Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud

Tonight was the night of our Christmas end of term celebration in the woods. It's nice to get out and experience the outdoors in all seasons and at this time of year hot chocolate and biscuits always go down well.

So with waterproofs and wellies we set off, first for a spot of echo location as we played "bat and moth". The moths set of down the (very muddy) track, and the bats had to follow a few minutes later using sound to work out which way the moths had travelled.

We played around with sound a bit more with some singing/shouting games before stopping for that all important hot chocolate break.

We finished the evening with a new game, Searchlight. One person stood apart form the group with a fairly powerful torch. The aim was for the other members of the group to try and creep up on the "searchlight" without the beam of light "catching" them.

On our final walk back we encountered the deepest puddle of the evening. A puddle which runs the risk of going over the top of Daniels rather tall green wellies is a puddle indeed.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Candle Holders

The Pioneers made some wonderful candle holders form air drying clay last week. After a week of drying out they were ready for painting, here are a few of the ones they made.

And yes, the one in the middle is a toilet. What you mean you've never seen a toilet shaped candle holder before?

Bird Feeders

As the weather is getting colder it was a nice time to think about how various animals are preparing for winter, making sure they eat enough to get through the cold months, migrating somewhere warmer or even hibernating till Spring arrives.

Since we still had pine cones from a few weeks ago when we made pine cone creatures, it seemed they would make a good base for some bird feeders, for the feathered friends arriving to spend the winter here.

First we tied string to the pine cones so we would be able to hang the feeders up for the birds, I learned the hard way that it's difficult to do this once the feeder is complete, so my example is stringless! The we spread the pine cones with fat, making sure to squeeze it into all the spaces. Finally rolling now sticky pinecone in a tray of bird seed, again making sure to press it onto the gaps.

It was fun making the feeders and hopefully we'll get to watch the birds stop by for a meal.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Camp fires and new term

At the end of last term with joined with another group who are just starting out for an end of term celebration, Woodcraft style.

Boiling wells is a site owned by St Werburg's city farm and was the perfect venue for our campfire party. Both groups had made lanterns which they brought along and which looked beautiful when they were all lit. The children were set the challenge of finding several buildings and features in the wood's.

As well as our big campfire to sit round the chiildren got a chance to use the fire steels (aka sparky stick) to have a go at starting their own mini fires.

Finally with mugs of hot chocolate and a snack we all gathered together for a bit of singing round the fire. It was great to see so many people tune out on a damp and lets face it cold evening, and to meet our new neighbours.

This week saw our first session of the new term, and a little spice to our evening when the fire alarm went off and we had to evacuate the hall. Having checked we had everyone we played a few games outdoors (a goo thing we are not put off by a bit of cold weather) and watched the fire engines arrive.

Once the building was declared safe we continued our evening inside, the pioneers doing a spot of puzzle solving while the Elfins made some lovely autum inspired creations from pressed leaves. We had everything from rabbits and butterflies to tadpoles and pac man!

Here's a few of the pictures they made.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Nearly the end of Term

The group has been having a busy term,

The elfins have been making lots of different animals in their craft sessions. We used pinecones and clay to make hedgehogs, rabbits and even a couple of mosquitos! We used egg boxes to make squirrels for a hide the nut game and we learnt some of the special names for the houses that animals live in.

After finishing their tent pegs the pioneers have been busy learning to tie different knots and making themselves some handy bracelets.

It's a time of all sorts of autum celebrations, from the harvest festivals and halloween to bonfire night. We've decided to have our own end of term party with a campfire. In preperation for this both groups made recycled tin can laterns which we'll use to light the festivities.

South West Fun Day

At the end of September each year group from around the South West join together for a family fun day. This year several families from our group came along.

This years event was at Escot, based in the Saxon village. In the bakery we had a chance to grind wheat, which was then made into bread and cooked in the wood fired bread oven. You can just see it to the left of the picture.

The highlight of the day for a lot of the children was the barefoot swamp walk

It's certainly a different way to see the pond! 

The rest of the day was filled with a lunchtime campfire, birds of prey demonstration and plenty of time in the playground. The drop slide was very popular.

However the fun did not stop at the end of the day, a few of us carried on overnight, building shelters in the woods and sleeping out.

It was great fun but I think we were all glad to get back and have a hot shower on Sunday afternoon!

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Parachute games and Tent pegs

This week the two groups had some very different activities to be getting on with.

For the Elfins it was a games week, so after our news circle we got out the parachute. When I joined Woodcraft as an Elfin I'd never come across parachute games before, now most of the children had played elsewhere but the parachute still got them quite excited.

We heard some greats jokes inside our parachute "jelly" and had a good few games of bedbugs. However I think we still need a little practice at working together to roll a ball round the edge of the parachute. We didn't quite make it all the way round.

