Forest school largely focusses on developing the individual. This can be achieved through informal activities eg. free play time, or through organised group activities. One example of the latter is group involvement in entertainment around a campfire (with or without an actual campfire!). Organisations such as the Scouts, Guides and Woodcraft Folk have long used campfire entertainment to pull the group together, enabling confident individuals to perform individually and less confident ones to participate and build confidence by contributing as part of the group.

David Horne





Entertainment could include campfire songs (usually involving choruses, rounds or simple line variations), story-telling, jokes, dramatic vignettes, poems, instrumental sessions, shouts, tricks …….. The list is endless.

Singing can be a challenging activity for some. However, singing chorus songs, especially through the anonymity provided by a nightime venue, enables even the least confident participant to get involved and benefit from the experience. The best songs are those that repeat or build slowly. Old McDonald and One Man Went To Mow are well known examples. Old McDonald provides the opportunity for participants to make appropriate animal noises, whilst at least one variant requires hand actions. As the song progresses it becomes more complex, requiring participants to remember more and more words.

Songs can also be used to reinforce topics. When I First Came To This Land addresses the sustainable living issues faced by frontiersmen in the New World. Participants have to suggest appropriate words to cover needs such as a shelter (shack), transport (donkey), sources of food/drink (hen/cow), the need for partners (wife) and the next generation (son). They have to come up with rhymes for each word (although a skilled campfire leader already has appropriate rhymes – just in case).



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