Who are the VYFWBP?

We are a friendly community group, run by parents, who meet every Thursday morning in West Bank Park, York. Whatever the weather, school hols included, we spend a couple of hours in the woods and meadows of the Park, doing nature games and crafts, building or making things with materials we find, telling stories and singing songs.

We are open to all - with a contribution of £1 a family (to cover basic equipment) - so if you want to join us, see you on Thursday at 10am at the statue of Queen Victoria, at the top of the Rose Walk. (Bring something simple to share at snack time.)

For more information contact Elly at: westbankparkkids@gmail.com

Monday, 30 June 2008

What we have been doing this spring and summer

Greetings everyone,

Below is part (2) of the rundown of our activities this year: March-June 2008. And then we will be up-to-date! Thanks to Bryony for the lovely photos of Iona planting bulbs and going on a Dick Whittington expedition, and for her suggestion sent by email for a future activity (a nature trail).

06.03 World Book Day: a Gruffalo Walk through the woods with adults playing parts and children puppeteering (adults very enthusiastic, children more interested in racing around)
13.03 Bulb planting with our excellent Parks Officer Stephen Whittaker - in the woods this time - English bluebells, snowdrops and anenomes.
20.03 EASTER: decorating boiled eggs (children) and blown-out eggshells (adults) with coloured tape and felt pens, to make an Easter branch for the Park cafe; meanwhile Easter bunny was hiding chocolate eggs around the cafe for the children to find. Rosemary told 'The Ugly Duckling' with pictures of goslings and cygnets.
27.03 Playground brainstorming: met in the small children's playground and drew ideas for playground improvements on a large map - children took over and decorated the map their own way! Then a birthday story about Isobel (aged 4) and cake!
03.04 'Tracks and Trails': made trails using stones, cones, twine etc. then children followed each others' trails. Meanwhile visiting origamist Luke Segaran showing children how to make birds. Story about Granny and Max going on a night walk and leaving themselves a trail of shiny pebbles to find the way back home.
10.04 Making flags and Dick-Whittington-style travelling bundles with sticks and cloth, filling bundles with treasures (eg. pretty leaves, mandarin oranges) and going on an 'adventure' into the laurel bushes to eat them; looking for frogspawn in the wildlife garden (sadly all eaten by magpies!)
17.04 Ladybirds: colouring pictures of them, and dashing out between rain showers to find some real ones. Hanging up birdfeeder balls.
24.04 Pouring rain meant not too much happened this week...
01.05 RHYME TIME RAMBLE with Anneliese Emmans Dean (finally!!) A ramble through the woods with Anneliese's magic rhyme basket - we said an ode to Queen Victoria, 'wriggly wormed into the woods', had rhymes for the earthworms and spiders we found, and ended up at the Story Trees where we each had to make an offering of a very special feather, pinecone or leaf so the Trees would allow us to have a story there! Luckily they did - it was called 'Bim the Bird' and we loved it! See Anneliese's blog and lovely photos of the Rhyme Time Ramble at http://thebigbuzz.wordpress.com/2008/05/01/rhyme-time-ramble/
08.05 Making May Crowns from entwined willow twigs and fresh flowers - luckily the gardeners were removing some late primroses and polyanthus from the flowerbeds, so we helped ourselves to those and looked like kings and queens!
15.05 Making an obstacle course - not a tremendous success but the kids had a good time racing around the Story Trees!
22.05 Making perfume in a basin of water using what we could find: lemon balm, pine needles, blackcurrant leaves, and a bit of grass and soil....each child took some home in a mini-jam jar.
29.05 Painting on large unfolded cardboard boxes, the result used as scenery in the lunchtime performance of 'Compost - the Mini-Musical' by older children on a half-term holiday activity, which many VYFWBP parents and children stayed to watch.

05.06 Making binoculars (using card and sellotape) and going birdwatching, using a picture guide Laura had made of the most common birds. Children enjoyed looking at pondskaters and spiders in the wildlife area too. Went to see the woodpecker nest where the babies were starting to poke their heads out to see how far they would soon need to fly down. We told a surprisingly successful story relay-style all together, about the woodpeckers and their busy parents.
12.06 Making elderflower lemonade, using hot water, lots of elderflowers, sugar and lemons - children enjoyed picking flowers off and squeezing lemons. Waiting a while during storytime, then straining and drinking the juice - most delicious!
19.06 MIDSUMMER PARTY under the pines and birches: decorating candles with coloured wax, then a picnic - with the candles lit for a few minutes, despite the wind!
26.06 Indian Day: made a teepee using long branches which fell during the stormy weather, propped against a tree stump and covered with cloths (pegged and stringed together!) Also headbands with feathers, and an Indian story ('Little Bear and Silver Star') and songs.

Well there we are! We have had a busy few months...

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Our beloved Queen Victoria

Our beloved Queen Victoria
We sometimes bow to her before we set off into the woods!