaries. I feel she’s developed a safe and responsable attitude to risk-taking. She knows how far she can climb up a tree and what branches are safe to take her weight. She understands when that, we go kayaking, Mum is there if she falls out and because she has on a buoyancy aid, she’ll pop up to the surface and I’ll be there to keep her safe. I believe these are important life skills for the future.

But what are the benefits of risk within play?

Children develop their emotions and intelligence through play. It offers a chance to enhance a variety of important developmental needs such as emotional development, social interaction, physical improvements, confidence skills, as well as communication and language skills. And that’s just a small example of what play opportunities and play experience offers to children.

Risk will always be a factor in most forms of play.

It can be a scary word to use. When working for a Local Authority, it means that it is easy to become caught up in lots of red tape, when trying to convince people and parents that allowing children to engage in well-managed risky play is a benefit. I wish that I had a penny for each time I’ve had a conversation with a parent, who vehemently says “My son is not going out for a walk in the woods as it’s too dangerous”.

Of course, (as with all things in life), there will always be a danger. However, our activities are always risked-assessed, and there are always a minimum of 2 well-trained, vigilant and responsable staff present. We provide appropriate outdoor kit and clothing, and (really) why would I let anything happen to a child under my care. I wouldn’t accept any misfortune to a child as an outdoor worker, or as a parent. Luckily, the majority of parents we work with trust us, and know us well enough to accept that their children will be well looked after when they’re out on an activity with us and, most importantly, those children will be safely supervised while they have fun, being left to their own imagination!

What we’ve found, in recent months, is the heightened level of health and safety, and risk assessment that we must go through, in order to show how well we have assessed our activities. We constantly re-assess those qualifications needed to run any activity and, as professionals, we continually look at every aspect and potential danger, in order to ensure that all our activities are as safe as they can be.

However, I understand why we have to do this, (and to complete mountains of paperwork), as it protects us, and the people that we take out on various activities. Sometimes, I do wonder when will risk assessments, and the “cotton-wool” society in which we live, stop worrying quite so much.

As my father keeps telling me, it’s not like it was in the 70’s, when kids played in the streets ’til dark, came home when they were hungry, and we all looked out for our youngsters. But, we can, (and do), do our best to keep that spirit alive, albeit within “managed risk” activities.

365 Project Week 5

It’s scary to think we are in February all ready. Its been a week full of mud and chicken pox…..

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25: On a Duke of Edinburgh walk and while waiting for my group I managed to capture this little Robin just sitting in the tree. He was great company at lunch time.

26: An evening trip with a playcentre and we travelled to a local beach for a fire and toasted marshmallows. This was the beautiful sunset we saw while we warmed by the fire.

27: I came home to a lovely husband who was busy making cakes. Caramel and pineapple upside down cake! Yummy.

28: My daughter came down with chicken pox this week. Thank goodness for my Mum who helped out and I had a sleepy child who didn’t miss the alarm clock going off in the morning.

29: Sour cherry sweets were much-needed after a very cold and wet paddling session in work. Sitting in a raft for the afternoon and being splashed with river water numerous times by teenagers wasn’t the greatest of days in sub-zero conditions.

30: With my daughter being ill we had Friday on the sofa and watched family films all together. I captured her and my husband holding hands while watching The Goonies. I love this shot.

31: Another Duke of Edinburgh walk and we went along the coastal path along Llantwit Major this week. However it must have been one of the most muddy walks I have ever been on. Lots of cleaning kit come Monday!

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