Silent Walk – Sculpture Building – Animation
Location: Forest Fawr – UNESCO Global Geopark in the Brecon Beacons National Park, South Wales.
At the end of May 2016 I was very lucky to have the opportunity to work with a local Beaver Scout troop – 1st Rhiwbina River Kings Beaver Scouts.
I wanted the experience to be about embracing the natural world by listening to the sounds, smelling the smells and constructing with all manner of found objects. I wanted the participants to embrace the natural world whilst also engaging with their imagination.
The Silent Walk
The first part of the walk was about inviting the young Beavers to walk silently while listening to all the sounds around them. They did this for 5 minutes, then they had to either write or draw in notebooks that I gave them describing all the sounds. They did this twice. It was amazing how wonderfully the Beavers who were aged between 6 and 8 years were able to maintain the silence.
At the end of each session they got to share all the sounds that they heard. Some of the sounds included, feet crunching on the twigs, coats rustling, birds singing, dogs barking, machines working in a far off field etc.
On the next silent walk the Beavers were invited to use their sense of smell and try to pick up on all the different smells. Again they maintained the silence perfectly….lots of sniffing could be heard. Some of the sounds that they found were: Wild garlic wafting, Squelchy Mud, Leaves, Fresh Air and funnily lots and lots of they Beavers said they could smell Poo! He He! That did get great big giggles from everyone.
Some of the Beavers Sketches
The next part involved inviting the Beavers to collect interesting object from the forest floor. They were asked not to break anything that was growing but to only take from the forest floor. They were also asked to pick up rubbish along the way. They did this with exuberance, I had to discourage them from trying to gather objects that were far too large to carry on several occasions, objects such as half trees and huge rocks.
When we reached the end of the trail the first thing we did was to Invest two new Beaver Scouts. It was a really lovely to be a part of the ceremony and in such beautiful settings. Apparently it was the first Investment that the troop had done outside.
After the ceremony we split into two groups. Each group took two bags of objects each and emptied them out onto the ground. I asked both groups what they would like to make. There were a lot of ideas given and a vote was taken. It was decided that both groups wanted to make a dragon sculpture.
There was a lot of negotiation and great teamwork, it even got a little competitive towards the end but I think both groups worked marvellously and created two very different but exciting dragons.
Photos of the Investment Ceremony:
Photos of the Sculpture Building:
Group 1 – Dragon
Group 2 – Dragon
Photo Gallery of the Dragon Building
Stop Motion Animation
We only had 10 minutes left before we had to get all the Beavers back to their parents. I wanted to use technology in an outdoor space because I believe that humans can enjoy technology whilst also enjoying the natural world, and since smart devices are the language that these young people are growing up with I used an iPad and an iPhone with a preinstalled app called ‘Stop Motion’ to show the Beavers how to make a stop motion animations using some of the natural objects that were left over. A different level of outdoor play that possibly could engage the imagination and encourage the young Beavers to engage more with the outside world. A bridge if you like between the ‘Outside’ and the ‘Inside’, using ‘Play’.
See the wonderful little animations below:
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the leaders of the River Kings; Lion, Robin and Wolf, and all the parents for their support and of course the amazing and engaging Beaver Scouts who’s energy, imagination and teamwork made the day a wonderful success.