Day three of 2017’s #30DaysWild saw us achieve something I intended to do last year but didn’t manage to in all 30 days – take part in a specially organised #30DaysWild event.
Mini Explorers takes place at Boultham Park in Lincoln on the first Saturday of every month and we have often meant to go along to one of the free (but booking essential) sessions and seeing June’s event being promoted with #30DaysWild in mind gave us the extra prompt to get in touch and let the organisers know we’d like to come along.
As we regularly visit the park we arrived early to take advantage of the play area (where an immediate game of hide and seek appears to be mandatory) to try and prevent thoughts of it becoming a distraction during the event and we also caught the end of the weekly Lincoln Parkrun which Luke made quite clear that he would’ve liked to join in.
Then it was time to gather outside Boultham Library for the 10.30am start where we met park representative Neville and Jo who leads the sessions and headed into the wooded area of the park to hear the first instalment of Julia Donaldson’s well-known tale The Gruffalo.
It became clear very quickly both how much preparation had gone into the event and how popular The Gruffalo continues to be, with children being able to recite the words along with Jo’s reading.
As we headed to different part of the park’s wooded areas, the children were challenged to find bits of the Gruffalo’s body that Mouse describes – “his eyes are orange, his tongue is black, he has purple prickles all over his back” – and Luke was particularly delighted to find the first part, the “terrible teeth” for his “terrible jaws” under his feet.
Keeping Mouse safe from the Gruffalo’s terrible claws, the mini explorers found a den, helped reassemble the Gruffalo, listened to the end of the story and discovered several residences fit for some furry or feathered creatures.
The hunt completed, Mouse once again safe nibbling his nut, the children finished by making a bee hotel to take home. Already prepared were the half plastic bottles with string to tie them up at home, a drawn “bee face” in the end and pipe cleaner wings. Each child was given a couple of hollow elder tree sticks to put in it and then were tasked with packing them in tightly with other sticks from the ground around them.
Public parks are such a precious community resource and it was lovely to see so many people enjoying the green space in so many different ways – on our way out I was even privileged to spot someone riding a bike without stabilisers for the first time and the joy the achievement it brought to both child and accompanying family members.
Boultham Park is particularly fortunate to be undergoing an extensive restoration project which “aims to revitalise the park, restoring features and developing new facilities, encouraging community involvement and ownership, as well as creating lasting memories for local people and park users.”
Keep up to date with all its latest news and progress at www.boulthampark.co.uk