Children's Bushcraft

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Goose

Need to contact Admin...
Aug 5, 2004
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Widnes
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pumbaa said:
Is anyone thinking of putting a "Little kids" meet together ?
I have 5yr old twins , and would like to get them out there doing the bushcraft thing , but am not sure how to keep them interested , although they enjoyed brewing up on a walk we did recently .
Any children involved would benifit greatly , and it would enable us "big kids" to provide better information for the younger ones .
Twas just a thought .
Pumbaa

I had my three making a debris shelter(at least that is what i think its called :confused: ) including my five year old and he loved it just having simple jobs to do, find sticks like this, leaves like that,and he worked harder than the older two put together!I think as well the finished product is something for them to play in, which keeps an interest.
The three kids love bimbling around woods when I can drag them away from TV, Playstation etc and I think the problems with getting kids involved is the fight to move them outside, once there they always enjoy it and realise there are different things to do, but it seems to be a fresh fight every time!
Perhaps we could do something at one of the meets (I hope to make my first one in summer :cool: ) Doing stuff with other kids might encourage them to find out more, same as if we see something done by someone else we go home and work out how to do it!
But to be honest the reason I want the kids to go and see stuff being done so they realise they arent the only ones who dont have a Dad who is "normal"!
 

Earth Mother

New Member
May 15, 2005
36
0
48
Kent
What a great thread. I've been looking for this sort of useful information for a while and even spoke to Woodlore to see if they could offer any help. They're trying to develop a Bushcraft degree at University level but hadn't really considered introducing it to younger kids. I'm starting a Bushcraft club at the school where I teach and I've enough ideas to last the year now - thanks guys! :D
Ali
 
Jun 6, 2005
6
0
61
Twyning, Glos
Hi, this is my first posting to this most interesting forum. I'm a Cub Scout Leader and also an Explorer Scout Leader for Young Leaders (phew). Last weekend, I lead a camp for the Cubs which focused entirely on outdoor skills. The Cubs built shelters, made fire, learned knots and of course played wide games in the woods. Over the course of the weekend, no-one was bored, no-one said 'PlayStation' or 'Gameboy', and whenever they did need to chill, they retired to their tents to play Top Trumps!

I have two points to make. Firstly, the leader teaching knots made a big effort to show the uses of knots, not just how to tie a particular example. So, e.g. clove hitches were tied to a big log, to move it. This meant when they built shelters, they had basic skills to start off with. A great teacher in action.

The Explorers were great. Camping for them gave them a break from exams, plus the chance to learn new skills with fire and pointy things. Moreover, they passed on their experience and skills to the Cubs, as well as providing a great link between the Cubs and us old geezers.

At the end of the weekend, we knew the youngsters had learned skills they would never forget. And that made it a great camp.

Good job I pinched lots of ideas from this site! :)
 

Lithril

Administrator
Admin
Jan 23, 2004
2,575
49
Southampton, UK
R-Bowskill said:
Although I havn't got any Kids one reason I'd want them is to pass on what I know.

hmmm, that wouldn't take very long in my case...

Went out with a DoE group several weeks back, very excitable group, loads of energy even after the days walking. Anyway about 2000 they decided it would be "cool" to play with their pen knives. They wandered off into the woods and we started to get a bit worried, so I grabbed my knife and went looking for them.

As soon as they saw me I could see the expressions "here we go, time get told off" they were seriously surprised when I sat down with them and told them I'd show them how to use their knives properly. Talk about an eager audience, didn't interupt, argue or play around once, took it really seriously, I was chuffed to bits.

When I got back to the school one of the other leaders said that he would have confiscated the knives, I was a bit disappointed with this, at least now I'm more certain that they're not going to hurt themselves and maybe not look at knives as a "naughty" object to have and more of a tool.
 

Nyayo

Forager
Jun 9, 2005
169
0
51
Gone feral...
How about growing your own wild foods - my boy(5) and I are growing pignuts, field mushrooms, hedge garlic and damsons - and then we harvest and cook them together. And no, he isn't going anywhere near a knife for ages. When I'm doing teaching supply, I sometimes do a 'Bushcraft Challenge' for one lesson - it's a sort of gentle, guided role-playing game, where each of the children can choose four items from a list, and then use them when I present them with a series of obstacles (lighting a fire, finding food, keeping out of the rain). Some schools are quite happy for me to come in my field kik, with all the gear so they can have a look and a go at the firesteel, but others are very leery of anything to do with knives, firestarting and encouraging children to eat 'weeds'.
 

