Category Archives: Children And Bushcraft

Brereton Bushcraft For Kids Day

bushcraft for kids day jamboree

Bushcraft For Kids Day

bushcraft for kids day jamboree

bushcraft for kids day jamboree

We are pleased to announce that there will be a special Bushcraft for kids day to raise money to send some young people to the World Scouting Jamboree 2019 in USA.

A great Christmas gift for kids. get them outdoors learning new skills whilst building their confidence. Don’t miss out on this great opportunity. Book a place on the bushcraft for kids day, whilst there are still places available.

The day will introduce young people to essential bushcraft, survival skills. These will include water collection and purification, fire starting, shelter, cooking. The day aims to help young people learn new or develop skills they already have and to have fun.

Bushcraft For Kids Day Event Details

The Venue is Brereton Scout Hut, Brereton Park, Brereton Green CW11 1RY

It will run from 09.00hrs to 16.30hrs

Cost is £15

You can download a form here.

If you have any questions please contact me

Email nic @ (Remove Spaces, it is like that to stop robots spamming me)

Through Bushcraft4 kids Facebook page 

Text or phone. 07979646754



Teaching Foraging For Kids

blackberries-Foraging For Kids

Teach Kids To Forage

Importance Of Teaching Foraging For Kids

Foraging for kids-Parents Bushcraft

Foraging for kids-parents bushcraft

I am often asked about foraging and children. I look back at how I learned about foraging. It was a natural part of growing up, as I walked around the countryside with my parents and some other adults they would point out plants and berries. I would be encouraged to try them, and I learned what I could eat as a snack when I was outdoors. When I was out playing I didn’t want to run home for snacks, so I would find my own. During part of my life I stopped learning, but what I learned quickly returned and some had never left. To this day I still don’t eat much chocolate and prefer nuts and berries.

Nutrition and diet is seen as an important part of all our lives. Foraging is a skill that is important today as it has been in the past. Snacks in a child’s daily routine can play an important role to help manage their hunger and assist in boosting their nutrition. If people time snacks well it can not only help to manage hunger, it can also help provide a much-needed energy boost between meals.

Often, we see adults and children growing bored of the same so called healthy snacks, expensive punnets of fruit, bread sticks. These foods are often processed, flown many miles and sprayed with insecticides. With a little knowledge you can provide healthy snacks that can be found all around us and are seasonally fresh, containing many vitamins, nutrients and minerals. Plus, they are all free.

Why Teach Kids To Forage

It is a great advantage for our children to learn how to forage. It not only provides valuable nutrition, it teaches them about nature and the world around them. As I said earlier, learning about foraging was a nature thing to do and also something that has had a lasting effect on my life. This is something we should all be passing on to our younger generations.

From my experience children love being given the opportunity to find something outdoors that they can eat. After a little encouragement to try the new foods, many children light up at the thought of foraging, finding and trying new food that is growing wild. It quickly becomes a fun and enjoyable activity, whether it is plants, nuts, berry’s or bugs.

By showing them that eating some plants should not be scary, but fun. Teaching them to manage risk, a skill lacking in many young people that is taught through most area of bushcraft. Taking a little caution, plus lots of positive encouragement, there is not reason children shouldn’t be able to positively identify a variety of common and safe wild edibles.

As I have said many times previously our children are missing out on engaging and learning from the natural world. This often leads to adults having a lack an understanding of the importance of nature to modern day society. This leads to society becoming disconnected from the food they eat.

Getting Started.

The best starting point with regards to teaching children about foraging for wild edibles are common berries with no poisonous look a likes, for example blackberries and Elderberries. These are widespread and taste sweets, making them more palatable for young people. This gives them a positive experience when trying something new. It is important to make foraging a fun positive experience. Edible flowers can be another fun food source for kids Dandelions are found in abundance and it can be fun munching on a few petals. Alternatively collecting bags of the big yellow heads and use them to make dandelion syrup this can then be poured over freshly homemade pancakes.

When out with children point out and identify trees with children


Pennywort is easy to identify and plentiful. It can be found growing in hedges that have stones and in crevices in Rocks

Pennywort Foraging for kids

Pennywort Foraging for kidsrocks.

