Children's Bushcraft

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TheViking

Native
Jun 3, 2004
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2
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PurpleHeath said:
hi, i am new so hello to everyone!
i am 17 and when i was 6 i joined an youth group called woodcraft. this really just a bunch of hippys teaching their kids to get on with each other, but every 2 months of so the took everyone on a camping trip. these were usually quite short but we always camped next to a wood so all the kids could play and get use to the forest. we did not do any of the bushcraft skills that you would normally would like to be taught, but it was great fun! for many children these camps took away any fear of going camping without they parents. by the time the kids have been to a few weekend camps they are at home in the forest and routine of the camp, this was my first introduction to bushcraft.
www.thewoodcraftfolk.org.uk
That sounds cool. :biggthump

PS. A little correction: i believe it's www.woodcraft.org.uk :wink: The link above is invalid to me.
 

jakunen

Native
Moonraker said:
You raise an crucial aspect of kids and the outdoors and that is the very opportunity to be outside and experience the freedom. Then sharing that with other kids is so important ( same for use oldies too I think :D ) In a way the chance to have unstructured time is as beneficial as organised events. Give the kids a box with loads of rope, a few tarps, containers, some string and you will see things happening right away :)
Why do I get images of 'Swallows and Amazons' and a lot of very wet kids...:eek:):
 

alick

Settler
Aug 29, 2003
632
0
Northwich, Cheshire
How about a walk for the younger kids where you deliberately stay out after dark. At this time of year you can do this without staying out late. As the UK gets more built up we can go for weeks at a time without ever seeing real darkness and kids may never have really experienced it at all.

I've done this a couple of times this winter. It's great for looking at stars, learning to walk without a torch and hopefully preempts this problem of urban kids growing up to be afraid of the woods after dark.

Wrap them up well and take something to eat. I took a little charcoal brazier the size of a 12cm zebra billy that lights in no time and gives a lot of warmth and a cosy glow when you stop for a mars bar.

Cheers
 

RovingArcher

Need to contact Admin...
Jun 27, 2004
1,069
1
Monterey Peninsula, Ca., USA
PurpleHeath said:
when i was in woodcraft we had a game were you go out into the woods in pairs in a torch and you had to find reflective markers, great fun!!

Sounds like a modern day version of our *snipe hunts* when I was a kid. Of course, there is no such a thing as a snipe, but it got us kids into the woods at night, hunting for something we thought was real. The adults would send us in this direction or that, pretending they saw the flicker of a tail, etc., it was all great fun and we all were rewarded, whether we found a snipe or not.

Yep, it got passed onto my kids and they are passing it onto theirs.
 

MartiniDave

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Aug 29, 2003
2,343
120
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Cambridgeshire
The snipe is a very difficult bird to shoot, requiring a very keen eye and lightning fast responses. The origin of the word sniper lies in the ability to consistently hit snipe in flight.

Dave
 
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RovingArcher

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Jun 27, 2004
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Monterey Peninsula, Ca., USA
Interesting. Thanks for the heads up. Perhaps we were told they didn't exist because they had been hunted out at the time. Course, waiting till midnight, using the light of a full moon and armed with an old potatoe sack, we probably wouldn't have caught one anyways.
 

jakunen

Native
RovingArcher said:
Interesting. Thanks for the heads up. Perhaps we were told they didn't exist because they had been hunted out at the time. Course, waiting till midnight, using the light of a full moon and armed with an old potatoe sack, we probably wouldn't have caught one anyways.
I think a lot of the problem is due to 2 things - 1: the destruction of habits and; 2: the fact that most people go through life cocooned in their own little bubble, be it the car, train, bus or just personal sphere of ignorance, and don't take their walkmans off or take their heads out of their paper/book, people just don't see things or if they don't just go "it's an LBJ" (little brown job) that things become 'extinct'.

And a lot of this is due to 'the negative influence of racism in the use of the countryside'. According the the UK government (hack spit) 'members of non-native ethnic groups are positively discriminated against in their use of the countryside' due to the fact that so few are seen. When in reality its down to the fact that most of them just plain aren't interested in hillwalking, bushcraft or getting outside the town/city they live in.

Sorry for the political bit jumping in there, its another of my bugbears and shows the utter stupidity of bored MPs.
 

RovingArcher

Need to contact Admin...
Jun 27, 2004
1,069
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Monterey Peninsula, Ca., USA
:lol: No problems. I agree with you and have a few of those myself.

To bring my posts to a little more clarity, the actual critter the adults leading the game described (could be any number of unseen critters like bird or a small cat like 4 legged, etc) wasn't really important. The actual purpose of the outing is to help the children from ages 2-6 (I was 4), or older depending on their upbringing, to move through the woods without the aid of a torch and without fear. It teaches them alertness (using senses to fullest ability), concentration, wonder, caring for and helping those that are in need (younger children) and how to have fun in the bush, as well as many other things that they will need in life.