Nyayo

Forager
Jun 9, 2005
169
0
51
Gone feral...
Earth Mother said:
I'm starting a Bushcraft club at the school where I teach and I've enough ideas to last the year now

I've just got a full-time job teaching in September, and the school seemed interested in a Bushcraft Club, or similar. Any specific ideas on lessons, risk assessments etc. I was thinking of including shelter building, fire-making (especially team fire-drill use!), knots and outdoor cooking, with a bit of tracking, navigation and plant-identification thrown in.
 
i teach at outdoor schools for a living, and have taught stone age skills (as well as geology, forest ecology, mycology, watershed science, teambuilding...) to 1st graders through Elders. throwing sticks seems to enthrall folks of all ages:
girl--throwingstickstance.jpg


she really got into it!

i've had good success teaching hand drill as well:
olddudeusinghandasbearingblockforha.jpg


the old feller had a good idea, using his hand like that to assist his grandchild.

oldladyhanddrill1.jpg


okay, so she doesn't look like a child--but she was one at heart!
 
K

karen

Guest
Some great ideas guys, well done. Having a 3.5 year old niece I know that I would like her to have knowledge and respect for the land surrounding her. I recently took her camping for the first time to the BCUK meetup in Merthyr Mawr, I found that this was the best way to introduce her to bushcraft. She wandered around for the whole weekend watching people making bows, fire by friction, a hangi, flintknapping etc. Although all these activities were done by adults, she asked questions and gathered more information than I realised she would. I feel that when they are this young just being around all those activities and being allowed to just watch and wander is the best way to go.

Well thats my 2 pennies worth, theres a little girl in pink in a lot of the BCUK meetup photos, that'll be my niece. She does like the camera too!!!! :D

Cheers

Karen
 

Toddy

Mod
Mod
Jan 21, 2005
36,683
2,610
S. Lanarkshire
Bowsayer and I are just finished three weeks worth of bushcrafty activities with children in Stirling; we're filthy, sunburnt, aching and we've had a ball :D :D Fires every day, knives, saws and axes, cooking, shelter building, fibrecrafts and foraging and not one single child hurt. No burns, no cuts, no broken bones.
The kids ranged from five to eleven, many had special needs, but with the help of truly excellent staff they all had such a good time and learned and experienced so much.
Having watched Doc's son, Ross, at the Scottish meet up, and these 100+ kids, I realise just how much children who are not given the opportunity to explore our natural environment, must miss. All it takes is a little time and forethought and I truly don't think you could give them a greater present. Even those reluctant to get involved soak up the outdoors and they learn so quickly just even from watching.
Hope everyone who's planning to work with children has such a positive experience as we have.
Cheers,
Toddy
 

Mike Brady

New Member
Oct 25, 2005
6
0
57
Hamilton
Hi all,

just had a quick look throught this thread - some great stuff there. Here's a few more thoughts as I'm a Forest School Leader (its for all not just kids), Countryside Ranger and dad of 3 young kids (3-7 years old).

Kids can do most things that adults can and the majority of them are very sensible. Supervision is a must but also use your own knowledge to adapt what you do so it can be accessible by kids. Here's a few ideas.

Whistles/Jewellry - Use potato peelers, junior hacksaws and blunt ended round tent pegs to make whistles & beads from elder. Its also a small step from using a potato peeler to using a knife.

Shelters - don't leave Barbie or Action Man at home bring them into the woods and make shelters for them, develop your own village, include other toys. It's not pure bushcraft I know but the kids will enjoy being in the woods and will learn to use natural materials in ways that will surprise you.

Create Challenges - I've made a bridge kit which is basically a load of sticks of different lengths and thicknesses. Challenge the kids, or adults, to build a bridge that must be at least 6" off the follow and span a 'river' (I use a blue tarp) using the sticks and some string and sit back and watch the fun. Once they've built the bridge get them to walk over it to test it.

Splitting Wood - This never fails to interest kids. Use a wooden hammer (or a cut off branch/log) to hammer an axe into a log to split it and it becomes a lot safer than swinging an axe.

Anyway, you ge the idea.

Have fun.

Mike
 

pumbaa

Settler
Jan 28, 2005
687
2
47
dorset
Mike Brady said:
Shelters - don't leave Barbie or Action Man at home bring them into the woods and make shelters for them, develop your own village, include other toys. It's not pure bushcraft I know but the kids will enjoy being in the woods and will learn to use natural materials in ways that will surprise you.


I was reading about this in a country magazine at the doctors the other week , although they called them fairy homes . Some of the pictures taken of ones that children had done were very inspiring , there were ladders , balconeys , gardens and all manner of furniture . It put my bushcraft to shame !!!
wish i had a childs imagination !!
Pumbaa
 
D

Don'tkillbill

Guest
My 6 years old likes it when we make a fire and then eat something cook on the fire, marshmellows or hotdogs. Kids love nylon para cord they will tie anything up!! A little camera will get them to take pictures of anything, your attentions is what they want so make sure your not too serious.

This winter we are making a snow shelter in the back yard and hopefully she'll be up to the snow shoes I got her along with the mini camelback pack!
 