Flowers: Spikes of greenish- on stems that may be a reddish shade

Time: flowers in spring and as late as May and early summer depending on location.
It really is an enjoyable edible wild plant, with a mild taste with a sweet crunch, it can be eaten as a salad vegetable or to add to sandwiches.

Most of all – make a great snack food.


elderflower- Foraging For Kids

Elderflower- Foraging For Kids

Elderflowers are one of the UK’s signature wild foods. It is found in abundance in early summer. Although the flowers can be taken from the stem and added to salads or jellies, they aren’t usually. You can make a great snack for children by turning them into fritters. Finely chop the elder flowers and mix with flour, water until you get a thick batter and then fry in hot oil for a minute or two. You can lightly dust them in cinnamon, along with a small amount of brown sugar or honey.

common sorrel-foraging For Kids

common sorrel-foraging For Kids

Common Sorrel

Common Sorrel can be found growing in most types of pasture, including meadows, roadsides and hedgerows. The flavour is: a citrus, sharpness often described as tasting a bit of sherbet. It is a quite distinct taste, not like anything else. Common Sorrel is an easy plant to identify, the lobes at the base of the leaf always point backwards down the stem.

Warning It does contain oxalic acid. Avoid eating too much in one day, however, a good fistful is uplifting and refreshing when out and about.


blackberries-Foraging For Kids

blackberries-Foraging For Kids

This was one of my childhood favourites and I would often return home with stained fingers and the evidence around my lips. I come across more and more children that have never eaten one of natures abundant fruits. Wild blackberries are like the ones you buy in the supermarket, but with more flavour. The fruit, which ripens from mid-summer to early autumn, turning from green to red to black. There are so many things you can do in the kitchen with these, but you can’t beat just eating them from a bowl.

Always put safety first.

Always remember the Number one rule of foraging. Before eating anything from the wild is to be sure of its identification. You must emphasise this to any children prior to going out. I recommend having the following rule and ensure it is ingrained in the children’s head’s.

NEVER taste ANYTHING unless they have double checked with you that it’s safe to eat.

If you have any doubt, then just leave well alone.

Ensure that they are picking their edible plants from a safe location.

Never collect plants for eating from a busy roadside or low down on a path frequented by dog walkers.

Always have fun.

Foraging is a big adventure for you can capitalise on this by setting mini challenges. Make a list of challenges, for example, who can be the first to find a certain plant
Children are usually good at recognising edible plants but often get the names confused. Lots of repetition of the name will help, bring the plant and confirming identification with you also helps. An additional activity that children like is pressing flowers and plants. This can be done between heavy books or you can make your own press. After the plants are pressed they can be mounted in a reference book or laminated. Children enjoy this activity and can build their own reference material.

There are numerous books that are very good, and it is good to collect several to use as a reference. One book I like that is suitable for many environments both rural and urban is “The Edible City” by Jon Rensten.



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Building Bushcraft Shelters for kids and everyone

Lessons in build a shelter

Building Bushcraft Shelters From Tarpaulin or Natural Materials

Type of Survival Shelter using a Tarp or Poncho.

If you have read the previous articles about selecting a shelter site and the first lessons of shelter building, you will realise it isn’t just about starting to build bushcraft shelters. Once you have answered the question posed previously you will be ready to start looking at what type of shelter you are going to build and how to build bushcraft shelters.

If you are lucky you will have some resources at hand to create a simple shelter. It is a piece of kit that is versatile and has been used over time for many uses. It is the Tarpaulin “Tarp.” Or as was used and still is by some soldiers the poncho.

The Lean-to Shelter.

The lean-to on one of two simple and effective shelters that can be erected quickly and provide effective shelter from the elements (Sun, wind, rain and or snow) One benefit is that you don’t need any tools and minimal resources.

