Friday, 13 December 2013

Winter in the Woods

A wonderful winter night in the woods this week. All wrapped up we set off to the outdoor classroom for some fun and games.

First a team challenge to transport as many tokens as possible form the bases in the woods, to the central circle, without being caught by the circle guardians. Do you turn on your torch so you can run faster but risk giving away your possition or keep the torch off and creep up slowly?

Then another challenge, this time to find the Christmas trees around the area and match up the pairs, red baubles, blue baubles, no baubles?

Then it was time for a rest, hot chocolate and a biscuit before one last game and home to bed.

Have a a great break and we'll be back in the new year.

Merry Christmas for Bradley Stoke Woodcraft

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Naughty Elephants Spray Water

or Never Eat Shredded Wheat.Did you have a rhyme to help you remember the compass points?

This week the Pioneers have been making their own compass, using a sewing needle, a drinking straw and a pot of water.

Resourceful as ever they  used the magnets on the door catches to magnetise their needles. Floated on water they will now point North. However seeing a needle floating on water is not that easy, which is where the straw comes in. Placing the needle inside a length of straw means it can still turn round but is much easier to see.

They also talked about some of the other ways to know which direction is which, such as where the sun rises in the morning and sets in the evening, or which side of a tree you're likely to find moss grow. Have a look at this list and see how many of them you know

Learn the Art of Natural Navigation

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

Few things are more fun than heading out into the frosty winter air and building a snowman. We can't organise snow on demand, so we did the next best thing. Making our own, never melting, snowmen.

Just as with the colder kind everyone's snowmen were different, the children spent a long time sorting out the perfect way to build their snowman and then adding hats, scarves, buttons and of course carrot noses.

Father Christmas took so long to sculpt that his maker is going to be adding the red to his suit at home.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Stories by candle light

Last week we recycled empty jars into some colourful lanterns, the children produced some wonderful designs.

This week we used used a tarpaulin to set us a shelter, just like the ones we sometimes build in the woods to sleep in. This time we lit our lanterns and used it as a story telling space.

Each person chose one item form the story box, then together we used all the items to build the story. Which item would you choose?

This week our story was about George Bear, who lived in a house at the bottom of a huge beech tree in the woods. In the spring George enjoyed watching the buds grow on the trees, and the bluebells spread out across the forest floor. Once summer came George loved looking up and see little patches of sky through the leaves of the tall trees, but as autumn came and the leaves turned brown and started to fall from the trees George began to feel cold whenever he looked out of his window. He knew that soon it would be winter and the leaves would all be gone until Spring came round again.

George decided that he would gather together some things which reminded him of the long summer days, and he made a little space on the window sill where he could gather them all together.

His sunglasses came first, reminding him of the time he spent at the beach. He didn;t need sunglasses in the woods, the trees made plenty of shade. Then a pebble he'd collected on holiday, and a flower, and a lovely picture of the trees on a sunny day. He found a picture of his friend butterfly too, and added that to his display.

Finally once he'd set everything up he settled down in his chair, with a big bowl of porridge. Now he could look out of the window at the Autumn colours and then down at the windowsill and his display of summer memories and be reminded that after the snow and frost the bluebells would poke back through the ground and the trees would grow fresh green leaves again.

More autum leaft fun

The range of colours, textures and shapes of the fallen leaves gives us so may different ideas for craft activities.

This year the Elfins made window pictures with the leaves. Using clear sticky plastic means that when they are hung up the autumn sun will show off all the colours.

The pioneers have used their leaves, along with some clay to make little trinket bowls. Each one has the shape of the leaf and even the patterns of veins can still be seen inside the bowls.

After drying out for a week the bowls were ready for painting. Sadly due to a computer error we don't have many pictures of the finished bowls, but they were really special.

We do have one we can still show you

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Spooks and Sparkles

As the clocks have changed and the nights are darker we're making the most of the seasonal changes.

