Wet and Windy Woodland Walks.

We are really lucky to live in a beautiful area of England (Gloucestershire, on the edge of the Cotswolds) and try to take advantage of this – whatever the weather.

Despite the unseasonably warm weather at the moment, it has been quite wet and windy. In my opinion one of the best places to be in this sort of weather is the woods, sheltered by the trees. So today we wrapped up in warm, wet weather gear and headed to meet my best friend from uni days and her family (who have sadly moved a few hours away but were in the area visiting family).

Our three girls get on so well with their two (aged 1 and 3 years old) and it always amazes me how they just slot together and play so well despite seeing each other infrequently.

Today’s walk included a lot of playing ‘home’ (I’m sure it would have taken  at least half the time without the playing!). I loved the way they used the roots of a huge tree as their kitchen, huge leaves (really big – bigger than our heads!) as plates, sticks as spoons. At one point they disappeared off under a large cluster of evergreen trees which became their house of course!

They collected leaves and twigs and collaborated to make a Stickman picture (inspired by the Gruffalo’s child sculpture in the wood). They staged their own photo shoots, organising themselves into positions and demanding all the adults took a photo while they chanted “Stinky smelly socks!” They played together in the playground, helping everyone to join in at their own level.

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There was no arguing and everyone joined in in their own way with no expectations. I’m aware this is often the case with mixed age groups – they seem to get on better as there’s less competition.

Days like today really make me appreciate how kind, caring and supportive my girls can be. It also made me miss my friend even more 😦

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Black holes, Green holes, Muddy holes

My girls love art. They also love getting messy outside. Put the two together and they are in their element!

I don’t like to prescribe what they do in terms of their learning. We are not completely ‘unschooling’ but I do like them to have choice and ownership over their learning – this can lead to chaos with art!

It was lovely and sunny yesterday afternoon and we’d decided we needed a quiet day at home following our ‘adventure’ the previous day. Poppet and Pickle wanted an outdoor activity so I sent them down the garden to collect leaves – mean Mummy I hear you say! They happily took to their task while I settled Piccalilli for a nap. By the time I joined them they looked like two little gardeners, with rakes in hand and a huge pile of rainbow coloured leaves.

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They decided to make a Space scene (as that’s what they had chosen for their topic this month). “Let’s make black holes”, said Poppet, so they busily created ‘green holes’ (as Pickle renamed them!)

They asked my advice and opinion; we discussed colours and patterns; I enjoyed watching them buzzing around the garden looking for the correct colour of leaf… but essentially they made their own creations. They reminded me of the art of Andy Goldsworthy and I felt very proud!

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Today they disappeared off down the garden with the memory of yesterday’s successes in all of our minds…

An hour later they returned… covered in mud! And I mean covered, clothes and all! No art had been created, but a big, muddy hole had appeared and two little girls joyfully jumped into a warm, bubbly bath!

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