Meanwhile the Pioneers went outside and started work on their first carving project, making tent pegs. It's a nice first project in learning how to handle the knife as there are several different techniques involved in making them. Plus it's always nice to be able to use something you have made yourself. Next week they are going to carry on, after all you can't peg out much with only one peg.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

A busy weekend

On Saturday we once again took our badgemaker along to the Friends of Jubilee Green fun day. It was a great day, lots to do an perfect weather to make use of the playground.

There was lots to do, everything from bubbles and a magic show to quad bikes and crafts. We still managed to make around 40 badges over the afternoon, it was great to see the designs that people came up with.

Off to a great start.

The first week of term is always lively and this one was no exception, they had so much to tell us at the news circle we forgot the drinks! We also welcomed several new children, I think I hope I got everyone's names right.

As usual both the Elfins and Pioneers had their games together before we went off to our separate activities.

The Elfins were looking at owls, we played a true or false game with some owl myths and facts. Did you know there are around 200 owl species, most of them hunt insects and small mammals but some hunt fish. Some owls can even turn their heads 270 degrees, wow, almost as good as eyes in the back of your head.

We also made our own owls from cardboard tubes

The pioneers went out onto the playing field to try their hand at rigging some tarpaulin shelters. There are lots of different possibilities for setting up the shelters, and hopefully they will remember a couple as we have an opportunity later this months to sleep out in them.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Great plans for the new term

With the summer holiday over and children starting back at school we have been thinking hard about our activities for the new term. It's shaping up to be a busy one.

We've got lots of activities planned for the group nights, from setting up shelters to making woodland animals in our craft sessions and as always lots of time for games.

Last year we got a grant of £325 to enable us to buy equipment to run some bushcraft activities, over the summer we've been gradually buying the equipment and we are now ready to start using it. We've got an evening in the woods planned for the end of term to set us off.

There's also a fun day, joining with other groups from around the South West and more locally we'll be at the Friends of Jubilee Green Fun Day on 8th September.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Pegs and Marshmallows

It's not everyday that pegs and marshmallows crop up together, however they were the basis of our end of term party this week

The evening started with a few games of "pegs in the wood". First the teams head out into the woods to choose their base where they will store their stash of pegs. The aim is to get as many pegs as possible from their base clipped onto the line, however to do that they must get past the defenders. Anyone who's caught must hand over their peg and go back to base to get another.

After that it was a short walk through the woods to get to the camp fire, which is of course where the marshmallows came in, a camp fire wouldn't be quite the same without them.

The term may be over but this weekend we will be at the Jubilee Green Sports Day, there are lots of activities planned some on bikes, some without. We'll be there with the badge maker.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Timmy's Travels

On Spring camp we placed Timmy the travel bug into a geo cache by the campsite.

Since then Timmy has been traveling around the country, first to South Wales where he visited three different caches, then on to Cornwall where he has visited the Eden project. He's visited two other Cornish caches, and the people who currently have him report that they are going over to Essex soon and will be taking him to a new cache over there.

So far he has travelled 206.3 miles.

Friday, 6 July 2012

Fun at the Fair

This afternoon we were at Stoke Lodge School's summer fair with our new badge making machine.

Lots of children and even a few adults stopped by to make a badge, there were some fantastic designs.

There was lots of interest in the group, we gave out quite a few leaflets and raised a bit of money in the process. We're hoping to take the badge maker out to a few more events over the summer so do watch out for us.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Waiting list for September 2012

Elfins are our younger age group at Bradley Stoke and are aged 6 - 9 years old. Providing places are available children are able to join the group at the start of the term when their sixth birthday falls.

However places are filling fast, if you have a child of elfin age, or who will be six during the next school year and is interested in joining the group please contact us about joining the waiting list.

Pioneers are our older age group, 10 - 12 years old. We have only recently started running Pioneers at Bradley Stoke and so still have spaces in this group. If you have an older child who is interested in joining please get in touch.

If you would like more information please contact Jenny and Daniel on 0117 9093969

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Summer plans

Hooray, the weather has been great for playing outdoors, time for those big games that just don't fit inside. This week we were out on the field playing touch blue, a game involving finding items of a certain colour. IT was impressive to see just how many things the children found in what a first sight looked a very bare field.

Indoors the pioneers have started making leather pouches. Last week they worked out their designs and made templates, this week they have started cutting them out. There will be a lot of work going into these, finshing with a handmade wooden button.

The Elfins have been making underwater mobiles, last week we used tissue paper and glue to decorate sheets of card ready for making our underwater creatures. We should have been cutting them out this week, but I forgot to bring the decorated card so we extended our game session instead. Still the games were fun, and next week we'll get back to the mobiles.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Spring camp 2012

Well we're back from camp, though even after a night in a real bed I think some of us are still catching up on missed sleep!

