Autumn is finally here and it feels like party season, not least because it's just been my birthday.
I thought I'd post a quick blog about the 50DT parties, which are probably unlike any birthday party your child has been to before. For starters, we're outdoors, whatever the weather (although I have been known to take pity on parents and shunt a party earlier or later to avoid monsoons) and children children are encouraged to turn up in their oldest, least glittery outfits.
After a short circle time introduction - welcoming partygoers, agreeing our party ground rules and discussing what we'd like to do - we take a tour of our party venue. Parties usually take place in one of the local green spaces or woodlands, which are open to the public, so it's important to recognise and mark out (using our hazard tape) our boundaries. Children are then free to play with whatever dangerous stuff they've chosen to try.
Den building, tree climbing and tree swings are inevitably top of the list, but we always light a fire in order to cook the party tea (baked potatoes, beans, cheese - what's not to love?) and toast marshmallows for S'mores. Our 'leave no trace' philosophy means the fire's lit in our fabulous emu-roasting tin (actually an old helicopter oil change drip tray) and we take absolutely everything away with us at the end of the party.
This weekend it's Miss M's birthday party and in addition to the activities above, she's chosen to use the fire to create pewter pendants. We melt the lead-free pewter ingots in crucibles on the fire, and then pour it into shapes we've carved out of clay or cuttlefish - I'll try to remember to post some pics next week.
Find out more about pewter casting here, at the website of forest school and outdoor learning guru Lili Vanilli.