From understanding comes strength




We learned about native Scottish animals and listened to a story. We played games and used natural materials to create animals inspired by our story.

Friday 7th September

We explored Burn O’Vat and had a walk to the waterfall. We discovered our senses by using blindfolds and feeling different types of trees. We described their size and texture. We also took tree rubbings and looked at all the exhibits in the visitors centre. By looking carefully we spotted a small toad.

Blurb Friday 14th September

Our focus today was identifying different types of trees by their leaves. We used an identification sheet and collected leaves we found. We compared their different shapes and sizes and did some rubbings.

It was our first fire in the woods and we cooked baked potatoes for lunch and toasted marshmallows.

Friday 21.09.18

We looked in the woods for different varieties of fungi and found them in moist, damp places like rotting trees and in wet soil. Our story today was ‘Stickman’ by Julia Donaldson and we had fun thinking about all the different ways we can use sticks. We made our own Stickmen.

Our afternoon challenge was to light and extinguish our own 5 minute fires safely. We used flint and steels, cotton wool and Vaseline. We talked about how to keep safe when around fire.


We use a scavenger hunt focus to search for and find a variety of things in the forest. Some of us were very creative and managed to find almost everything. We listened to a chapter of George’s Marvellous Medicine by Roald Dahl before making our own horrible potions. Using our imagination we stirred this all up and created a magnificent potion.

It was great to see some wood mouse footprints in our tracking box today. We learned about the size and shape of mice paws and found out what they liked to eat.

Friday Group

Friday 2nd November

We continued our storytelling theme by making journey sticks. These sticks were a way ancient tribes told each other stories. A stick was decorated in various natural items collected on their travels and they made up stories round the camp fire. We tried making our own journey sticks and described our routes around the woods.

We split into two groups and made a story board from two well-known books; ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ and ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt.’ Both groups worked hard to depict their story using only natural items. Both groups guessed which book had been made.

Friday 12th October

We visited Crathes Castle today and had a tour inside. We learned about the castle defences and tools they used in the kitchen and in battles. We discovered that one part of the castle took 43 years to build. On our way around we looked for clues to discover two words about the castle. The Horn of Leys and the Green Lady were the words we found and we learnt about these stories.

Our RSPB challenge this week was a flower/plant safari so we explored the gardens and woodland looking for different colours, textures and the different ways plants grow.

We had great time picking conkers in the castle grounds.

Friday 9th November

We went to Stonehaven beach today to investigate a different environment from the woods. It was very windy and the waves were big. We had great fun standing down on the shore and trying to avoid getting soaked. We did a beach scavenger hunt looking for different shells, pebbles, sea glass, drift wood and a huge variety of other natural items you might find at the beach. When we were walking along the beach we saw a seal hanging on the beach. Once it spotted us it made its way into the sea and swam away.

After lunch we went to the harbour and had a look at some of the sculptures along the shore and the boats in the harbour. We spotted more seals in the sea. They were keeps an eye on us.


We discovered a local woods and collected natural materials which we observed closely. We drew detailed pictures of what we saw and played games to get to know each other better.

Friday 16th November

Today we went to Captain’s Wood and made obstacle courses with some rope and the natural environment. We were split into three groups to make our own course. We then went around everyone’s and did theirs.

For lunch we had tomato soup cooked over the fire with crusty bread and fruit kebabs with chocolate drizzled on top.

Friday 23rd November

Today we went up to the Forest and had to look for 3 things. We had to collect a long stick to make a flag, some items for our clay creature and an unusual item for our story writing. It was very wet in the forest, but this didn’t dampen our spirits and we all enjoyed being out.

After lunch, we went back to the activity room and made our flags. We all got very into it and didn’t have time to make our clay creature or write our story. But we have kept our items to do at a later date.

Friday 30th November

Today we went to the Duthie Park. In the morning we split into 3 groups and did one of the orienteering routes there. We had to learn how to orientate the map and learn what the different symbols meant. Using these new skills we all managed to find the points.