The Pioneers went for a spooky week, playing vampire and zombie tag in the dark, they even had a treasure hunt in the dark.

The Elfins had a much brighter evening, making their own firework printing blocks.

They made some wonderful November skies

Inventing our own games, part 1

This term the pioneers started focusing on games. We play lots of games every week, from the very active ones with lots of running around to quieter thinking games which really get our minds working. After breaking down some of the games they already knew to see what makes them work so well it was time to get into groups and invent something new.

The new games have been tried, tweaked and tested again till they were ready to go.

Each group has made a short film, demonstrating their games. Here's the first one for you, introducing Animal Dodgeball.

Hopefully once the editing is completed we'll be able to share some more games with you too.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Youth Shelter

Back at the start of the year we wrote a letter to help the Friends of Jubilee Green with their fund-raising for a youth shelter.

The grant bid was successful and over the summer they have been working hard to get the shelter built, after some running repairs it's looking fantastic.

Have you been to see it yet?

Out and about

The end of September saw several of us heading down to Exeter to join with other groups form the South West for the annual fun day.

This year the Devon woodland played the part of Sherwood Forest for a Robin Hood themed event, while everyone worked to earn the four necessities of medieval life, Bread, Beer, Meat & Salt whilst dodging the Sheriff's band.

Everything from  balancing along a rope bridge while collecting your tokens to crossing Little Johns bridge. The Woodland Jousting was a particularly popular game, how many rings do you think you would be able to catch?

After an action packed day it was time to settle down and to set up our beds for the night, a hammock under the stars!
A camp-fire, hot chocolate and marshmallows finished the day off.

Pirates Ahoy

Every couple of terms we have a time where the children suggest ideas for activities they would enjoy, then we vote for the top favourites. This term the Elfins (6-9 year olds) chose pirates.

We found so many watery games like Captain's Coming, Sharks and Jaws that our games sessions had a very nautical feel.

Possibly the most fun was the craft time though, we started with treasure maps, of course each map needed an X to mark the spot but you defiantly needed a map to guide you through all the sea monsters, swamps, deadly caves and haunted towers.

Of course no map would quite work without the treasure, we used salt dough to create ours, and then metallic paint to give it a touch of sparkle.

What pirate would be seen without their parrot on their shoulder and what a colourful collection ours were.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Some catching up to do

Things were so busy that I never managed to update the blog last term.

The taster evening was fantastic, everyone one had a chance to saw, sand and decorate their own wooden badge and some wonderful clay models were made. We had everything from animals to coil pots and even some mini clay and twig shelters.

For the elfins the rest of the term we looked at bugs, we took a bug view out into the garden and were amazed at home many different ones we found in such a short time. Worms, ladybirds, woodlice ants and lots more. Indoors we made our own bugs out of junk and the following week made ladybird feeders to take home and hang up in our gardens.

The pioneers had a chance to make a batik wall hanging. Batik is a method of dying fabric where wax is used to stop the dye from colouring certain areas. Rather than hot wax we used glue and carefully traced over our designs. Once they were dry it was time to go over the top of the whole thing with paint and again leave it to dry. The final week was the most exciting as we got to see the designs revealed as we removed the glue.

The celebrate the start of the summer holidays we all set off into  the Three Brooks Nature reserve for a treasure hunt.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Local Radio

Thanks to Bradley Stoke Radio for helping us publicise our recent taster evening. On Monday evening a few of us went along to the studio to talk about the group on the Monday night Schools programme.

If you missed it you can catch up with the listen again, we're on at 9:30.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

RSPB One Big Thing For Nature

Jon Nott, General Secretary of the Woodcraft Folk sharing his thoughts on the RSPBs One Big Thing For Nature Blog.

Sunshine and Badges

Last Wednesday saw the final stages in preparation for our stall at the Bradley Stoke Festival. The all important task of wrapping all the prizes for the lucky dip, after all it's not so much fun if you can see what you're getting. Many hands always make the job go faster and we wrapped everything very quickly, leaving plenty of time for a few more games.

