(AND HOW TO GO ABOUT IT WITHOUT A WOODLAND!)
Shelter building is a primal need. The children ask to do it in Forest School and often need minimal help getting started. Its a highly social activity and promotes ownership and belonging in a space. We can show children knot tying and hitches, survival shelter techniques if they like or we can rig up a basic frame as an invitation to play, but more often than not they gain from being left to it!
The woods naturally afford us ‘loose parts’ – sticks, trees and leaves. All we add into the mix is a ball of string and often not even that. Loose part play is fascinating and open ended. We provide the parts and leave the rest to the children…..
Access to the woods may be limited for the time being but there are clever ways to get around this if you have any outdoor space or are happy to sacrifice your living room for the afternoon/designate a corner where you are happy for this to happen. I should also add – sacrifice some furniture and spare bedding as loose parts for the time being as well.
Read more about loose part play and its tremendous benefits, how you can facilitate it at home and a more comprehensive list of building materials in this fantastic document for parents from PLAY SCOTLAND
AND IF YOU NEED A BIT MORE PERSUASION …
YOU WILL NEED
3 or more long sticks/windbreak poles, broom handles, garden furniture, chairs, tables – anything that could provide a main structure
more sticks for infilling/ old sheets/blankets/curtains
Provide a few extra materials for sign writing. This is a popular extension of making this a very personal space.
card/paper/wood for sign
There is no upper age limit for this kind of fun
Monitor scissors and string at an appropriate distance according to age and capability. All sorts of things may get snipped with scissors in the process and string wound around bodies – not so safe.
LET US KNOW HOW YOU GET ON. WE WOULD LOVE TO SEE PICS