Lean To Tarp Shelter Building shelters

Lean To Tarp Shelter Building Bushcraft Shelters

The Lean-to is the most basic shelter and all that is needed is a tarpaulin and 2 to 3 meters of some sort of twine/cordage (Paracord is often used for this purpose and is recommended to be carried when outdoors because it is versatile and strong.) Ideally you also need three or four stakes approx. 30cm (one foot) long. These can easily be made by sharpening one end using a knife or large rock. The final element needed is two trees two or three meters apart. You can use poles for this either improvised ones made from fallen branches, walking poles or tent poles.

Prior to starting to construct the center you should have selected a suitable area. With this shelter you should consider the wind direction. You want the back pointing towards the incoming wind. Some people have suggested you can have the wind coming from the side and the side will be blocked off by some other means. What ever you do don’t have the wind blowing directly into the front of the shelter. It will make it un comfortable sleeping in it, cold and wet if it rains. Plus, your shelter might be blown away at any time.

If using a poncho remember to tie off the hood or you might have a leaking shelter.

  1. Cut your Paracord/cordage into two and tie one piece to the corner grommet of the Tarp and the other piece to the other adjacent grommet.
  2. Tie a “Drip stick” approx. 5 to 10 cm from each grommet. These sticks should be approx. 10cm long. The purpose of these is to stop any rain water from running along the paracord/cordage back towards and into the lean-to. This technique can be used along any grommet on the shelter. Tying a drip stick to a short length of cordage can help control the water caught on the tarp flowing back into your shelter.
  3. Tie the cordage at the corners to the trees around waist height. It is good to get into the habit of using quick release knots for this. It makes it easier when breaking camp. Keep the tarp taut between the two trees
  4. Spread the tarp out tight and fasten it down using stakes through the grommets.

Additional tips.

If instead of using trees you use stakes in the ground, you will need to use additional guy ropes to keep these tight.

If you are going to be using the shelter for more than one day you need to put a center support. If this is a poncho you can tie cordage around that and over a branch. This will stop water pooling in the center of the tarp. Some people suggest using large rocks to cause water to pool at the bottom of the tarp and cause it to wear quickly.


Tent Style Shelter.

There are benefits and disadvantages to the tent style shelter. The low profile gives increased shelter and traps the air around you in the small area. The disadvantages are it has less storage space and is restricted when getting in and out.

To build this type of shelter you need a tarp or poncho, two lengths of paracord or suitable cordage each 1.5 to

Tent type Tarp Shelter Building shelters

Tent type Tarp Shelter Building Bushcraft Shelters

2.0meters (5 to 8 feet) long. Six sharpened sticks approx. 30cm long and two trees approx. two to three meters (7 to 10 feet) apart

Again, start by tying off the poncho hood if using a poncho, as you would with a lean-to shelter.

Tie a 1.5 to 2.0meter length of paracord/cordage to the center grommet on each side of the tarp. The opposite ends need to be tied  to the trees creating a tight ridge line for your tent style shelter. The sides of the tent style shelter should be pulled tight and pegged down using the wooden stakes through the grommets in the corners of the tarp.

If you are going to be using the tent style shelter for more than one night you should use a center support. This could be the same as with the lean-to shelter, tie a piece of paracord/cordage around the hood and over a low branch.

An alternative is to build an additional A-frame outside, over the center of the tent. To do this use two stakes approx. 120cm long, one with a forked end. These rest together forming an A-frame for the center line to attach to. The only issue here is stability of the A-frame. To improve this you can use additional lines tied from the a frame to the trees.

The tent style shelter, can be made using stakes instead of trees. A pole should be put from the ground to center grommet along one side of the tarp. The same should be repeated on the opposite side. As with the Lean-to style shelter you will need additional guy ropes to make this stable. If this method is used it reduces even further the room available for accessing and exiting the shelter.

Survival Shelters From Natural Materials

Bushcraft Shelters using What nature provides.

The following shelters can be made in a wooded area using materials that can be found or made from what nature provides. All you need is a knife or blade tool (Even this can be made.) In this article I won’t be going into making cordage. When starting to build these types of shelter I would suggest using Paracord and learn to make cordage as a separate task. Then you can concentrate on making a good strong structure. When working with young people I would recommend the same course of action. These types of shelter take a lot of time, effort, energy and resources over shelters made using a tarp.

Lean-to Shelter

To get started you will need the following.