Saturday itself was a beautiful sunny day, perfect festival weather. We had a great spot between the arena and the ice cream van. Once again we saw some beautiful badge designs and the lucky dip had a steady flow of traffic. The only down side was that we were kept so busy we didn't really get chance to take photos.

As well as the badge making and lucky dip we wanted to show people what the group is all about, the camp chair seemed to generate interest and we took along plenty of photos of the things we've done over the last year.

We gave out lots of leaflets about next weeks taster session and have had a steady trickle of visitors to this website all week so we're hoping we'll see some new faces soon.

Finally the day raised £55 for group funds, a big thank you to everyone who came along to help out and all those who made a badge on the day.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Community Festival and Taster Session

Next weekend sees one of Bradley Stoke's biggest community events, the community festival. The arena will play host to several dance groups and sports displays alongside the stalls run by community groups.

This year we'll be there with a stall, come along and make your own badge, just 50p or take a chance in the lucky dip at 30p. We'll also have information about the group so do come along and chat.

Whether or not you can make it on Saturday you might be interested in our taster evening, open to anyone age 6 - 12 years old, take a look at the Taster Evening page for more information.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Back from camp

Wow, what a weekend it was. The weather was fantastic and we managed to fit in lots of different activities. Big thanks got to the Venturers (13 - 16 year olds) from South Bristol who planned the majority of the programme.

To start with everyone created their own personalised plate bag. While we are at camp everyone is responsible for looking after (and washing up) their own plates and cutlery so a plate bag is very much needed to help mealtimes run smoothly.

The wide game on Sunday was a big hit with the children, there was something for everyone with a bit of drama, trust games, making squares for a Bristol banner and even throwing wet sponges, a particular hit with some of the older ones.

On the topic of banners the one which the Bradley Stoke group have been busy making was on display in the marquee. The lake and the three brooks made it into the final design along with a discarded shopping trolley and some larger than life wildlife.

And of course the fantastic Tipis in the circle.

The bushcraft area was as popular as eve during the less busy times

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Preperations continue

While last years spring camp was great fun it did highlight some gaps in Bristols equipment, particularly in the kitchen. This year we're expecting even more people so we really needed to make sure we had a fully stocked kitchen. So I was very pleased when this parcel arrived yesterday

New bowls, chopping boards, trays and serving tongs all ready for the KP clan to get the food ready.  We've even got new tables for them to work on.

I didn't forget the washing up clan, there are new bowls and washing up brushed for them too :-)

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Trial run

We've been lucky enough to borrow  some exciting tents for the Spring camp and as it's a sunny weekend, and non of us have put them up before we though it would be nice to have a trial run in the garden.

While heavy to move around the tipi went up pretty quickly and we leant just how careful we'll need to be making sure the pole is central on the groundsheet. For a trial run though all went well and the children had a good time playing inside before we put it all away again.

Ready teddy part 2

Now that the teddies all have their own sleeping bags they need some way to get all their stuff to camp. So this week we set to work again with the needles and thread to create rucksacks for them all. 

The children worked really hard to make their stitches nice and small so that nothing will be able to fall out of the bags and the variety of cuddly toys kept me on  my toes designing the bags.

With such hard work we didn;t get time to take a photo this week, hopefully we'll get some of the toys and thier bags when we are at camp.

The banner is coming along well but we're saving the big reveal until it's completed.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Ready Teddy, part 1

Tonight was our second week of activities leading up to Spring camp. Of course no one wants to go alone so there are plenty of teddies and cuddly toys coming along to keep us company. We wouldn't want our best friends to be cold at night so this week we made them all their very own sleeping bags.

After being a little nervous about pricked fingers at the start everyone did really well, there were a lot of proud children by the end of the evening and all the toys looked ready for bed.

The first of our camp crafts

This week the Elfins go a start on preparing for camp in a few weeks by making windsocks. These streamers will come along to camp with us and help everyone remember which tents they are sleeping in.

