Stomping Grounds

Bringing Forest School to You



What the research says

So today is the day that I need to complete my ‘research review’ – analyse current research on Forest School and its impact.

Obviously, having read 2 paragraphs I’m already sidetracked by “how cool is that?” and “excellent quote!”

So this post is, quite literally, a bunch of copied and pasted quotes that I’ve found interesting and would like to return to at some point. And I thought you might find them interesting too. Links to articles appear underneath each quote. Read, ponder, enjoy, then get outdoors.

“Research in America (Taylor et al., 1998; Fjortoft, 2004) has found that children who play in natural environments undertake more diverse, creative and imaginative play, forming an important part of a child’s development.”

“Impact of Forest School engagement:

Six themes underlying the propositions of change

1. Confidence  Characterised by the self-confidence and self-belief that comes from children having the freedom and the time and space to learn, grow and demonstrate their independence.

2. Social skills Characterised by an increased awareness of the consequences of actions on other people (peers and adults). The acquired ability to undertake activities with others, either by sharing tools and tasks or taking part in co-operative play.

3. Language and communication Characterised by the development of more sophisticated uses of both written and spoken language (vocabulary and syntax) that is prompted by a child’s visual and other sensory experiences. These experiences can also stimulate and inspire conversation among children who are otherwise reluctant to engage in dialogue with peers and adults.

4. Motivation and concentration  Characterised by keenness to participate in exploratory, learning and play activities; also an ability to focus on specific tasks and to concentrate for extended periods of time. In conversation at school or at home, children display a positive attitude to Forest School in particular, and to learning in general.

5. Physical skills Characterised by the development of physical stamina and gross motor skills – the physical skills and coordination allowing the free and easy movement around the Forest School site. As well as the development of fine motor skills, this includes the effective use of tools and the ability to make structures and objects, e.g. shelters, dens or creative art projects.

6. Knowledge and understanding Characterised by a respect for the environment and an interest in the natural surroundings: making observations and insights into natural phenomena such as seasonal change, and the ability to identify different species of flora and fauna. This can be reflected in improved academic attainment.

Two themes on the wider impacts of Forest School

1. New perspectives Forest School can give teachers and practitioners a new perspective and understanding of the child as they observe them in a different setting. A different relationship can develop between children and teachers as the former see the latter in a different setting, and see them coping with some of the same challenges as they face themselves. The Forest School setting also provides an evaluative space to identify the individual learning styles of each child.

2. Ripple effects beyond Forest School As a result of taking an active part in Forest School, teachers gain the opportunity to inform their own practice, and adapt their approaches to outdoor learning. Owing to children’s enthusiasm for Forest School, they bring the experience ‘home’. This can result in changes to out-of-school routines and behaviour, with parents taking their children outdoors more. Parental interest in and attitude to Forest School can change over time; parents have the opportunity to develop a different attitude to the outdoors, including altered perceptions of risks.”

Click to access fr0112forestschoolsreport.pdf

Forage, make fire and experience the wildside

Come down to the woods to play! Saturday 17th September 10am – 3pm

Stomping Grounds have been working with Pia Castleton of The Wild Orchard and The Semibreve Supper Club to design a day for women.

We’re excited to launch ‘Stomping Grounds for Big Kids’ which aims to use play based experience and Forest School ethos to help grown ups to reconnect with themselves and their surrounding landscape.

This first event, Forage, make fire and experience the wild side, is all about a holistic journey through the forest and field. Through the process of gathering tinder and fuel to light your fire, gathering flora to make teas and food, cooking on the fire, gathering around the fire, and sharing your food and thoughts we feel grounded, a sense of calm, strength, achievement, and an understanding of the inexplicable connection between nature and self.

womens forage.jpg



– Practicing the craft of FIRE MAKING using natural tinders and fuel from the woodland. Foraging for MEDICINAL PLANTS to make tea with and to make our own HEALING BALM. Enjoying a SEASONAL, ARTISAN LUNCH and snacks which we’ve helped Pia to create using FORAGED WILD PLANTS. PLAYING in the outdoors and immersing ourselves in nature!

