Saturday, 26 August 2017

New Term

Our sessions will restart on Sept 13th, please get in touch if you are interested in joining.  We have places available for children aged 6 - 11.

£10 for a 5 week trial. Our usual cost is £40 per 12 week term (i.e 3 times a year).

Friday, 18 August 2017

Moths and Molehills, summer camp 2017

Around 50 people from groups across Bristol joined for a week of camping in Wales.

Our site had many molehills, the combination of loose soil and the frequent rain showers delighted our youngest children who had great fun in the mud. There was plenty to keep the bigger ones busy too, we made kites, tie dyed t shirts, made some fantastic mirrors decorated with bits and pieces found on our walks and as always at camp the bushcraft area was popular with lots of children whittling green wood to make toasting forks and butter spreaders as well as having a go at lighting their very own campfires.

The fire was also a focus for cooking and eating together, there's nothing quite like a campfire potato. Yummy!

On Monday afternoon the whole camp joined together for a fast paced game, based around two unhappy tribes of shellfish who had to join together and defeat the sharks, assisted by our very own Poseidon.

The evenings we packed too, as well as our usual campfires we were joined by a local moth expert. He brought along several moth traps, don't worry, the moths were not hurt, just attracted by the light so we could see them.
It was amazing to see just how many different species we were sharing the space with. We were also treated to an aerial display by the local bats several times, and a few of us stayed up hoping to spot a few meteors.

Being close to the beach we were able to head off site and explore the coast too, whether that was building sandcastles, finding caves in the cliffs or body boarding.

It was great to see our young leaders in action too, many of whom have come all the way through the group having joined when we first began in Bradley Stoke. Each camp we divide into "clans" who take it in turns to make sure all the daily chores are done. Each clan was lead by two of of young leaders, who worked hard to make sure that everyone was included and all the work was done. They also excelled themselves running games, crafts and even reading bedtime stories to the youngest campers.

Summer evenings

There is nothing like a warm summer evening for playing games and exploring outdoors.  Our final term of the school year is always a busy one for games whether it's Frisbee, rounders or hide n seek. That's not to say we don't find time for some other things too.

Giant bubble blowers were fun

Indoors we had fun playing games, this one took a lot of skill to keep everything balanced.

We were also getting ready for the summer camp, making our own personalised groundsheets to sit one.

Summer is also the time when we get out and about running events at the local festivals, this year we were in both Bradley Stoke and Patchway. The wooden badge making proved quite popular, with a number of children remembering us from the previous year.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Fun in the park

Earlier in the term we made seed bombs, as the weather is now warm enough and the evenings light enough we set out to the park to plant our wildflowers. It was great fun and we hope to be back soon to see how things are growing.

There was also time for a few games on the field.

Do you make things out of wood?

Our name refers to the skill of living close to nature, in the open air - we don't make a habit of hugging trees though occasionally we have been known to craft things out of wood.

Tonight was one of those occasions, the children concentrated really hard on using the tools safely and carved some beautiful spreaders.

April Fool

Shh, we were getting ready for some practical jokes for 1st April.

The tricky part was mixing paint to get the right colour for the drink, pink for a strawberry milkshake, orange for a cup of juice or adding perhaps try adding a few coffee granules. When it dries it looks like spilled coke, it even has bubbles.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Buzz Buzz Buzz

There are lots of signs of spring, new shoots, buds, and blossom are popping up and it won't be long before we start to see bees buzzing around.

Did you know there are over 260 different species of bee that live in the UK. We had a go at making our own bees.

All these bees have a very important job, while they are flying from flower to flower to collect nectar they also carry pollen with them. Without the bees pollinating the crops nearly 3/4 of our fruits and vegetables wouldn't grow.

So we'd like to help the bees, by planting an area of wildflowers for them. We've used a mixture of compost, clay and wild flower seeds to make some seed bombs. It was a fun and rather messy job mixing everything together and rolling it into balls. They need a bit of time to dry out now before they are ready for planting, but in a couple of weeks we'll be able to sow them ready to grow.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

But there were sharks

The shark song is probably a favorite of the group, and what better way to celebrate a favorite song than to use it as as inspiration for our makes.

The CDs made a nice base for some shiny fish scales, and clothes peg sharks who can really gnash those big teeth were fun to make and play with.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Dragon Dance

Tonight we made our own dragons, then used them to perform a dragon dance.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Going Bananas for Monkeys

Welcome to 2017, and to our new members. We've already got a few dates in the diary for some activities with local groups, and plans are underway for a big event of the year, Summer Camp so there's lots to look forward too.

This week the group took on a monkey theme with games of monkey monkey banana and monkey hospital tag.

Did you know there are 264 different species of monkey?

The smallest monkey is the Pygmy Marmoset which weight just 85-140g which is about the same as a banana. The largest monkey is the male Mandril which can weight 35kg. That's as much as 200 bananas!

The loudest monkey is the Howler Monkey, who's call can be heard up to three miles away.

2016 was the year of the monkey in the Chinese calendar, 2017 will be the year of the Rooster.

After our games and news circle the Elfins created their own monkeys. I'm not sure you'll find many of these in the known 264 species.

The Pioneers are continuing work on their survival kits. This week they began making a pouch to keep all their equipment handy. After drawing round the template and cutting out the shape they needed to carefully punch holes along the edges of the leather so they can sew them up.

Friday, 13 January 2017

Scrapheap challenge

A large pile of cardboard tubes, empty boxes, plastic bottles, tubs and a few rolls of sticky tape. Just add marbles.

Our challenge was for each of the groups to make a marble run at least 2 meters long and where the marble would drop into a container at the end. If that's not enough of a challenge, then try to get the marble to do a trick.

In this case getting the marble to bounce off the trampoline into the next run.

There was some debate about whether it was cheating to use the tables as part of the run, but Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. They certainly reduced the materials used and tables are reusable so....

Looking back over 2016

As has become our tradition we took to the woods for our last group night of the year.

The woods take on a different character at night, with just your own beam of torch light to pick out your path. the games we play so often take on a different feel when played in the dark.

We started with some tracking, one group setting off and making a trail for the second group to follow. Rather than laying arrows we made a sound trail. Both groups aimed to be a quiet as the could, but every so often the trail layers would make a sound for the trackers to follow.

We also played a seasonal Christmas Tree pairs game, hunting to find matching pairs of Christmas trees with our torches.

Over hot chocolate everyone shared their favourite memories of the past year, as you might expect Spring camp was a highlight for lots of people. Especially the caving and the banoffee pie.  Our weekend in the woods was also high on people's favorite's list. 

Of the Wednesday evening activities the Pioneers have been really enjoying making their own survival kits, they've made their own compass, learned some basic first aid, and lots of other things. It's an ongoing project with lots more to do in the new year.

The clay Christmas decorations and glitter were a big hit too. I suspect getting the last traces of glitter out of the group equipment box might last well into the new year too :-)

Craft time

As the nights draw in and our evening sessions are indoors it's time to break out the scissors and glue form some craft time.

There were some wonderful creations with autumn leaves.

Again using the autumn trees as out inspiration we made our own trees, weaving in lots of different colours and textures of fabric to make the tree canopy.