It’s half-term coming up and there are lots of fantastic bushcraft activities the children can get stuck into, come rain or shine. Here are just a few ideas:
Build a campfire
Fire is a key component in bushcraft and survival. It keeps you warm, provides light and you can cook your food over it. But a campfire is also a great way of getting people together and enjoying each other’s company without ‘modern’ distractions. With a little preparation, lighting a fire is simple. While the actual fire lighting should be left to an adult, children can enjoy helping to gather all the materials.
Build a shelter
Children always enjoying building a den. Working together and using a little imagination, you can together create a lovely natural shelter that will keep you warm and dry. You don’t even need to venture out into the woods to do this. You can always build a shelter in your back garden. Once built, where better to play games, eat a meal and just enjoy being outside.
It is simply amazing what delicious things you can find to eat outdoors. Foraging is a great activity for all the family and can be extremely rewarding. By law, you are allowed to forage for fruit, flowers, foliage and fungi. You can do this anywhere, but you must have the right or permission to be on the land.
Things to forage:
- Wood sorrel
One of the most important rules with foraging, is if you aren’t 100 per cent sure what it is, then DO NOT eat it. If in doubt, leave it out.
Cooking in the great outdoors
There is something extra special about preparing and eating food outdoors. The fresh air and woodsmoke seem to add a wonderful extra flavour to the dish and it is a great way of getting everyone to work together. Cooking over a fire is pretty easy and there are so many tasty and fun things you can cook, including:
- Twist bread
- Stews and soups
Animal tracking uses footprints, trails, feathers, kills, scratching posts, drag marks, smells, and behaviour exhibited by other animals, to identify an animal. It’s a great way to learn more about the landscape and sharpen the senses. Have a go trying to track some deer, badgers, wild rabbits or even wild boar.
You can practice this anywhere. Use the sun, a shadow stick, tree and moss growth or the watch method to help you. A compass is a great tool to help you experiment with natural navigation and easy to use. Just remember that the big red arrow always points north.
There is something quite wonderful about spending time outdoors making something beautiful and practical that will last a long time. For children it is just as satisfying and carving a tent peg, is a great way to get them started with using a knife. As their confidence and skills grow, they can move on to making a pot hanger, spoon or even a cup. Children should of course only use sharp tools under supervision, and it is important that they understand how to use a knife safely before they get started.
Important to remember
- Knife law: Whatever bushcraft fun you have planned for the half term, it’s important that you know the law on carrying and using knives.
- Leave no trace: Once you have finished your activities it is essential that you leave no trace that you have ever been to that area. The key essence of Bushcraft is respecting the environment and other people that may also use that area.
For more family bushcraft fun, sign up to our next Family Bushcraft course which the whole family can enjoy. You can also get your hands on a copy of Bushcraft: A Family Guide, a fantastic resource full of ideas and guides on how to enjoy the great outdoors with your friends and family. Get your copy from Amazon and all good book shops.