Close encounters

Trees, woods and forests provide a wonderful learning ground for children whatever the season, so make the most of your outdoor adventure with these ideas from Jean Edwards.

A trip to the woods – essential resources

  • Clipboard, paper and pencils
  • View finders
  • Zip top collecting bags/boxes
  • Cameras, iPads or tablet computers
  • Arrow labels (blank so children can label items before photographs)
  • Sets of words
  • Storytelling mat
  • Tape measures

See, hear

Use stillness and quiet to begin exploring the woods and to set the mood for your visit – remind children that they are far more likely to see and hear exciting things if they’re as quiet as the mice that may be hiding from them. And if they look and listen carefully they may even see signs of the animals in the story that give them clues about their homes and daily lives. Choose a spot where children can stand, sit (or, weather permitting, lie) with their eyes closed and tune into the sounds, sensations and smells around them. Give them long enough to become still, quiet and calm. Ask them to breathe deeply and to smell the air. Then listen carefully. You could prompt them by saying: Listen for... and Can you smell the..? or I can feel... can you?

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Woodlands resources

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