In the afternoon we went into the Winter Gardens. We had to look for and take photos of 10 different things. Some of the things we had to find were an animal, an interesting or unusual plant, running water, coloured glass and an insect eating plant. Once we had all been around the gardens in our groups we met up again in the Temperate House. Here we continued with our story telling theme and did some ‘wild writing’. We had to come up with a creative story using some on the things we had found. This is also part of our RSPB wild challenge.

Friday 7th December

Today we went to the Aberdeen Science Centre. When we arrived we did a Volcano workshop and learned why Volcanos erupt. We then made our own Volcano and made it erupt with vinegar, washing up liquid and bicarbonate of soda.

We then took part in a Science on the Spot workshop where some of us helped with different experiments.

For the final 45 minutes we were there we got to explore the different exhibits in the science centre.

Friday 14th December

We made a variety of Christmas decorations today using lots of creativity. Using the ideas from our storytelling week we thought about the creatures we wrote about and made them out of clay and natural materials. We used lots of ribbon and tying skills to make a hanging Christmas ribbon tree. Using wood slices we made tree decorations with Christmas designs.

Friday 11th January

Today we went to Woodend Barn Community Garden and explored, looking for different types of habitat homes. We found a minibeast hotel, bat box, log and stone pile, as well as a pond. We also walked around the outside of the allotments and looked at all the different plants, composters and bird feeders.

In the afternoon we went up to the woods and made a hog house and hedgehog café. We set up our camera to see if any animals go into the ‘café’ or check it out.

Friday 18th January

Today we went to Drum Castle in the Minibus. Firstly we did an egg box treasure hunt. We had to find 12 small different natural items and collect them in the box. We managed to find most of them apart from the flower. We tried to find a berry instead, but the birds must have had them all.

After lunch we carried on with our RSPB Wild Challenge. We have the Bronze Award now and are working towards Silver. We went on a minibeast hunt and looked in different cracks to see what we could see. We looked in cracks in walls, logs and trees. We didn’t spot many minibeasts because it was so cold, but did spot a spider and a lady bird.

Friday 25th January

We went back to the woods today for the first time this year. Our first activity of the day was to see how tall a structure we could make just using 10 canes and string. After this we were split into 2 groups again and some of us made clay faces on trees in the woods. We used the clay to make a face and then found natural materials to decorate them. The other half took part in a challenge called ‘toxic waste’. You had to move a bucket from the middle of a circle without stepping into the circle, using two ropes. After lunch we switched over.

Friday 1st February

Today we completed a photo treasure hunt along the river and paths in Banchory from school to the Milton. After being given a photo of a recognisable feature, which could have been a tree, bridge or landmark each team had to find a hidden letter and collect it. After finding eight different letters at eight different points the groups had to make a word with their letters. After completion the groups searched for hidden treasure (sweets)!

After having a picnic at the Milton picnic area we completed a wildlife I Spy activity down by the river.

Friday 15th February

Today we went to the woods and did some team building activities. During the first activity we had to take it in turns being blindfolded and given directions to a bucket of water to fill a cup. Still blindfolded, we then had carry the cup of water back to our team and pour what water was left into another cup. The first group to fill their cup won. The second activity was called the ‘leaky pipe’. There were two plastic bottles with holes drilled in and a ping pong bottle at the bottom. Again, in our teams we had to take it in turns to run to a bucket of water with a cup, fill it, and run back to pour into the bottle. We then swapped over. It was hard as there were lots of holes in the bottle and we needed to try and cover them all with our fingers to stop as much water as possible from getting out. The group who got the ping pong ball to the top of the bottle first won.

At lunch we had tomato soup and bread and in the afternoon, we made music using the natural materials.

Friday 22nd February

We learned all about using our fire skills to light Kelly kettles to make a hot drink. Firstly we collected sticks of 3 different sizes, matchstick, pencil and finger thickness. Using the flint and steel we lit cotton wool to start our fires then had to work hard to keep it going by feeding the fire without smothering it. It was good to see pupils talking confidently about fire rules and safety and demonstrating their knowledge. We played some team games, again thinking about prey and predators and using our senses. Everyone loved ‘sneaky circle’ and some great sneaking was seen! We ate sausages in a bun for lunch and finished by making smores.