Lean to Shelter Building shelters

Lean to Shelter Building Bushcraft shelters

  • Two up trees (or strong upright poles) about 2 meters (7 feet) apart.
  • One pole approx.. 2 meters (7 feet) long At least 2.5cm (1 inch) in diameter.
  • Five to eight poles approx.. 3 meters (10 feet) long 2.5cm (1 inch) in diameter
  • Cordage/Paracord for lashing horizontal beams to the trees
  • Saplings to cover/crisscross the beams.

How to build a lean-to shelter.

  1. Lash the 2 meter (7 foot) pole between the two trees or support at approx. waist height. This will form the horizontal support.
  2. Place the 3 meter (10 foot) poles on one side of the horizontal support. As with the lean-to made with a tarp ensure the shelter is facing with the front exposure facing away from the incoming wind.
  3. Alternatively if you have access to many long poles, put a 2 meter (7 foot) poles on either end of the horizontal support. Then lash an extra 3 meter (7 foot) horizontal support half way up between the two poles you have placed at either end of the top supporting pole. Then prior to moving onto the next step place more 2 meter (7 foot) poles next to each other creating a solid lean-to shelter roof. The continue to step 5.
  4. Crisscross saplings or vines across the beams
  5. Cover this with Brush, leaves pine needles or grass. Start at the bottom and make your way to the top.
  6. The thicker this final covering the better the insulation above you.
  7. For additional warmth at night some people recommend heat deflectors. There are arguments as to whether there is any benefit from these deflectors given by these. Personally I would recommend if you have a tarp hang it over the front of the lean-to creating an enclosed sleeping area, with the option of having it open. I believe that this along with additional insulation is the best way of keeping dry and warm.

Adaptations Of This Lean-to Shelter.

Once you have mastered this technique of building structures it is possible to make more adaptations. The Obvious one is to make it into a design similar to the Tent style shelter made with a Tarp. These structures if made well can last years and with a little maintenance will be as efficient as the day you built it. But the time effort and materials needed to make these means it is worth taking time to start making what you want from the beginning with the view to expand. For example, instead of building a straight forward tent style Shelter I would consider a design with a small log wall to give a little more head space.

The Debris Shelter.

This shelter in its basic form is one of my favourites to build with young people. Although they are quite small they are very efficient at keeping in the heat and keeping you dry. The principles involved in building this are simple, the key to success is building it well. It is time consuming but worth the effort.

To start building this you need.

  • A ridge pole, between 2 to 3 meters (7 to 10 feet) ideally over 4cm diameter
  • Two poles to make a Bi-pod to hold the ridge pole up at the entrance. One with a forked end.
  • Sticks of various lengths to stand against full length of ridge pole.

Building A Debris Shelter.

  1. Take the two pieces for the entrance and place them together. They need to provide a support for the ridge pole.
  2. Place the remaining sticks along both sides of the ridge pole. These need to be able to support some weight. As seen in the picture. These need to be relatively close together. Gaps will be closed in the next stage.
    Debris Shelter Building Shelters

    Debris Frame Shelter Building Bushcraft Shelters

  3. Take finer sticks, weave them along the sides, starting to fill in gaps and make the sides stronger. Continue weaving these sticks until stop small debris like pine needles, leaves, grass etc from falling through.
  4. Start adding fine, ideally dry debris to the structure. Although the lattice is to stop this debris falling through, I would recommend trying to start with larger debris. Try and start with dry leaves, a layer of dry leaves will close most smaller holes. There is nothing more demoralising to put effort in to collecting debris to then watch the majority fall through gaps to the floor of your shelter. It is like taking two steps forward one back.
  5. Debris Shelter Building Shelters

    Debris Shelter Building Bushcraft Shelters

    After you have your initial layer on the shelter continue putting the debris until you have at least 1 meter (3 feet) of debris on the shelter. It is a case of more the better. A good judgement is that it should be as thick as the length of an adult’s arm, hand to shoulder.

  6. For the entrance make a lattice door that can be pulled over the door when you are inside. The thicker the better. Once you have you lattice door weave thin saplings into the door. Keep as many leaves on as possible. You can also push leaves or grass into the structure. The thicker the door the more insulation it will create.

