It felt great to see all the children after the summer and to be back among the earthy smells and fresh carpet of golden leaves.
Highlights from our morning group included:
Sharing stories from our summers, creating a slug hotel, weaving rush, whittling, watching life at the pond, lighting their own fires and setting quests for Daniel on his upcoming adventure to America! It was great how many things the children asked Daniel to find out about on his travels, about the juncos, coyotes, arachnids, what edible plants there are over there and so much more.
In the afternoon after an epic game of storm the castle in the sunny field, we went into the woods and practiced our core routine of owl eyes and fox walking. We moved silently through the woods in this way down to a string line that had been set up among the trees and let the string lead us blindfolded. After this we had a very peaceful sit spot noticing the patterns in the bird songs and alarms, the falling leaves and autumnal colours. We shared stories whilst eating our snacks and similarly, the children were invited to suggest quests for Daniel's adventures, including finding out about buffalo and other bovines, wolves, sea life and many more.
Then we had a great scavenger hunt and incorporated our findings into a beautiful autumn mandala.
This Saturday was our last monthly nature mentoring session in our Summer camp and on arrival one of the parens greeted me saying "happy autumn". I didn't quite want to accept it, but he said - look at the colours, they are starting to turn. He was right. The green somehow looks that bit less green in the oaks and the bracken and some of the birch had bright yellow leaves.
We decided to have a wandering session with my group and discovered that Daniel had that plan also for his group. We made a goal - to get to the mini waterfall without the other group seeing us and snuck on our way. After a while of moving ever so quietly along the deer trails we saw some movement up on over the little ridge and thought it must be Daniel's group. We got in close to the bank of the little ravine and crept closer. After a little welcome distraction of exploring a 'cave' we heard voices and then to our surprise heard the whispy tune of a flute...
"That must be the younger group," I said. So we went up to say hello. Sure enough they were having a lovely time making autumn necklaces with what looked like elder and rowan berry beads.
We went on our way and found Daniel's group all hiding around the waterfall. I still love the moment when I catch the eye of some unknown hider glinting through ferns!
The rest of our day was delightful. All the children were content and engaged for ages by the waterfall and surrounding stream areas. There was mining of red rock, damming and clearing areas of the stream, the search for the frog and whittling on the side. After some time we had lunch and stories all together and wend our way down stream to an area that was so much fun to leap the river from one bank to the other.
After a big game of the 'villagers' we split in two - one group to go and set up a rope swing, the other to play a stealth game of steal the spines from the hedgehog. Shortly after we'd re-gathered for everyone to get a go on the swing it was time to head back.
It was lovely to see the afternoon group on our way back and have them join us for the last little bit of our journey.
I think I may now be ready to welcome the Autumn!
Victoria Mew, Founder of Cultivating Curiosity