Following on from the success* of the anniversary celebrations of The Gruffalo** The Forestry Commission England, in conjunction with Magic Light Pictures, are celebrating the 10th anniversary of the book The Gruffalo’s Child. There’s no better way to help develop children’s knowledge of the world, language development, sensory learning and numeracy than by getting them out discovering all that nature has to offer. Friday 3rd October 2014 saw the opening of 24 woodland activity trails to encourage children to get back to nature. The Gruffalo’s Child left her comfortable cave and has gone into the deep dark wood until February 2015, inspiring children to explore and learn about nature. We took a Gruffalo Picnic with us too.
We purchased activity packs (£2 each) which included a foraging bag (so we had somewhere to put the woodland materials we collected on our way), a Gruffalo’s Child activity leaflet (packed with fun), a colouring-in sheet and Gruffalo’s child sticker. You could do the trail without the packs though.
Supporting the Early Years Foundations Stage and Key Stage 1 Curriculums the trail was prefect for my youngest two boys. My 7 year old got really stuck in and it was a delight to hear what a confident reader he has become. The Sensory Seeker we kept encouraging him to read the repeating sign this said “This way” every time we saw one.
The packs are designed to encourage children to learn even more about the behaviour of animals in autumn and winter. The trail is self-led, which meant that the boys could go at their own pace. We searched for animal tracks, had the opportunity to create Gruffalo and animal footprints, used our imaginations to grow like trees, found materials which we thought would keep animals warm in winter, and built animal homes.
We went to Beechenhurst, Forest of Dean and unfortunately the letters weren’t on the hanging signs (to unscramble the word) but this is hopefully going to be rectified soon.
The Gruffalo’s Child Forest Trail Locations
The app allows you to see which of The Gruffalo’s Child 24 Forest Trail Locations are closest to you, then allowing you to access directions there. It does not differentiate between which ones have the sculptures or not though.
The list below shows the locations of the Gruffalo’s Child activity trails, those marked with an asterisk are also home to one of The Gruffalo’s 7ft sculptures.
- Alice Holt Forest, Surrey*
- Moors Valley Country Park*
- Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest, Kent*
- High Lodge, Thetford Forest, Suffolk*
- Wendover Woods, Buckinghamshire*
- Jeskyns, Gravesend, Kent
- Birches Valley Forest, Cannock Chase*
- Delamere Forest, Cheshire*
- Hicks Lodge, Derbyshire
- Sherwood Pines, Nottinghamshire*
- Salcey Forest, Northamptonshire
- Top Lodge, Fineshade*
- Beechenhurst, Forest of Dean
- Haldon Forest Park, Exeter, Devon*
- Westonbirt, the National Arboretum, Gloucestershire* – NOTE THE GRUFFALO’S CHILD TRAIL DOES NOT START UNTIL DECEMBER 1ST
- Cardinham Woods, Bodmin, Cornwall
- Haughmond Hill, Shropshire
- Wyre Forest, Worcestershire*
- Dalby Forest, Yorkshire*
- Guisborough Forest, North Yorkshire
- Whinlatter Forest, Nr Keswick, Cumbria*
- Hamsterley Forest, Country Durham*
- Kielder Water and Forest Park, Northumberland
- Grizedale Forest, Nr Hawkshead, Cumbria
See what ChelseaMama thought of the trail at Moors Valley
Forestry Commission Discovery Passes vary in price from £20-£55 for annual membership. For more information visit www.forestry.gov.uk/pass
Gruffalo Photo App
To accompany the trails Magic Light Pictures have launched a Gruffalo Photo App. Designed to encourage children to explore their surroundings the app enables children to take pictures and personalise them with 4 exclusive Gruffalo frames and Gruffalo stickers. These include characters such as The Gruffalo, The Gruffalo’s Child, Mouse etc, and phrases and other artwork from the iconic picture book. Now children can make a #GruffaloSelfie utilising the stickers.
Not only that but it comes with lots of suggestions of things children can think about and take pictures of – such as the tallest tree, something green, using natures objects to make a picture.
Gruffalo: Photo is available to download for the iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and iPad Mini and is priced at £1.49. It follows the successful Gruffalo: Games – which saw over 250,000 plays in the first three weeks. Offering the same features (no in-app purchases or advertising) Gruffalo: Photo also automatically saves the photos to the stickerbook and not the camera roll, with secure features preventing accidental deletion, sharing and printing. To add the delete/export button is a simple switch of a button in the settings. I am sure I saw pictures utilised by the app that were not taken with the app but unsure how this was done.
You can reverse the camera allowing you to take a #GruffaloSelfie
The boys absolutely loved the app. The only problems I found were that it slowed them down even more – so much sure you have plenty of time. I do not know how comfortable I was with my husband letting him lose with his iPhone though – so would like to see it available on other devices. I guess we were supervising them though.
The anniversary year also sees the launch of Gruffalo reading frames with Specsavers along with other new and exciting product ranges including luxury wooden toys from Bajo and anniversary publications from Macmillan’s Children’s Books.
* The Gruffalo trails led to an increase in visitors of a third in some forests, with more than 10,000 children met and had their photo taken with The Gruffalo .Over 56,000 signed up to receive email updates on the trails in the first few months of the project.
** a fast growing classic brand based on the best-selling books written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler
About Magic Light Pictures
Magic Light Pictures (@MagicLightPics) makes imaginative entertainment for audiences, families and children worldwide. The company creates high quality films and products and has built the wonderful Gruffalo brand over many years. Its filmmaking includes feature films such as Oscar-nominated animation Chico & Rita, comedy thriller Wild Target and natural history documentary One Life. The company directly manages production, licensing, global distribution and marketing. Magic Light has sold its Oscar and BAFTA-nominated half-hour animated films, The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child, to over 80 broadcasters worldwide. It runs an international merchandising programme with over 40 licensees and 250 products. In 2012, the company launched Room on the Broom – based on the best-selling book by Donaldson and Scheffler – with a Bafta and International Emmy-winning half-hour animation and a growing range of merchandise.
I received the Gruffalo Photo App for free in order to review it. All words, photos and opinions are my own.