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30th November 2023

Willow weaving wonders!

Today was a day to show character and resilience as the first winter cold snap took hold.  As the day wore on, the groups found it a little easier, but they all did really well and got on with the session activities even with a few cold fingertips!  

To help keep us warm, the starter game was a new one for the children called, please Mr Crocodile.  A wide river was marked out with cones and one child was a crocodile in the middle, with the others as prey on the bank.  The children on the bank would call out “please Mr Crocodile, can I cross your river?” to which the reply was “yes, if…”  The crocodile had to choose a letter in someone's name or an item of clothing or colour someone was wearing.  That person could cross the river safely, but the others then had to cross without getting captured by the crocodile. 

After a few games, we talked about how difficult it was when all the group was running and how it became difficult to single out one person.  Prey in the natural world adopt a strategy of safety in numbers tactics to avoid being eaten!  The children were certainly warmed up afterwards.

The main session was to use willow leaders to make hoops.  The children learnt about why the willow is a useful type of material for crafts as it was very flexible and supple due to the water content.  We agreed though that it wouldn’t be good wood for fires!  The participants needed to strip the leaves from the leaders and then pre-bend the lengths. They then made hoops and rings by weaving the ends in and out.  There was lots of good concentration and focus being applied, as the children needed to be careful not to snap the leaders when weaving, or catch anyone else with the flailing ends.  Once complete, some got creative and decorated them with ivy, making christmassy wreaths and crowns, whilst others were used in throwing games the children improvised and made up.  It was a super chilly and super fun day.