The Adventure continues…
It’s been a fantastic summer of adventure where the Spinney Adventurers Club have completed challenges and quests in the Magic Woods and further afield. This summer has continued to focus on conservation as the overall theme with the aim to introduce the children to British wildlife that is endangered, or at risk of becoming endangered and share ideas of how we can do our bit to help them. The overall challenge was to complete the ‘Wildlife Wheel of Protection’ before the end of the summer, completing challenges in order to receive a special wood token to add each week.
The adventures began as the Spinney Adventurers headed back to the Magic Woods to help out the Mystical Woodland Folk. They started off by taking part in a quiz to remind them of the rules of the woods and how to respect the nature that lives there. Over the next 6 weeks they will be hearing all about the British wildlife that are becoming endangered and each week they will need to complete quests and challenges in order to collect that week’s Endangered Animal Icon to add to the ‘Wildlife Wheel of Protection’.
Week 1: Save the Hedgehogs
This week the endangered animal is the Hedgehog and the children had a number of challenges to complete. Theses included finding animals and their tracks, making animal dens, a water challenge obstacle course to provide water to the plants and animals and making Hedgehog homes to decorate.
There was also plenty of time to play in the wood and the new rope bridge was very popular! Some of the children took the Big Butterfly Count spotter sheets into the field to look out for butterflies.
They were all fantastic and completed the tasks so were able to add the first wood token to the Wildlife Wheel of Protection!
Week 2: Save the Butterflies
The adventure this week was further afield at Wepre Park where the Mystical Woodland Folk had asked the Spinney Adventurers to search for the lost butterflies. They had been scared away from the Magic Woods by the Destroyers so needed help finding their way home. They followed the trail and kept their eyes peeled for the butterflies whilst hearing about how some are declining in numbers here in the UK. After a picnic lunch they examined the Red Rocks and used the Big Butterfly Count spotter sheets to tick off the real butterflies that they had seen.
As they explored they soon came across the different ones, learning the names along the way. Once they had arrived at the castle they searched the area and came across the UK’s rarest butterfly, the High Brown Fritillary (not a real one unfortunately). They had now found all of the lost butterflies!
On the way back the Spinney Adventurers stopped for a paddle in the stream and play in the woods before making their way back to Holiday Club. Here they received the wood token for completing the butterfly challenge to put on the Wildlife Wheel of Protection. What a great adventure!
Week 3: Save the Bees
This week they have been learning about bees. They had been left a message by the Mystical Woodland Folk who had ask for help to save the bees. They heard that the bee population was being threatened and that the bees were too scared to build their nests.
After the Spinney Adventurers heard why bees are important to the environment they were asked to make some pretend bees nests so the bees would know the Magic Woods are a safe place for them. They used egg boxes to replica the cells that bees create in their hives and decorated them boxes with beautiful pictures. We thing the bees will return very soon!
Next they heard about how there are over 250 species of bee in the UK and played some Bee Bingo whilst learning about some of the species and how they each have an important job to do.
After lunch the rain descended so we had a break under the traps until the rain had cleared. They then had a chance for free play in the woods with some children drawing, others making concoctions in the Mud Kitchen and a few having a go at the Bee game – where they had to get the pinecone in the Bee pots, each with a different number of points on them.
It was a great day in the woods and we hope the Spinney Adventurers will continue to help save the bees in their gardens at home.
Week 4: Protect the Red Squirrels
The adventure took place at the Faraway Mountain this week where the Spinney Adventurers had to help find the Sun Stone that the Magic Folk left when they went to the annual gathering of Woodland Folk. Here they also heard the plight of the Red Squirrels and had to try to find their tracks hidden in the woods in order to receive the Red Squirrel wood token for the Wildlife Wheel of Protection. They ventured up from the woodland valley below to the path up high where they could see the Faraway Mountain. They learnt about map reading and played Map Bingo where they had to match the OS Map symbols as they were called out. This was a great way for them to learn the meaning of the different symbols that can be found on an Ordnance Survey map.
Week 5: Magic Woods
This week it was back to the Magic Wood where they were tasked to save the Natterjack Toads. Natterjacks are becoming endangered due to loss of the coastal habitat where they like to live. Although they like to live in sand dunes near the sea they are not a fan of the salty sea water, choosing to lay their eggs in fresh water. This led to the challenge where the children had to make boats for the Natterjack Toad to use should the seawater flood their habitat. They had to think about the design of the boats and whether they would float and survive the elements such as winds and rain. There were some fab designs and all were very successful as they did not sink and fared well when the wind and rain test was carried out. Although a boat is probably not much use to actual Natterjack Toads it was a great way to teach them about them and raise awareness of their plight!
After a busy morning they enjoyed a campfire lunch, complete with s’mores and hot chocolate before spending the afternoon playing in the woods and making Mexican Eyes. Well done for another excellent adventure!
Once the challenge was complete they received the Natterjack Toad wood token to go on the Wildlife Wheel of Protection – only 1 more to go!
Week 6: Help protect our marine life
The last week of the summer meant that it was the last Spinney Adventurers Club until October Half Term. This week they headed to the beach to learn about how our oceans and sea life are struggling due to pollution and loss of habitat. When they arrived they enjoyed a bit if a beach explore to see what marine life they could find. It was then time for the main challenge of the day as the Mystical Woodland Folk had asked them to find the Mermaid’s treasure that became lost when the Destroyers tried to steal it. Using the trusty metal detector they soon found all of the coins and gems to return to the Mermaids. After lunch on the beach they played some games to burn some energy off before taking part in the last challenge of the day. They had to choose a Mermaid picture that had a picture on the back, such as shell, seaweed or feather. They then had to find these items on the beach and use them to make and decorate a lovely Mermaid Palace. It turned out beautifully and they received the final wood token to complete the Wildlife Wheel of Protection! At the end of the session they took part in our own #2minBeachClean using a litter picker to help keep the beach and ocean clean.
After a wonderful summer of adventure with the Spinney Adventurers completing many challenges and quest they had successfully completed the main challenge to compete the Wildlife Wheel of Protection whilst learning about the animals that are either endangered, or at risk of being endangered in the UK. This was a great way to educate them on these animals and provide ideas as to what they can do to help save them. It also sparks an invested interest in conservation all while having fun in the Great Outdoors.
It really has been a fantastic summer and we hope the children have enjoyed coming to the Spinney Adventurers Club. We hope they have learnt lots, made new friends and want to continue to help our British Wildlife whilst following in the Spinney Adventurers’ philosophy of ‘Learn, Adventure, Explore’.
The Spinney Adventures Club is run by Spinney team member Rhiannon, who is trained as both a Forest School and Coastal School Leader and is one of Chester Zoo’s Wildlife Champions. Her aim is to educate and inspire the younger generation to take an invested interest in conservation and adventure.