Friday 1st March

Today we focused on trees. We started the day by selecting a tree and drawing it. We had to accurately draw the shape and any distinguishing features before using sticks to make an ‘X marks the spot’. We then swapped with someone who had to try and find our tree by standing at our ‘X’ and looking at the drawing.  After this we had to do a bark and leaf rubbing of our tree and try to name our tree. We started to learn about how to measure the width and height of our trees, which we will continue next week.

For lunch we had chicken wraps with salad, cheese and salsa. To finish off we enjoyed melted chocolate and chopped strawberries and bananas.

Friday 8th March

We carried on with our tree discovery from last week. We learned how to measure the width and height of our trees. We then had to identify our tree and describe what it looked like and felt like. Finally, we spent some time listening to the trees. During spring, when the trees are waking up, and drinking a lot to help them grow, you can hear the water travelling up. We tried homemade stethoscopes first, but did not hear anything. When we used proper stethoscopes we could hear tapping or popping.

For lunch we had lentil soup with crusty bread. To finish off we enjoyed vanilla sponge with chocolate chips baked in oranges we scooped out ourselves.

Friday 15th March

We had a creative day in the woods using natural paints we made from a variety of food and natural materials. We experimented with making different colours by mixing ingredients. Using the paint we made, we decorated cloth with nature scenes to make candle jars. Our conservation task was to make bee hotels using plastic bottles, hollowed out canes, straw, sticks and leaves. We learned about the importance of bees and ways we can help them. This activity will count towards our RSPB Wild Challenge.

Friday 22nd March

Today in the woods we played ‘What’s in the bag?’. We were all blindfolded and we had to use describing words to tell the others in the group what we could feel. They then had to guess what the object was. While our lunch was cooking we play an obstacle course egg and spoon race. We had to balance an egg on a wooden spoon and go over and under ropes, run around a log and avoid being squirted with water. We also played ‘Who am I?’.

Lunch was breaded chicken in pita bread with salad and cheese and for pudding we made damper bread. Once the bread was baked we could fill it with chocolate spread, jam or sugar.

Friday 29th March

We had a day out at Hazelhead Park today and enjoyed a play in the park and exploring Pets Corner. There were a variety of different animals for us to see and we learned about how to care for them and what they like to do. As well as popular pets like rabbits they also had snakes, fish and meerkats. We saw the goats, donkeys and the pig getting fed and enjoyed seeing the peacock strutting around.

The sun was out so we had a picnic in the park for lunch before having an Easter egg hunt. A clue was given and we had to try and find the place where the eggs were hidden, before receiving the next clue.

Friday 26th April

Today in the woods we did an activity called shake a tree. We had a white sheet, some magnifiers, a spot it sheet and pots. We used the white sheet to catch different mini-beasts out of the trees and used the pots to look at some of the mini-beasts we found with the magnifiers. We found lots of ladybirds.

We also played a couple of games called guard a tree and follow that log. For lunch we had pasta and tomato sauce and had popcorn after.

Friday 3rd May

Today we went to Aberdeen Beach. It was very windy and snowed while we were at the beach. Not only that, but the tide was in so we were unable to do what we had planned. However, we went for a walk to Footdee or "Fittie". It is an old fishing village at the east end of the harbour. We explored and learned a bit about the area and took photos of the gardens.

We also walked down to the harbour and watched some of the boats coming in. We met a man who was about to go out on a smaller boat to join a larger boat already at sea to work on the wind turbines.

Afterwards we drove around to the Torry Battery to try and spot some sea life, but the sea was too choppy.

Friday 17th May

We had our final day in the forest and shared our learning with staff and parents. We cooked lunch for our guests, tomato soup and smores, showed them around the woodland and demonstrated how to light a small fire. Inspired by the work of nature artist Andy Goldsworthy we worked to create our own nature art. We thought about shapes, colours and pattern. The sun shone for us and there were lots of smiles all round.