Today we spent the day at Hill End outdoor education centre in Oxfordshire! It was fantastic and a setting I wish I had space for at home, to recreate! 
We started at the big sandpit where everyone enjoyed digging in and exploring!

They had a climbing area designed for the younger children. This gave little “R” a chance to practice her newly developed balancing skills.

She made it all the way up and over and then down the other side without any help!

We used the human sundial to tell the time. 11am. Bang on!

 We found the stream and enjoyed some stream walking, splashing and getting our wellies stuck in “Quick mud!”  This caused much giggling from everyone!

As we explored the wooded areas we came across several dens that had been made. They run bushcraft and Forest Tot sessions here so I guess these have been made during some of these.

We used some loose parts to make a see-saw!

They had a great sound garden that was made from recycled items. Old tubing, large plastic barrels, metal frames and shopping trolleys.

Brendan found a tube that he wanted to get in to. I had visions of him sliding in and getting wedged! Thankfully he didn’t go much further!

Heather’s friend came to spend the day with us. It was great as she is a q qualified teacher and it was lovely to have someone else asking open questions and encouraging the children’s thinking. Having an extra pair of hands came in really useful as well!

We spent quite a long time looking in the pond for water boatmen, pond snails and other creatures. We found some pond snails with their own little garden growing on their shells!

We found a field of sheep with a marshy reed bed in it. Great fun for playing hide and seek in!

After a good run around we made our way to the wooded area and came across the place where I think they must run their outdoor Forest Tots sessions. There was a half build round house in a clearing with lots of materials near by to make more thatching bales. We had a go at thatching the roof by lifting the bales and adding them to the roof!

We went inside and made a pretend camp fire!

Kenzie decided to rub sticks together and try and make a fire. 

Kenzie also found a well dug in the ground and decided to climb in!

We also found an oven dug and built up near the round house. I would love to build one of these in my garden.

Kenzie made a bridge over the well.

Then tested it’s strength by walking across it.

Brendan build more bales for the round house roof.

We took it in turns to lay the dried reeds on the frame and then used string to tie them all up.

Hannah showed “S” how to make bunny ears and tie bows. Working together to tie it all together.

Kenzie and I worked on the next one. Kenzie became quite frustrated on the bow tying so I think this is something we will have to work on.

We filled out our check list of fun things to do.

Little “R” is putting her new found confidence to use and gave tree climbing a go. All by herself. Not only that but she managed to get down all by herself too!

We found rabbit burrows and “S” and “R” decided to find out if anyone was home.

One of the things on then check list was rolling down the hill. Kenzie found rolling on his side hard, so he did roly poly’s all the way to the bottom.

Before heading home, we had one more thing to tick off the list. Make mud pies in the outdoor kitchen. So that’s what we did. Such a cool area. It is the one place that is used the most in my garden. We do not often use mud though. Usually all sorts of other stuff, but the mud was a huge hit!

If only I had more room in my setting!!


  • To offer the children space and time to run free and play. To explore different outdoor spaces that are well planned and yet still natural.
  • To encourage the children to take interest in our environment, conservation and living more in touch with the land.
  • To use tools and be aware of safety when out in nature. To risk assess their own play.
I plan to bring as many of these areas and learning environments in to my setting as possible with the space available. To spend more time in nature and find fun play experiences in the green spaces around us. I will also look to buy more outdoor wear for the children to use and keep in my setting rather than relying on things always being brought in from home.


    Little “R” was my only EYFS child attending on this day. She was so happy to be in this outdoor environment. She told me she had had a “great day!”  She was motivated by her own interest in exploring and having freedom to choose where she could go. It was lovely to not be enforcing too many rules on the children and they responded well to this. They stayed together, kept an adult in sight and the older children could safely explore a bit further afield but were sensible and checked in regularly with the adults.
     Little “R” built on her new found confidence to balance and climb. She has shown lots of independence and bravery while balancing over beams, climbing trees and logs, walking through streams and mud and using the climbing frame. She continued to try even when it was tricky and did not get upset or frustrated once. 
    She concentrated on her tasks and wanted to try everything!She explored and got involved in everything that was going on, sharing her ideas, engaging her friends in her play and exploration. Making links with past activities and play experiences and using that past knowledge to help her make choices during today’s play. She was so happy and proud of herself every time she achieved something new!

    Today’s play, meets the following EYFS Prime and specific areas
    • Personal, Social and Emotional Development
    • Physical Development
    • Understanding the world
    • Mathematics
    • Language and communication
    • Expressive Art and Design 
    • Literacy

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