When we got to the camp-site it was raining, the advance party had already arrived and put up some shelter and were busy working on the kitchen tent. Once the children arrived we started getting their tents up. Putting up a tent you have never seen, in the rain is not the best way to start the camp!. Fortunately after heavy rain overnight Saturday and Sunday were both dry.

Queuing up for Breakfast on Saturday Morning

Mmm eggy bread and beans

Our walk out the the geo cache, where we left Timmy to start his own adventure
And having a rest along the way
After lunch we had some craft actvities, paper marbling and making our own juggling balls

Of course if you m make juggling balls you have to try them out
 There was also bushcraft, everyone paid attention to the safety talk

Before settling down to work

Saturday night was rounded off with a campfire and a chance to make a campfire toffee apple and learn a few songs.
Sunday morning everyone had a chance to make a camp badge, to add to their badge hangers and remind them of them camp. There there was time for a quick game of capture the flag before we had to take the tents down and say goodbye to everyone.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Off to camp with Timmy

It's an an exciting weekend for our group with several of us off to Spring Camp. We're heading out to the Forest of Dean on Friday evening for 2 nights away, sleeping in tents and meeting people from other groups in Bristol. Some of us have been to camp before while for others this will be a new experience.

There are plans for lots of time outdoors exploring the area, crafts, games, bushcraft and or course no camp would be complete without a campfire. The weather over the last couple of weeks has not been ideal for camping but with our waterproofs on we're not going to let a bit of rain stop us.

We've got a new member of the group coming along with us, meet Timmy

Timmy won't be coming back with us though, he's a travel bug. On Saturday morning we're hunting a local geo cache. We'll put Timmy in the geo chace with a message form Woodcraft, then we're relying on other geo cahes to help Timmy travel, they can take him and move him to a new geo chace. We'll be able to follow his progress so watch out for updates of where he's been.

The rest of us will be coming back, hopefully happy and probably tired and with photos of the weekend.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Badge Hangers

After a very lively game session with Jaws and the Hi Ho game we settled down to some craft work. Over the Easter holidays our membership badges for 2012 arrived from head office. This year is the first year they have been issued but the aim is that each year a new badge will be created and sent out to all children in Woodcraft Folk groups around the country.

Since we hope for many children this will  be the start of a collection we decided to make some badge hangers to display them. This project will take us through the next few weeks as there is a lot of work to be done.

This week we started with sewing, first making a channel at the top of the fabric which we will use later to thread a stick through, then using shaped cut from felt to personalise the hangers.The sewing was a challenge for many of the children but they all worked really hard and managed to do it.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Birds and Baskets

Spring is definitely in the air, the last couple of weeks the weather has been warm enough for us to have our  games part of the evening outside in the playground. Its great to be outside and nice to be able to play a few different games, last week we played Giants, Wizards and Goblins, We've also been enjoying Spot and Sit. The children have to find the object, hidden somewhere in the playground then sit down where they first saw it. They have been coming up with some very good hiding places.

With the Easter holidays nearly here the elfins made some woven Easter baskets. They worked really hard to get the hang of the weaving as it was a bit tricky for some of them. Of course no basket would be complete without a chocolate egg and these were no exception.

The pioneers made paper birds, they had to carefully measure the strips of paper before starting the fiddly job of gluing all the loops together. Again I think the results speak for themselves, though my photography needs some work!

Next term we are hoping we'll get some more time outside as we have some games plans which really won't fit in the hall. We're also looking forward to a spring camp with some of the other Bristol groups. It's at the same place we went to last year but this time in tents rather than a building.

I'm also pleased to announce that we got our grant form the council for the bushcraft equipment and the next leader training weekend is the end of April. Hopefully this means we'll be able to add these activities into the programme soon.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Leap day leap frogs

29th of February on;y comes round once every 4 years so what better way to celebrate the leap day than with leap frogs.

The elfins used paper plates and paint to create frogs with long springy legs to leap. Some people went for the traditional green of the frogs we see in our gardens but others went for tree frogs, poison dart frogs or created designs not found anywhere else.

The pioneers folded origami frogs which were supposed to hop. However they found the races were much faster if they crouched down behind thier frogs and blew them along. Flying Frogs! Again they used their imagination to decorate the frogs with numbers and racing stripes.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

A Dramatic Theme

Over the next few weeks we are going to be focusing on some drama activities in our group nights working towards and end of term performance of our work.

Last week we played lots of mime games. We split into small groups and each group were given and animal to act out. The rest of the group had to guess the animal, I was particularly impressed with the giraffe and we had some very energetic bunnies.

For the rest of the term we will be working as two groups. The older children started this week with an outline of Romeo and Juliet which they are going to be redeveloping ready for the end of term performance. All I know right now it that cows and zombies may be involved. This will not be Shakespeare as you've ever seen it before!

In the younger group we started making puppets and thinking about their characters. They are not quite finished but each child introduced thier puppet and told us a little bit about where they live and what their favourite foods are.