This summer we have had a much more relaxed approach and not really spent a lot on entertaining the boys. It has been more about time at the park, riding bikes, picnics and playing with sticks. Of course we have done other things (we went back on a Sun Holiday to Newquay View Resort, Livestock Festival, Jumptastic, Num Noms Event at Bella Italia – as well as local activities such as The Inflatable Theme Park at Overfarm Market and utilising our local Play Rangers). Yesterday saw us heading to the Forest of Dean where there was a Rainbow Den Building Day. Parking is only £3.50 all day but I had a pass from the Forestry Commission so it just cost me my fuel.
The Rainbow Den Building Day at the Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail
The Rainbow Den Building Day was put on as part of the 30th anniversary celebrations of the Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail Trust. Influenced by the new sculpture “Yasasin” by Pomona Zipser and a similar event held in New Zeland, Cathy Mager (who manages the Sculpture Trail) had the idea to host a multi-coloured den making play day.
Knowing that for years children and families have loved to build dens and structures all over the Sculpture Trail with tree branches that sit around the forest the idea was to make a giant multi-coloured playground – part sculpture and part hideout. Resulting in a unique and eye-catching tribute to the Trust has spent bringing people to its Sculpture Trail.
The branches were painted in a variety of colours using Earthborn Paints (these are high performance paints that are safer to use and sound for the environment). When we arrived the branches were organised by colour propped up against the trees and the children were free to mix them up to create their own colourful dens.
My boys got straight to work where the red branches were – moving them out-of-the-way, carrying different colours over, thinking about their design (ensuring there was a big enough space inside) – before covering it in a bit of moss. It was great to see them not only enjoying the great outdoors but really getting along and co-operating.
They then cleaned their hands using wipes to get off the superficial dirt and Aquaint* to kill any bacteria before eating their picnic inside their newly built rainbow den. We also tried to make a pretend fire with some small coloured twigs before setting off to look around the Sculpture Trail. The trail itself is apparently 4 ½ miles with maps sold in the café for £1 each. You can go around following the directions and there is also short cuts. We just did a small part of it but are already planning to go back another day to do the whole trail.
For more photos of the event see my Rainbow Forest Den Day Facebook Album
You may also be interested in my post about Why the Forest is Good for those with Sensory Processing Disorder
- For more information on Beechenhurst please see the Forestry Commission site: http://www.forestry.gov.uk/beechenhurst
- For more on the Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail: http://www.forestofdean-sculpture.org.uk/
- The Forest of Dean Sculpture Trust, in partnership with the Forestry Commission, commissions world-renowned contemporary sculpture that responds to the unique context of Forest. Free and open to all, the Sculpture Trail provides unique opportunities for leading international artists to make site-specific sculptures that are informed by a sustained engagement with the Forest.
- In addition to Forestry Commission England, the Sculpture Trail is indebted to the support of Arts Council England, Gloucestershire Environmental Trust, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, Honourable Company of Gloucestershire Charitable Trust and Watts Group of Lydney. forestofdean-sculpture.org.uk
- Forestry Commission England manages the Sculpture Trail out of its Beechenhurst Family Visitor site. It is recognised and respected as an international leader in sustainable forestry. Working with others, it looks after the country’s trees, woods and forests for the good of everyone – today and for the future. Its reputation has been built on its expertise and ability to achieve results that benefit people’s lives. These benefits include the unique Public Forest Estate where millions of visitors enjoy a wide range of recreational activities every year. forestry.gov.uk/visit
- Forest Art Works is a new partnership between Arts Council England and Forestry Commission England to support achieving great art and culture for everyone in England’s public forests. Since 1968 England’s Public Forest Estate has played host to artworks and initiatives across artforms. It believes that woodlands and forests are vital places for contemporary artists to engage with, to make and present new work. http://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestartworks
* Aquaint is a revolutionary and award-winning sanitising water that’s been a game changer in the anti-bac world. It is the UK’s first and safest 100% natural sanitising spray to bust winter bugs when there’s no soap or water nearby. Killing 99.9% of bacteria in seconds, it is formulated with none of the harsh chemicals, preservatives or alcohol found in many other hand sanitizers. AQUAINT is a highly effective yet completely natural, germ-busting hand and surface sanitizer to help halt the spread of germs and bugs – it’s as safe as drinking water so can be used by children without adult supervision. It’s used for the obvious areas such as hands but also great for surfaces (kitchens, toilet seats) and products such as toothbrushes, makeup brushes and baby bottles. It is available from Boots, Ocado, Mothercare, Babies R Us, NCT, Amazon, Jojo Maman Bebe, Vital Baby and directly from aquaint-uk/com. It comes in two sizes – a handy 50ml £2.49 spray to keep in bags on the go and a larger 500ml £4.99 spray for all the family to use at home.
I work in partnership with the Forestry Commission and used a free parking pass but no other financial payment is involved. I was sent free samples of Aquaint. All words and opinions are honest and my own.