Den building and campfire cooking

Posted on May 17th, 2019

For our final week of Easter Holiday activities I decided on a giant Den Building mission and a campfire bringing the children back to basics with some wild garlic cooking. It was an ambitious undertaking with a large group, however with so many older children so keen to take part it felt like the right activity. 

 

Den building and campfire cooking

It’s all in the preparation

As always with my activity sessions, preparation is everything. Farmer Nick had been talking about moving the Den building zone for some time and this prompted the activity. The old zone had been standing for many years and the branches were becoming so dry and brittle they were beginning to snap. Since we were talking about re stocking with new trees and branches we also agreed on a new location which I knew would be popular with the children.

The Bug hotel next to the fairy garden was a bit of a white elephant. The bugs never inhabited, preferring instead the giant toadstool seats of the fairy garden to hide under. Nick took it all down and spent a morning anchoring supports for a new Den building area in its place. He then chopped a load of branches and placed them all outside ready for me to use with the children. Felix, who was home from university, set up a lovely stone fire pit and seating for me and I prepared some cheesy bread mix. It all looked so natural I was delighted.

 

den building preparation

Excited den building kids

The children all came home from their days out super excited by the den building task ahead. Everyone had been eyeing up the growing mound of branches and couldn’t wait to see where they were going to take them. One by one the children dragged the branches to Felix at the Den building zone who took them from the children and agreed with them where each would go.

 

carrying branches for den building

 

In no time at all the den was forming and Felix was struggling to keep pace with the arriving branches

 

Den building teamwork

 

We were racing against the rain too and keen to get a good canopy over our den. It all worked a treat and easily housed all the children.

 

Crouched inside Coombe Mill Den

Campfire building

Felix explained to the children how to start a good campfire with dry wood and firelighters. He showed the purpose of the stone surround and let them help develop the fire once it was lit.

 

Lighting campfire

 

There is nothing quite like a campfire to excite children and they all crowded round adding firewood.

Cooking with wild garlic

Wild garlic is one of my favourite foraged herbs in spring and we have plenty on the farm. The children collected and chopped the wild garlic, then mixed it into a chunk of cheesy bread dough. Finally they wrapped it round a stick.

Making Wild Garlic Breadsticks

 

By the time the kids had prepared their garlic bread onto the sticks the fire was ready to cook on. The smell was wonderful and I wish I had a chance to toast one for myself!  

 

toasting garlic bread on a campfire

 

I love how the children were drawn back into the den to enjoy their garlic bread. 

 

Eating garlic sticks in den

A pack of marshmallows finished off the session. After all who can resist toasting one of these on a campfire?  

It was such a busy afternoon but one the kids all adored. Each took home some happy memories of fun on the farm with Farmer Nick and wild den building and campfire cooking with me.

 

 

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