Mumbler reviews Little Friends of Roundhay Park Forest School
My mini Mumblers love the outdoors. Spending time in the woods playing with sticks and building dens is definitely their thing so when we saw the Forest School class advertised by Little Friends of Roundhay Park they both wanted to book on straight away. The next available session was on a Sunday morning from 9.30am until 11am so was perfect for them. The session was run by Sally from Grass Roots and Muddy Boots and Siobhan from Treetops Forest School in the wooded area just off Park Lane (although you can also easily walk to it from the Mansion as well).
After parking on the road on Park Lane we walked through into the park and about 200 metres down the path the Forest School was all set up. We were all really impressed by the number of different activities that looked to be in place. After an initial briefing explaining all the different activities that were available they were very quickly able to get started. The session caters for children age 3+ with activity stations to suit and challenge all ages. My two are 8 and 5 and they really liked the ‘hand-on’ nature of the sessions.
First, the mini Mumblers chose the activity building their own fidget spinner using materials from the woods. This initially involved sawing a circular disc-shape from a fallen tree branch and then drilling two holes into it. Throughout they were enthusiastically supervised by Siobhan (Forest School leader) when using a bow saw and then a combination of a palm drill and a hand drill. Siobhan explained at each stage what it was they needed to do and why they needed to do it. They also had protective gloves on so both parents and children felt really reassured at all times that it wasn’t going to be dangerous. After sawing and drilling they had a disc-shape piece of wood which needed colouring in with pens in whatever design the children wanted. The final part was then putting some string through the holes and they had made a fidget spinner. The mini Mumblers loved it and I’m sure they could have spent the whole morning just playing with this.
After a break for hot chocolate and fruit (which was help yourself throughout), the mini Mumblers got involved in some of the other activities. They next went on to the rope swings, hammocks and rope walking. All of these had been set up that morning and were hanging from the many tall trees nearby. They were supervised on all of these by Sally (another leader) who again was really enthusiastic and was helping all the children understand how to use everything. She also explained in a really easy way for the children to understand how the swings worked with nature.
By this time the session was nearly finished and we only had a small amount of time to quickly go round many of the other activities set out. They included shelter making, making crunchy sandwiches (not for eating, unless you’re a bug!), dinosaur fact-finding, bug hunting and many more we didn’t get time to experience.
For the younger children at the end of the session, there was a musical close where they got to sing nursery rhymes and bang wooden musical instruments. My mini Mumblers stayed playing on the activities with the other older children and this was fine. It was a really relaxed atmosphere and the kids benefited from that freedom.
It’s something that we will definitely be back to enjoy again and next time the mini Mumblers have already said they will be bringing some of their friends so they can all play in the dens.
Little Friends of Roundhay Park have a programme of events running including Forest Schools (next session 21st September), Craft Workshops, Family Litter Picks