With 3 small humans on board, there’s always a birthday party on our to do list, so luckily for us we have access to oodles of woodland, enough bug boxes to set up a mini beast hotel and no shortage of hiding places for treasure hunts in Dorset. So here’s one we did earlier for our own small human, a forest school birthday bash suitable for any child who isn’t scared of sporting muddy knees with their party outfit (& waterproofs!).
If you follow us on instagram you will know our daughters are pretty feral so you won’t be surprised that hunting for bugs came high on the list of priorities for party games, this is such a brilliant way to entertain children and to help them learn about nature and respect the environment. All you need is some magnifying glasses and bug boxes, we give them a print out list of bugs they are likely to find and away they go, poking around in tree roots, scouring under dead wood and lifting stones to find beasties to share with their friends. Be sure to put the bugs back where they came from and their homes the right way up again!
If you’ve ever been in the woods with children you will know there is no chance of getting very far without someone picking up a stick, it’s a natural way to explore their surroundings, it’s their armour, their tool, their sword, or the beginnings of a shelter. Den building is one of our favourite activities at forest and beach school and it goes down a storm with the children too! There are so many methods here, but for quick and easy shelters use rope between 2 trees to hang a tarpaulin over or prop a long branch up against a tree and use smaller sticks to create sides, lay down a tarp on the ground and there you have it....home sweet home! Shelters are great for eating lunch in (and for catching the birthday cake crumbs!)
No party is complete without a treasure hunt, our girls are still quite little so we use coloured balloons for them to find that lead to the treasure, they have to find the balloons in colour order which works well for small children but clues are a great way to keep older ones engaged for longer. Wrap up chocolate coins in coloured tissue paper in a pirates treasure chest which makes for a great alternative to party bags.
These are just a few ideas but the list is a long one, scavenger hunts are a great way to explore and engage with nature, make plaster of paris moulds of tracks or fill holes with your treasure and pour in to set what you find. Wild art is a firm favourite, make natural dyes and paints with berries and mud for a crafty party with a difference, wreaths with willow and goodies from a treasure hunt of the natural kind.
Put your DT skills to the test and try some woodwork with the children to make artifacts, we use palm drills with them to drill holes in the wood and then thread string through to make necklaces or belts. It's always nice to end on a full belly, so see what goodies you can forage to take back to camp to make up simple bread on the fire or finish off with a traditional marshmallow toasting ceremony! We love seeing your stories and adventures, do keep sharing with us and tag #lifethroughadventure - there might even be a few ideas of yours to steal for our next bash....
Pssssssst….our forest school and beach school open sessions are priced at £25pp for a half day, or we can tailor make a birthday party especially for you, to suit your childs interests, there are so many great ways for your children to have a #wildtime at their party. Bespoke options are available for families, parties or gaggles of small humans and are priced according to group size, timings and the scope of your adventure imagination - give us a bell for more information.
* With thanks to the very lovely Kara Guppy for some of the pics!