They came up with some fantastic designs,I'm sure our tents are going to look great

I knew it would come in handy


Way back in 2001 Woodcraft held and international camp, with 4000+ people we needed banners to guide folks around the site. At the end of the camp I brought home several banners form the "e-shacks" we'd been running. Basicly huts with computers for people to send an e-postcard home.

Our then pioneer group recycled one of them into their own banner, I still love all those hot air balloons and remember just how much work it took to get the suspension bridge to come together!

Tonight we're setting the same challenge for Bradley Stoke Pioneers, armed with a backdrop and lots and lots of sticky back plastic well be creating a Bradley Stoke banner to take along to spring camp with us.

Watch this space to see what they come up with and look out for the banner as we hope to bring it along with us to our summer events.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Doesn't time fly

This term has been a short one but we have packed a lot of activities in.

The pioneers had a craft evening, using pipe cleaners to make all sorts of models, here are a few of the finished items

They also spent some time thinking about Geo Caching, as a group we have found several local caches but started thinking about whether we could set one up.

We also got an update on Timmy, the travel bug we sent off at camp last year, he's travelled 9000 miles and is now in Hawaii, wow.

We celebrated all the snow with some snowman biscuits. Lots of fun and very tasty.

Both groups spend an evening in the local woods playing games, once again it was very cold and muddy and the hot chocolate was very appreciated.

The rest of the term we spent planning our contribution to a Bristol wide fin day, each group plans a performance to show to the other groups. We based ours on the Lazy Camper song. Sadly there have been quite a few illnesses this term and we had to do quite a lot of last minutes script changes on the day but it was still fun.

Next term we'll be doing some activities in preparation for Spring camp. The bookings are in and we are all looking forward to finding out what is being planned.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Thinking about our local playground

As a group we have links with the the Friends of Jubilee Green, we've been along to many of their summer fun days running parachute games and badge making. Recently they have been working hard to fund raise to build a shelter in the playground and have asked for letters of support.

Tonight we thought about all the things we like to do in playgrounds, what our favourite things are about playgrounds and some of those things we don't like to see at the playground. We also thought about the ways we would be able to use a shelter if it is built.

Using these ideas and comments the Pioneers wrote a letter which we would like to send to the Friends of Jubilee Green

Dear Friends of Jubilee Green

At our group night we discussed what we liked and didn't like about playgrounds.

Some of the comments were about how epic playgrounds are:
  • “I like those things where you spin people in a disc” - Esme
  • “I love playing with my friends” - Samantha

Some were about things we didn't like as much, such as:
  • “People who don't clean up after their dogs” - Katie
  • “Seeing boys I don't like” - Abby
  • “People hogging the equipment when they are just having a chat” - Anne

Others were about how radical it would be to have a shelter at our playground.
  • “You can shelter in it if it rains” - Emma
  • “Resting when it is hot and sunny” - Daniel
  • “My parent's can sit around in it while I play” - Cerys
  • “We can sit in it when we're eating our sweets” - Abby
  • “We can sit in in and have a picnic” - Alex

We'd really like it if you could help us to get a shelter

Bradley Stoke Woodcraft

Our Plans this year

Since it was the first week of the new year we spent some time thinking about the things we'd like to do this year in Woodcraft. Everyone had a chance to suggest ideas and we collected a list. Then we each had three stickers to vote for our favourite ideas.

We had quite a range of options. Camping (in tents) was very popular along with swimming and playing Duck Duck Goose.

Other ideas which were voted for by some of the children were:
singing, camp-fire cooking, making bead creatures (Katie had brought a beautiful one to show us) and cooking

Sadly the walk and scavenger hunt didn't get any votes at all.

Some of the ideas have already got activities in the planning stages, we've already got some plans towards this years spring camp. Others will take a bit more thinking about,  several people had ideas for cooking projects we could do.

It will be interesting to look back at the list at the end of the year and see how many of the ideas we managed to do.