Wild and Watery Days Out!

As promised by Jim, here’s a quick round up of what we’ve been up to over the last couple of weeks. With the holidays in full swing, we’ve been busy entertaining a number of holiday clubs, running family events and of course leading our Wild Days Out, which are offered in partnership with New Forest District Council.

We got off to a fishy start, with a marine themed Wild Day Out, complete with willow weaving, fish printing and the all important sand castle competition! We began with a closer look at some fish, before Jim demonstrated how to create a fish print:

Whilst waiting to paint and print our fish, we used willow to weave simple fish shapes which were then tied with wool to a willow fishing rod. We then had to go fishing from the boat!

Willow fish on a stick 3

Willow fish on a rod

After lunch we creatively sculpted beach scenes from sand, adding natural materials to them creating volcanoes, caves, sea horses, sand people and more!

Our Marine Madness and Fishy Fun Wild Day Out was followed by a family Wild Play Day, where we made rush and paper boats, caught fish in the river and sploshed around, made clay models and had a go at leaf bashing to create beautiful leaf prints on fabric:

Last week we challenged the older children on our Wild Day Out to weave a coracle out of Blashford willow before testing it out on the Dockens Water, an activity thoroughly enjoyed by all, especially as it had rained the night before and the river was up…

After practising our boat making skills in the classroom by making rush and paper boats  and rafts using corks to float plastic cows on, we inspected the coracle made earlier in the year by our volunteers and lined by our Young Naturalists, and headed down to the river for a demonstration on how to loose your paddle by Jim…

Jim showing us how its done 3

Jim showing us how not to do it! Note the paddle wedged at the base of the tree…

In groups we wove two more coracle frames from the willow which had been soaking in the river to make it nice and bendy, before adding on the liner.

It was then time for the moment we’d all been waiting for, to test our coracles on the river to see if they floated:

Which of course the did! They were however slightly flatter after we’d all had a go and the boys had purposefully sunk one on their turn…

It was a lot of fun! As the coracles were still floatable and Spinnaker Sailing Club didn’t need the life jackets they had very kindly lent us back in a hurry, we decided to use them again the next day with the younger group. After some pond dipping in the morning we headed down to the river to test our paper boats, river dip and try out the coracles. This time, Jim demonstrated how to do it properly!

It was then time for the children to have their go:

They all thoroughly enjoyed it! Thanks again to Spinnaker Sailing Club for the loan of their life jackets.

There are more fun filled Wild Days Out to come over the summer holidays, details are in our What’s On which can be picked up from a number of local ‘outlets’, the Centre or viewed here:

160616 Blashford Whats On Jul-Sept TS

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