British Red

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Dec 30, 2005
25,705
628
Mercia
Nyayo said:
I've just got a full-time job teaching in September, and the school seemed interested in a Bushcraft Club, or similar. Any specific ideas on lessons, risk assessments etc. I was thinking of including shelter building, fire-making (especially team fire-drill use!), knots and outdoor cooking, with a bit of tracking, navigation and plant-identification thrown in.

Nyayo,

Just one small suggestion that I have found helpful. Try starting a "scrapbook" type project with the kids. My personal favourite is a "tree spotters" book. This can easily be done with a digital camera - what I like is to encourage kids to recognise all aspects of the tree - bark, leaf, flower (in season), fruit / nut etc. and a picture of the whole tree for context. This can also be done with real specimens in a scrapbook, but you need to be careful about damaging living trees and I've never quite figured out how to stick oak bark in a scrap book! Would make a fantastic wall display though - I guess you could use freezer bags for samples.

The real reason for this "project" has evolved from several thoughts:
1) The desire for something that "builds up" and can be carried out in a 10 minute walk in a park through to an extended holiday
2) Something that the child owns, is educational but quick to start
3) The ability to extend the hobby (try listing the uses for each type of wood - oak and ask are easy - what about a wayfarers tree?). This can lead to historical research etc. Everything from the enclosure act etc. to planting oaks to make tall ships
4) The need to stretch my own knowledge (a good guide like "how to identify trees" is vital - I love the line "lets look it up together" (aka "I haven't a clue")

Hickory makes the hottest coals in stoves when winter's bleak,

Apple wood like incense burning through the hall both fragrance seek,

Elm wood fires have little smoke and warm both serf and lord,

Oak logs split and dried this year make good next winters hoard,

Beech burns bright and fill a the room with warmth and dancing light,

Maple sweet, not white or red will burn throughout the night,

Birch logs cut, need ne'er be stored they blaze, then heat the pot,

Ash, straight grain and easy split the kettle sings, and stove is hot,

Poplar logs must need be dried lest smoke both then ensue,

Pine and fir midst showers of sparks burn fast and line the blackened flue


Hope that helps

Red
 

British Red

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Dec 30, 2005
25,705
628
Mercia
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.

RA, I suspect "snipe hunting" may have been a corruption of "The hunting of the snark" by Lewis Caroll

"JUST the place for a Snark!" the Bellman cried,
As he landed his crew with care;
Supporting each man on the top of the tide
By a finger entwined in his hair.

"Just the place for a Snark! I have said it twice:
That alone should encourage the crew.
Just the place for a Snark! I have said it thrice:
What I tell you three times is true."


Full text here:

http://www.pacificnet.net/~johnr/books/books.html

There are of course also jubjubs and bandersnatches to be caught!

Red
 

bowman

New Member
Jan 6, 2006
44
1
54
East Sussex
I have been teaching my 5 year old daughter to light the fires at home with me every night using a firesteel, or Princess Magic Fairy Sparks, as it has become known.
On a small scale, I think there's something very special about passing on this sort of knowledge to your children - although at some point I guess they would also like to inherit rather more from Dad.

I get a big kick out of it, though.
 

silvergirl

Nomad
Jan 25, 2006
379
0
Angus,Scotland
just thought I'd stick my tupence worth in. I was out in the woods learning for myself when i was four. My daughter who is now four spent her first night sleeping out when she was 4months old. In the spring they go and find their own salad from the woods at the bottom of the garden and i've taken them mushroom hunting since my son was 2 ( he is very sensible though) :)

I have worked for many years as a countryside ranger and have run nature clubs for children from the age of 5 up. There has never been a topic that I felt couldn't be incorporated somewhere ( with parental permission). :D

I ran a survival camp looking at traditional woodcraft and foraging skills for 5-10year old a few years ago and they all loved it there was not on of them that did not keep there attention for the whole thing. The key is to give them some resposibility and keep them busy.

I also run a girlguide unit. All the guides are into firelighting, cooking on open fires and surrvival techniques. My only problem has been other guiders who have said things like, well we don't want to encourage them to play with knives do we! :confused: ( no we want to teach them to use them correctly!!)

Hope this helps.
 
S

Siecroz

Guest
Here's the beginnings of Bushcraft for my Little ones. My Boy (Taylor, 4) and I spent the afternoon in Salcey Forrest near Northampton.. looking at bugs in his "Bug Collector", and collecting leaves in a "Leaf Bag" that I downloaded from the links at the start of this thread.
Its quite good as it has pictures of the different leaves on the bag so he could pick them up off the floor, learn what they are and keep them. I am planning to do some rubbings with him tomorrow for a daytime activity before I go back to work on Thursday (boo).
My Little Girl (Sammy, 18months) was happy just to get muddy and kick leaves about :D
 

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