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A Day at Holiday Club (Hinton)

This day exemplifies a typical outing at our Forest School site in Hinton. The day commences with children arriving at our barn. Amongst the group, we recognise many familiar faces alongside a few newcomers. Once everyone has signed in, we promptly proceed to our base camp for the day. Along the way, children reconnect from past adventures, while new arrivals display curiosity about their destination, and others enthusiastically recount their activities since their last visit to Outdoor Adventurers.

Upon entering the woodland, the expressions of new arrivals light up as they encounter a landscape filled with surprises: shelters peppered about, a large parachute suspended from a tall oak tree, a zip wire traversing the stream. Amidst the trees, an archery set, a mud kitchen, and a fairy garden adorn this unique setting. Some of the young adventurers excitedly discuss their plans for setting up camp for the day.

We gather around the fire circle, enjoy a quick snack, and outline the day's activities. A name game fosters familiarity, providing an opportunity for children to share news. Then it's time to disperse. Mornings are typically devoted to free play; some dash off to their favourite spots, while others explore every nook and cranny, climbing trees, sliding, balancing on the slackline, or simply darting around the woods like a swarm of bees. A couple of newcomers choose to observe, studying how different parts of the woodland are interacted with, and they'll join in once they've gleaned enough from observation.

After 15 minutes, the group begins to settle. Some engage in den building, others set up a makeshift café, some play hide and seek, and others try their hand at archery. Before long, a child expresses interest in the tool area, and we embark on crafting a bow and arrow together. This piques the interest of other children, who flock to the tool area. Soon, most children are engrossed in crafting. Those struggling for ideas find inspiration from their peers. Before lunch, we have an assortment of swords, bows and arrows, mallets, and even a toy plane.

Outdoor Adventurers is physically demanding, and hunger strikes quickly. After washing hands, we gather for lunch, seated in a circle, as everyone eagerly dives into their food. It's the perfect time for reflection on the morning's activities.

Post-lunch, children resume play. The adults gather equipment for an offsite activity. Blessed with over 20 acres of private woodland to explore, we venture to another area. Here, we engage in a lively game of hide and seek. Divided into two groups, group one leaves a trail of ribbons while the other waits before setting off to track them. Once the ribbon trail ends, the hiding group must conceal themselves within sight of the final ribbon, while the seekers attempt to find them. At the group's request, we play this game multiple times.

Returning to base, it's time for a campfire. What better way to conclude our day than with toasted marshmallows? We reflect on the day's adventures and escort the tired group back up to the barn for collection. Every adventure is different, offering experiences unique to each child. Session leaders head home to rest, ready to do it all over again the next morning.


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