Friday, 2 April 2010

Wild in the Woods

When I asked Louis how he wanted to celebrate his birthday party this year he said that he wanted a party in the woods and to cook sausages on a fire. “That’s easy,” I thought, “He’s been to one before organised by a local company. I’ll find out who they are.” Then Louis added a scary proviso, “but I want you and Daddy to be the leaders”.

I turned cold as I imagined a ravaged woodland, hordes of small children with grubby, scratched faces jumping uncontrollably around a bonfire as if they were re-enacting Lord of the Flies and litigious parents bearing down on me after the event. This could only go ahead if numbers were severely limited and Louis wasn’t going to agree to only inviting three friends ......was he?

‘That’s fine,’ he said happily when I made my stipulation. “Now Daddy has to build a fire and you can do the games.” So, with the help of suggestions from friends and these good folks on the Internet I came up with this list of activities.

The Woodland Trust

• An Easter egg hunt.
• A child is blindfolded and  lead to a  tree by a circuitous route where they use touch and smell to get to 'know it'. They then return to the starting place and have to find the tree that they have visited.
• Making bows and arrows out of sticks and having an archery competition.
• Pin the tail on the squirrel.
• A duck race on a woodland stream.
• Shelter building.
• Web of Life: One person in a circle holds a ball of string and names a woodland animal or plant. Someone else calls out the name of another living thing that depends on the first. The string is passed to them and the process is repeated until a web is built up.

Mr Lovelygrey set off with fire-making and cooking utensils to a secret location in the Devon countryside and a couple of hours later three children and parents arrived with food, drink, party bags and an assortment of bits and pieces for the games. Special thanks to Steve for climbing over boulders and through undergrowth and managing to get choccy choo choo to the site intact.

And a lovely time was had by all. The sausages and marshmallows were perfectly cooked by Mr LG and his little helpers. Time flew by so quickly that there was only time for two of my planned games – the duck race wasn’t possible anyway as the tiny stream had turned into a torrent because of recent heavy rainfall.(Even though the parents who came aren’t the type to sue me I think even they would have been a bit cross if their children had been washed away).

We left no trace apart from the ashes of the fire which Mr LG is going to cover with leaves and branches in a day or two once the ashes are stone cold. I even counted the number of eggs that I’d hidden and checked that they had all been found.

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