The only negative thing about this book is that I had to wait until after a week’s holiday to review it!! And then I was nearly late for the school run because of the darned thing!

Written by husband and wife team Naomi Walmsley and Dan Westall, Forest School Adventure is a real outdoorsy gem. It should be on every family’s Christmas list.

Image of illustration of back pack and leaves with words Naomi Walmnsley and Dan Westall beneath

Inspire Kids to Get Outdoors

On first flick through, Forest School Adventure is a book for parents wanting to learn easy outdoor skills to have fun in the woods with their kids (including those parents who like to read up in advance so the kids think they’re awesome outdoor adventurers!)

Children’s Reading Book

It’s also appealing as a reading book for kids, probably from age 7, to go through and choose activities they’d like to try. With supervision a lot of these can be attempted by the children themselves.

Caroline’s ever-growing list of things to try ‘without Wild Mummy’ includes goblin village making, natural collages and sculptures and one she won’t be able to keep me away from, making a bottle filter for water! Great for recycling plastic bottles.

Younger children will enjoy looking at the pictures. And they’ll all be dragging you down to woods at every opportunity!

Image of double page spread of book showing photos, illustrated fox and paw prints

Forest School Leaders

Unusual craft/survival skills such as making an atl atl & spear make it a useful book for trainee and qualified Forest School Leaders, as an aide memoire or inspiration for session planning. If you don’t know what an atl atl is you’ll just have to buy a copy!

Family Fun

Caroline and I have loved poring over this book, heads together, planning what we’d like to try next (I have a certificate in outdoor learning and there are lots of ideas I’ve not even heard of!) It’s a great all-round family hit in our house and leather pouches for carrying tinder are next on our agenda.

There are also recipes which we’re going to try, lots that you wouldn’t necessarily consider in the woods, and we’ve already added cheese (and blueberries though they weren’t suggested in the book!) to our damper bread at Cubs, as per a recipe in the food section!

Image of damper bread wrapped around sticks cooking in red hot embers of camp fire

Learn New Skills with Forest School Adventure

The fascinating authors are trained in survival, bushcraft and forest school. Naomi and Dan undertook a 5-month Stone Age immersion experience in America; basically wilderness living with no modern equipment, so if that doesn’t qualify them to write a book like this, I don’t know what does!

They include anecdotes from their wilderness experience (being stared at in animal-hide camouflage on having had to briefly re-enter civilisation to avoid a forest fire was particularly insightful) and photos of children in action in the woods.

Image of double page spread of book showing children in woodland, with acorn and feather lying on page

The book yells out to be read over and again and taken into the woods to get covered in mud and ash as you try new activities.

It’s a perfect book for any family wanting to have fun outdoors in the woods. The are four sections, Nature Awareness, Bushcraft, Wild Food and Games covering everything from simple outdoor crafts for toddlers to games, fire-lighting, cooking, spear-making, leatherwork, survival, first aid and almost everything in between. More things you can learn about include: –

  • natural glue making
  • clay pot making
  • foraging
  • healing herbs
  • plant identification

Design & Layout

Forest School Adventure is larger than I expected, a squat A4, and printed on a smooth, slightly matte-finished paper sourced from FSC sustainably managed forest. An immediate Brownie point from me. It was love at first sight from the moment I opened the package.

Image of double page spread of open book showing children hugging trees

With 175 pages the book is a cross between hard and paperback. Is there a word for that? I guess it’s officially a sturdy paperback. It has a cover flap at front and rear, ideal to mark favourite pages, ideas or recipes. There are enticing photographs and illustrations throughout.

I was going to say it’s the ideal book for outdoor parents wanting to learn more forest skills but it’s so easy to use and clearly laid out I’d equally recommend it for non-outdoorsy families who are looking for inspiration and advice on how to learn woodland family activities from scratch.

Image of forest school adventure book front and back cover folded out on beige background

Pros and Cons

Actually I’ve thought of a negative! I’d love to see a couple of pages on tree identification. There you go, it couldn’t be completely perfect. Pros – everything!

Buy The Book

To get a copy of the Forest School Adventure Book click on the image to find prices at Amazon. RRP £16.99

Forest School Adventure book

Check out Naomi and Dan’s trailer

NB Kids of the Wild received a copy of this book for the purposes of review. All views and observations are my own (and Caroline’s, aged 9).