Like has been stated here quite well, children have a very short attention span and making their outings fun (laughter is very important to us), helps the learning process along. So, for the very young, the old and really everyone in between, we use our example, stories and hands on games with specific lessons built into them. A child that has fun while sharing themselves with others and Nature, tends to love who they are, where they are and what they are doing.

As they grow older, they require more responsibility in their lives. Both male and female have a rights to passage where they are given a specific series of tests they must pass in order to acheive manhood and womanhood. Not difficult, as the tests are patterned to take into account their own GOD given gifts and talents. No one is put down to hurt them (although, teasing is a constant amoung us) and their personal gifts are brought forward in them and encouraged. Somethings I find lacking in modern western civilizations.
 

MartiniDave

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Aug 29, 2003
2,343
120
59
Cambridgeshire
My lad loves trying to do stuff like carve spoons & build shelters, but gets very frustrated if things don't go just so first time. He especially struggles applying knots, but can tie them fairly well with a bit of cord in the lounge!

He hates elastoplasts too!

Doesn't give up though.
 
W

Walkabout

Guest
What got me into Bushcraft when I was small was Robin Hood. My Dad and I used to go into the woods to make Bows and Arrows and "Venison" stew. Since then I've been hooked. Also American Indians was something we did with parachute tipis and pheasant tail headdresses.
 

Toddy

Mod
Mod
Jan 21, 2005
36,709
2,628
S. Lanarkshire
I started just by going for a walk with my sons, just as my father had done with me.
"What's that for?" is a good start and then the little rhymes.

*Boor tree, boor tree, crookit rung,
ever weak and never strong,
flower and fruit baith sae sweet,
Ne'er trust a stick beneath your feet.*

It's an elder....and you don't climb on it, ever.


*Bright green leaf on the forest floor,
You may eat three, but then no more.*

That's the start of oxalis, the salt & vinegar plant, tasty but not really good for you.

*Hawthorn leaves, bread and cheese.*
The first leaves in early spring, rich in Vit. C, etc.

I'd love to hear of any more that anyone knows. It's astonishing the variety of things you can eat throughout the year. There are ones for other uses too; Fomes fomentarius, the Devils hoofnail, "Tough as auld nick who burns forever, roast it black and they'll burn thegither"

Toddy
 

JFW

Nomad
Mar 11, 2004
498
11
52
Clackmannanshire
Nice one Toddy,

If you have any more of these little sayings can you post them - I think there great.

I have been told a few similar when I was a kid, but cannot remember them.
Will have to do some research me thinks.

Cheers

JFW
 

Moonraker

Need to contact Admin...
Aug 20, 2004
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Dorset & France
Toddy said:
*Hawthorn leaves, bread and cheese.*
The first leaves in early spring, rich in Vit. C, etc.
Toddy
Nice sayings Toddy :biggthump

We always called hawthorn 'bread and no cheese' I believe it comes from the call of the Yellowhammers – singing their classic “a little piece of bread and no cheese!” song from the tops of hawthorn and other bushes in the Spring. I think it comes from Beatrix Potter's 'The Tale of Timmy Tiptoes'
....."Unfortunately, just at this time
a flock of little birds flew by, from
bush to bush, searching for green
caterpillars and spiders. There
were several sorts of little birds,
twittering different songs.

The first one sang--"Who's bin
digging-up my nuts? Who's-been-
digging-up my nuts?"

And another sang--"Little bita
bread and-no-cheese! Little bit-a-
bread an'-no-cheese!"
hence the association of the hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) with this name.

I have no idea which bird song sounds like "Who's bin digging-up my nuts? Who's-been-digging-up my nuts?" :)

Personally I think the young, tender hawthorn leaf shoots have a pleasant nutty flavour and are good in a thin sliced, fresh white bread sandwich just buttered with a good layer of hawthorn and a little squeeze of lemon and tiny pinch of salt/pepper. And good in a Spring salad too.

Of course the easiest way is just to pinch off the first young shoots with your fingers and eat it there and then as we used to on the way to school :wink:

Check out the 'Plants For A Future' entry with tons of info including ebibility etc here:

Crataegus monogyna
 

Toddy

Mod
Mod
Jan 21, 2005
36,709
2,628
S. Lanarkshire
Thanks, I didn't know about the seeds for roasting/coffee......might give that a try, I gather the berries to use in teas and brandy, so the seeds are still there.

I don't have yellowhammers here, but, "a little bit of bread and no cheese" sorta whistles well :)

I spoke/ demonstrated/ taught to over 4,000 kids last year and these little anecdotes are good to use. I can get very tired of my own voice sometimes, I like to keep it fresh for me as well as the people I work with.

Toddy
 

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