Saturday, 16 June 2012

Accidental Educating

Well, this weekend we've started in a very organised way (unusually for us)!  Hubby and I had actually managed to make plans before the weekend arrived, and we'd agreed that we wanted to do an all-day trip to Hatfield Forest (National Trust) - all-day as it's quite a trek for us, being about an hour's drive away - and as the forecast for today was mostly dry, we packed a picnic and headed off.

It really was a lovely visit!  On the one hand it was just a lovely family time - which is what our main aim was, but I've also been thinking just now about how much curriculum can be covered in a simple "walk", without even trying.  Most obviously perhaps, there were some great Science opportunities: we took magnifying glasses (unfortunately we lost one - sigh), and much time was spent finding bugs and identifying them.  We also saw some ducks, geese and a grebe on the lake - and we were delighted to see that all of them had babies.

DS1 took his camera (there's Art for you) & learned the importance of patience when photographing living creatures... there were quite a few blurry shots before he caught this lovely one (first of the four), and when we got home he had a play on our photo editing programme to try out some special arty effects on it. I think they look great!



We also had a Maths opportunity, working out if we had enough money for certain souvenirs (yes) or to buy everyone a hot chocolate (no); we did some English, reading signs and talking about what they might mean (eg 'concealed hazards' in the lake), and Design & Technology, discussing why they thought chickenwire had been put on the wooden walk-ways; we played frisbee with DS2's purchase from the gift shop; we also played hide & seek in the woods, made dens, and used fallen logs to balance on and then jump off. And we walked for miles! In fact, we didn't stay all day as we ended up walking further than expected and we were all too worn out to go any further, so we got home by 3pm, at which point we all collapsed in the lounge with a hot chocolate :)
So considering we were just after a nice family walk in the fresh air that we'd been longing for yesterday, we managed to accidentally cover an enormous amount of 'curriculum' at the same time!  None of it had been planned (unless you count grabbing the cameras & magnifying glasses on the way out of the door), it just came up as we were wandering round... what a great start to the weekend though - we must try this day-trip organising lark a bit more often!

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