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Case Studies from Sensory Nature Adventures and Play

Dinosaurs at Eden Project

We collaborated with Eden Project to plan and deliver 10 special relaxed style sessions of their big summer event Dinosaur Uprising. The sessions took place twice a week throughout the summer holidays before the site opened to the public in the morning.  Families of children with special needs were able to enjoy the Eden Dinosaur experience at their own pace in a more calm and gentle environment followed by an opportunity to meet the dinosaur puppets in person and enjoy a hands-on sensory experience with them. We ensured that signage included Widgit symbol language and staff were trained in using basic Makaton. Our preview session on 26th July allowed us to test out the lighting and noise levels and we received some fantastic feedback;

“Thank you so much for the opportunity to visit Eden this morning! It was the easiest and most enjoyable visit we've had to the Eden project. All of the kids loved it! If more places did this sort of thing it would enable lots of us to attend”.

To find out more download our recent article Making Changes at the Eden Project (pdf 852k) and find out about how we work with Eden Project to create inclusive events.

Families enjoy the relaxed Dinosaur experience at Eden Project

 

Little Harbour Hospice

We were very fortunate to spend two great sessions at Little Harbour Children’s hospice run by the Children’s hospice South West. Little Harbour is a warm and wonderful place with amazing staff who make families feel instantly welcome.
We went in to trial some of our new resources and get some feedback from both families and staff. Due to the weather on the first session we used the story quest inside. The children and staff were brilliant at using their imagination and sending us all over the building to find things and complete the quest.  The quest is designed to let everyone take a lead if they want to on different sections, this makes it an equal experience with all children getting to contribute. The quest involves many sensory experiences – stimulating the sense of taste, making loud noises, being very quiet and even creating a movement to go with your quest name!

On our next session, the weather was better (marginally!) so we found coats, boots and hats and got out into the garden! The children collected interesting plant material to make nature frames. As always when we run outdoor activities in winter people were surprised about how many different textures, scents and even colourful flowers we could find! When the rain got heavier we retreated inside with full bags of foliage. Each child then set to work creating a nature frame and the results were beautiful! Some of the children had a session of sensory stimulation using the textures and scents we had collected with some great reactions. Once the frames had been completed, and we’d all eaten lunch, we ventured back out with a pack of gofindit cards and searched for things that were smooth, green, round and yuck! We used our frames to photograph what we found. The children really enjoyed this, searching out the perfect smooth thing and finding the best way to take a picture of it. Nobody noticed the rain or the wind!

We then did another story quest to round up the day, again the children had a selection of sensory experiences which led them through their quest. They all said they enjoyed using their imagination and going on a journey together!
As always, the staff were brilliant and gave great feedback on the resources and how they might use them in their setting in the future.  Little harbour is fortunate to have fantastic grounds which are perfect for doing sensory nature based adventures and play!

Children at Little harbour hospice enjoying some nature based activities

 

Wheal Martyn and a group from Sense

We had a great day at Wheal Martyn with a wonderful group from Sense. We were fortunate with the weather and everyone was very enthusiastic to get stuck in to some activities.
We based ourselves in an accessible room on the edge of the Wheal Martyn country park, this allowed us to have some space to do some workshop activities with easy access to lots of lovely green space. We started the day off by making some nature frames which proved very popular with the young people and the volunteers! The idea is to decorate up your frame with any natural materials that you can find, in this case we collected them before as we didn’t want to be helping ourselves to the gardens of Wheal Martyn. We had selected a range of textures, shapes, colours and scents in the plant materials so there was plenty to choose from and something for everyone. Once the frames were made it was time to head out with a selection of gofindit cards to see what we could find. We were no more than five steps out the door before one young person had focused in on a flower bed finding something yellow, something rough and something small. Some people chose to take photographs of what they found, others worked meticulously to seek out each of the cards they had been given!

Making nature frames at Wheal Martyn with Sensory Trust and a group from Sense

After some refreshments, it was time to head out again for some texture seeking. We used texture spotting cards to match textures around the site and gave everyone a piece of material which they could use to take rubbings. The outdoor museum of Wheal Martyn offered so many unusual surfaces to collect texture rubbings from it was hard to narrow it down.
We rounded off the day by making a sensory map of where we had been, what we had done and what we had discovered along the way. Everyone got really stuck in, using the Widgit stickers, sense stickers, pipe cleaners and playdough to create a very creative 3D sensory map of our day.