To book please reserve your space via the paypal link (fees apply) or email to requests BACS details for transfer. If you’d like more information email –
Or ring Sophie for a chat  – 07950118816




Campfire soup – simple campfire cooking for all the family


A warming vegetable soup to enjoy around the fire with your friends. Ask each member of your party to bring a vegetable, and this really does become a community meal!


3 cups of warm water Vegetables (washed, Peeled and chopped) Splash of olive oil Stock cube 1 heaped TBSP of herbs from the site (optional)



Knife, Peeler, Chopping board, Pan, Spoon 


Start a fire and burn off a decent amount of coals. Place a stand over the fire to put your pan on. Add the water and stock cube.

Wash, peel and chop the veg. It is important to use the peelers and knives safely, and with good distance from your peers.

Add chopped veg to the water (carefully to avoid splashing hot water on yourself). Add herbs and olive oil. Cover the pan with a lid to help it cook quicker.

Keep checking and stirring the soup.

Once vegetables are soft, serve with warm bread.


Bannock Bread on a stick – campfire recipes


Bread on a stick…..add your own extras to make it savory or sweet.


1 cup self raising flour

½ cup powdered milk

1 teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon of salt

Splash of oil

½ cup cold water




Dried fruit



Chocolate chips


Mixing bowl



Long stick with end burnt off





Start a fire.  In a bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients in a bowl, then slowly add a splash of oil and the water until you get a dough like mixture. It should have the texture of playdoh. Be careful not to add too much water. You probably won’t need all of it.

Roll the dough into a snake and then start to wrap it around your stick,

Hold the stick over the campfire, slowly turning so it cooks evenly on each side.

Once it is browned on the outside and makes a hollow sound when tapped, it is ready to eat!


It is best to use green wood to cook on the fire, as it still has sap in it and will not set alight. Green wood is wood that is fresh from the tree rather than dry brittle wood. Green wood bends rather than snaps. It is a good idea to either whittle the bark off the end you will use for cooking, or burn it in the fire to remove any dirt or germs.


IPad Generation

It’s a concern. Observing behavioural differences of pre schoolers (including my own) when in front of a screen vs when roaming free (indoor as well as out) is scary. Some say that giving kids access to technology is important as their future jobs/lives will rely on the skills to use it. I disagree. Technology changes so rapidly that a 2 year old’s iPad skills will be irrelevant by the time they are ready to face the world alone. We need to promote metacognition, so they can learn how to learn, problem solve and adapt to the ever changing world. Technology has a place in a toddler’s world, but it needs to be monitored, regulated and balanced with a wide range of invitations for other types of play. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts!


Half Term Forest School Survival

Half Term Survivalimage

Hapa Zome – Leaf Bashing!

Hapa Zome

 Japanese art translating literally as “leaf dye”

Here’s one way of using the Hapa Zome technique to create something Christmassy. Do you have any other ideas? Give them a go.

Find a nice juicy bracken leaf.

Place the leaf on a piece of paper and onto the cotton.

Fold the cotton over so it covers the leaf.

BASH the cotton until you start to see the juices from the leaf come through.

Peel back the cotton and the leaf to reveal your beautiful Hapa Zome.

Decorate with pens to make a beautiful handmade Christmas Card.

Feel free to search the woods for other leaves and flowers to bash.

Make as many or as few as you like!

Woodland Parties

If you’re looking for a party with a difference, this might be for you!

Based in Thornley Woods, Gateshead, Stomping Grounds offers a 90 minute Forest School party including a lunch box and toy.

Scavenger hunts

Woodland games

Campfire cooking

Mini beast hotels

Den building

Story telling


Elves and fairies

£15 per child including lunch. Themed cakes available at request. Suitable for ages 3+. Minimum 8 children.

Contact Sophie on 07950118816 or to start planning a party to remember.

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