Monday, 2 July 2018

Hatfield Forest: Cassatt

When you go down to the woods today...
... you're in for a lot of fun!

Children in Reception went on their school trip to Hatfield Forest today. After a short coach journey to the forest (which was really exciting, spotting familiar sights around town!), we arrived and found a nice shady spot under an apple tree. Tina and Janet were our teachers for the day, and they explained what we would be doing. 

Cassatt first went on a Forest Habitat adventure with Janet, who taught us all about the different birds we might see out on the lake. We learnt that the beaks would be rounded if the bird ate vegetation, like ducks, or pointy if they needed to hunt for fish, like the swooping Arctic Terns. The children used binoculars to try and spot an elusive Grebe hiding near the pontoon. 

We then tip toed very quietly to a shaded area, where we could spot a Moorhen's nest amongst the branches. Arthur practised looking through his binoculars very carefully and was able to spot some young red-headed Moorhen on a nearby log. 

After this we went deeper into the forests and got building! We imagined that we were birds building a large nest for all the eggs. We had to make sure that the sides of the nest were tall enough to hide the eggs within, and the children also made sure that there were some nice soft leaves inside to make it warm and comfortable.

Cassatt's nest was so big, it even had room for the grown ups!

At lunch time, we all had a picnic in the shade of the trees.
We had to build up some more energy for the afternoon!

In the afternoon, Tina took us on a sensory walk. We first used our eyes to spot as many different colours around the forest as we could. We found all sorts of different coloured flowers, feathers, soil, and even an elegant white Swan glided past! Red was the most difficult colour to find, but luckily Zak was an excellent Nature Detective and he spotted some reddish green leaves in amongst the bushes.

The children were then challenged to use their sense of touch to find lots of different textures in the forest. We found soft feathers, bumpy twigs, prickly leaves and even scratchy lichen. There were some brilliant Agent Communicators at work in their task!

Next, we had to use our sense of hearing. We were given stethoscopes to listen to the very roots of the trees and, if we were very quiet, we could hear the trees taking up moisture from the ground beneath us. After this we closed our eyes and listened as a big group to the sounds that could be heard all around us. We heard bees, the wind, birds and even an aeroplane overhead!

Finally, we were challenged to make the smelliest, stinkiest, most foul potion for the greedy (but very friendly) troll hiding under the bridge! The children all mixed their own stinky potions using only the leaves that had already fallen from the trees, and a lot of mud and water. Our poor parent helpers had to help the teachers decide whose potion was the most awful (a very smelly job indeed) before we poured them out to feed the troll to keep him happy.

The children and adults had a really wonderful time at the forest. Thank you so much to the parents who helped us on the day! And thank you to Hatfield Forest who were fantastic. We highly recommend paying them a visit over the summer as there are lots of activities that they offer.

All tucked up in our cosy nest!

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