We had a great day spending lots of time outdoors exploring through our senses and making new friends. We hope to work with the group from Sense again in the summer and see what else we can do at the fantastic Wheal Martyn. Thank you to everyone who took part for making it such a brilliant day!

Doing rubbings and making a map at Wheal Martyn with Sensory Trust

Family nature day at Upton Cross

We have recently run two successful events in partnership with I Love Nature at their wonderful site in Upton Cross, near Liskeard.

Typically, we had mixed Cornish weather on both days but we could be quite reactive with our activities moving to different parts of the site! We began the day with a trip to see the Alpacas that live on the site and feed them some carrots, this was a lovely way to get to know the group and everyone was very pleased to meet them!

feeding alpacas and gathering materials for nature frames

We then headed back to the barn to start the nature frames activity, we gathered our collecting bags and headed out to see how many interesting textures, smells and shapes of plants we could find. It was great exploring and finding the ideal plants to use. When we had enough we started building our frames, families came up with interesting ways of attaching the plant material, even a large pine cone was not too much of a challenge! The frames were all beautiful and unique and it was great to see the level of detail that went into making them. When the frames were built we got our question cards and cameras and headed out to see what we could frame. The families took some great pictures and it is always interesting to see what catches people attention! The responses to the questions were great, questions such as ‘What is behind you?’ and ‘What makes you smile?’.

Nature frames are used for different ways of seeing

After some great exploring, it was time for lunch, but it wasn’t that simple, you had to help make it! We stripped down nettles and added to them to the soup, some brave children even learnt how to fold a nettle in such a way that you can then eat it without getting stung! We then each took a stick and prepped it for cooking out bread, we rolled out the dough and wrapped it round the sticks ready to cook over the fire. They were delicious! We had to be very patient but they were worth the effort!
After lunch, we were ready to go into the woods to create homes for creatures that live there. The families were presented with a range of materials such as sticks, stones, tiles, pine cones, mud and other treasures. The houses were brilliant, very creative! After we had made them we took it in turns to share with each other what we had created. The detail was fantastic! There were intricate paths to get in, cosy beds for sleeping, secret rooms and even a letterbox for post!
The days were fantastic and it was great to see the families enjoying the different spaces and activities. Despite the mixed weather we spent most of our time outdoors and plenty of fresh air was had by all!

making nettle soup, making bread and creating woodland homes at i love nature


We would like to say a special thank you to our volunteer Cassie Aspden from Falmouth University who helped out on the day and took photographs.

Days out with Action for Children

We have run two successful days with Action for Children at I love nature and King Edward Mine. Action for children SPACE programme based here in Cornwall is a service that supports disabled young people in their own homes or to access their local community and have fun, it makes a real difference to them. The staff from Action for children offer respite care to young people with disabilities. The young people ranged from 8 to 16 years old.

Our first session was a sunny day at I Love Nature near Liskeard. In the morning the young people enjoyed exploring their senses, making vegetable characters, making bread dough and cooking it over the fire. After a well-deserved lunch, we made nature frames and played our card game gofindit using the frames. We then made fairy homes out of natural materials, which were all very well thought out, some of which were several storeys high! We rounded up the afternoon meeting the animals including the new micro pigs George and William!

SNAP day with Action for childern at I love Nature and King Edward Mine

The day at King Edward Mine was a more action-packed affair with lots of activities and things to explore on the site. We made newspaper wands to use in the sensory story which we shared outside, then it was off down the trail to explore the site and reach the engine houses. We talked about the different types of engine houses used for tin mining, using special actions to help us remember them!

After lunch, there was a scavenger hunt, calico rubbings, a tour of the mill and making settling jars. It was non-stop and everyone had a great time, we all made new friends, learnt something and had plenty of fresh air. The staff at King Edward mine were very accommodating and having our own room to go back to for lunch and snack always makes a big difference.

It was a pleasure to work with the children and wonderful staff at Action for Children and we hope to run some more days in partnership in future school holidays. Helping young people build confidence in exploring nature and discovering new places is a wonderful thing.

If you would like to find out more information please contact Lynsey or Claire

01726 222900 alternatively you can email  

lrobinson@sensorytrust.org.uk or cfrancis@sensorytrust.org.uk

 

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