Rhubarb and Wren

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Rhubarb and Wren is a parenting blog full of play ideas, tutorials, recipes, reviews, and articles.

http://www.rhubarbandwren.co.uk/home/how-to-make-a-magnificent-forest-mini-den

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We made use of our #conker haul this week by making conker creatures like this little #dragon ! I think what the kids enjoyed most (besides making holes in the conkers) was the search for the natural materials we used - twigs, leaves, the husk from some cobnuts... it gave them such delight to find things - already beautiful, textural, and interesting - that they could transform with a bit of paint and imagination. Proving yet again that #nature really is the best art supply cupboard! Thanks to Gemma @meemooandpook for lending me a corner of her lovely blog for this guest post tutorial - check out her profile for the link and loads of great play and crafting ideas!
Love this carving of a child climbing up through an old tree stump - it's half hidden behind a climbing frame at the amazing #dianamemorialplayground in #kensingtongardens . Just catching a sight of it from the corner of my eye, I thought for a split second that I'd caught a glimpse of a real child scrambling up - and half feared, half hoped it was one of mine! #londonpark #woodcarving #carvedtree
Catching raindrops on her tongue during a sudden rainstorm! One of the lovely things about #autumn is that #rainydays are often not that cold or even particularly grey. The weather lately has been full of variety - rainbows, mellow sunshine, quick rain-showers and the odd, sudden, flurry of hailstones. It can turn even a trip to the supermarket into quite the adventure!
It seems like only yesterday I was lifting this little one onto each rung of the playground ladder, and hovering anxiously while she tottered along the climbing frame walkways. Now, I can't keep up with her as she scrabbles up and races off! It's so wonderful to see this fierce independence and confidence growing, but I can't help feeling just a teensy bit glad when something sends her scurrying back to me for a reassuring cuddle! #playoutdoors #playgroundfun
We've been making making mini #dens for our #MailegMouse - a great way to teach kids the basic skills and techniques they need for fully-sized ones. We've lots of tips and ideas on the blog (link in bio) to help you make some mini dens with your kids while you're out in the woods this autumn- and another plus is it'll keep them too busy to hunt for any more conkers... #wildchildhood #denbuilding #funoutdoors #playoutside #playoutdoors #forestfun @mailegworld
I spent ages stalking this #peacock desperately hoping he'd open up that tail for 'the money shot'. Then after a while of watching him, I realised what I was seeing was plenty beautiful already - even though it wasn't the picture I thought I wanted. Made me think about taking pictures of the kids, and how I want to resist the urge to direct them into posed images - instead trying to capture the true magic that's already there in whatever it is they're doing. Do you stage shots with your kids? How do you catch those perfect moments?
Hurrah for Forest School! We missed having our sessions over the summer holidays, but we spend that time mostly outdoors anyway doing very similar stuff. I really love that having Forest School over the autumn and winter forces us to be outside having fun on days when we might otherwise be tempted to stay huddled up inside, missing out on that connection to nature and the seasons you only get when you experience them all. What does it take to get you outside when the weather's bad?
I am become Dance Mum... The Horror!! In all seriousness, though, now that the kids are back at school/nursery and all the extra-curricula clubs up and running again, it worries me how little 'free' time they have to just play and be. On the one hand, we want to challenge them and give them the opportunity to learn new skills and have new experiences; on the other, give them space to breathe and rest and be bored and think and play... but it's week two, and I'm already exhausted - never mind them! How do you find the right balance?
Climbing up a #slide - possibly even more fun than sliding down it! I love watching how kids tackle climbing a slippery-slip - throwing themselves at the task with fearless gusto; absolutely determined to reach the top and utterly convinced they can do it! If I can teach my kids anything in life, it will be to hold onto that feeling and approach all the challenges in their future like they're a slide to climb...
'Something's in there, Mummy!'... It didn't look so much like a scene from a horror movie at the time - when I took this snap during our walk in the woods, we were thinking along #PeterRabbit kind of lines. But looking at it now, I'll admit there is a #strangerthings vibe going on here. 😱 Nevertheless, I'll focus on remembering her innocent pleasure in finding the secret doorway into another (rabbity) world - just a gnarly, hollow old tree stump with a few cracks and crevices, it took only a sprinkling of imagination to turn it into a fairy castle. I'm definitely thinking fairies, and not that scorpion-slug thing from #flashgordon ... not thinking of that at all.
#nofilter #naturekids #treestump #naturewalk #exploringnature #forestchild
#Autumn seems to have arrived so quickly this year. #September has barely begun, and already the #conkers are falling from the trees (one within a whisker of my head, much to this one's amusement!). We've had great fun today collecting a big pile of #horsechestnuts that we'll be playing with for months to come - some for play, some for crafts,  and, of course, some to be drilled for playing conkers... and there's strictly no baking, vinegar or varnish allowed!
We gathered our first #cobnut #harvest of the year from the tree in the garden today. The kids loved snatching the hanging clusters down as I bent the tallest branches to them, then shelling the nuts from their husks while sitting out in a gorgeous, golden autumn afternoon. #Hedgerow #foraging (even in our own garden!) is such a lovely tradition to keep up with the kids - it reminds me of doing the same with my great-grandmother, Rhoda, who would climb over fences to get to the best trees when she was well into her eighties - her walking stick was mostly used for hooking down high branches, and she could crack a walnut with her bare teeth... mind you, not all those teeth were real!