Additional Insulation for Shelters

When we are outside we need to remember the importance of keeping warm.  the rule of 3 in survival is an innovative formula, it prepares you to fight with the incapacitating power of nature and give life a fair chance to live. It prioritizes your basic needs in order of priority.

You cannot survive:

3 minutes without air

3 hours without shelter

3 days without water

3 weeks without food

As you can see shelter is second in the list, stating you can only survive approximately three hours without shelter. This statement is based on the assumption that your core body temperature can fall without action being taken to a level you will cause you to die. This can happen day or night to anyone, it is important you are aware of your environment and take action to keep warm. At night it is important that you take precautions before you sleep.

Most heat is lost at night through the ground when people are sleeping. There are two things you can do. First and most important is to ensure you have insulation between you and the ground. The best way to do this is put a layer of material under you like a mattress. Use thin branches, pine needles, grass and dry leaves. Ensure the material is dry and is approx. 30cm thick. Do not use bracken as it often has ticks which can lead to Lymes disease. Saying that, if it is all you can find it is better than hypothermia.

Items of use for building shelters and den building.





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Selecting A Shelter Site

Selecting a Shelter Site

Selecting a good shelter site is the first step to a great shelter

In a survival situation shelter is a high priority, it is important to select a good shelter site as soon as possible. Whilst doing so, bear in mind what you will need at the site.

In relation to the site there are two priorities that initially come to mind, when selecting a shelter site.

Lessons in build a shelter

Lessons in shelter building

  • Contain material to make the type of shelter you need.
  • Be large enough and level enough for you to lie down comfortably.

In addition when you are selecting a shelter site you may need to consider the following:

  • Provides concealment
  • Has escape routes, from animals or people.
  • Is suitable for emergency signalling, if necessary
  • Offers protection against wild animals, rock fall and dead trees that might fall.
  • Free from insects, dangerous reptiles, and poisonous plants.
  • You must remember the problems that could arise in your environment. For instance, avoid:

Flash flood areas in foothills.

  • Avalanches in mountainous terrain.
  • high-water marks.
  • the season of the year has a strong bearing on the site you select. Ideal sites for a shelter differ in winter and summer because you have different needs. During cold winter months you will want a site that will protect you from the cold and wind, but will have a source of necessary fuel and water. During summer in the same area you will want a source of water, but you will also want the site to be almost insect free.

To select a good shelter site follow B.L.I.S.S.

When you are selecting a shelter site you should use the following acronym. B.L.I.S.S.


Blend in with the surroundings.

Low silhouette.

Irregular shape.


Secluded location.

The next step is to start building. To do this you can find all you need outdoors. If you are doing this activity with children you may want to be prepared and have some items that may be useful.Pieces of wood, tarpoline or paracord.


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Prepared to Build a Shelter-First Lessons Bushcraft

Build A Shelter – First Lessons

Are you prepared to build a shelter?

The initial thoughts people have when asked the question “Are you prepared to build a shelter” is “Yes of course I am.” But in reality there maybe questions you haven’t thought about previously. When we teach young people about Shelter building we need to do more than teach how to build a shelter or tie a knot.

Lessons in build a shelter

Lessons in shelter building

It is looking at what our needs are and are we able to meet those need in the time we have. Planning is one of the most important skills you can have to be able to survive. When planning to build a shelter in a survival situation you need to plan more than where should I build it.

Many articles have been written about shelters. Very often the focus is the environment you find yourself, for example a snow hole when there has been heavy snow. Although this may be a factor when considering a shelter, there are many other factors to be considered. Some of these are more important considerations an individual may have to consider.

In my opinion, the most important consideration to be made is what are your needs. Although shelter is a priority in a survival situation, it is also a task that can take a lot of valuable, energy, time and resources. So, your first thoughts should be to answer questions surrounding the following areas.

  • Purpose of your shelter. Build what you need
  • Time, A valuable resource.
  • Resources, Building with what you have not what you want.

What is the reason to build a shelter?

This is where most people make a mistake and a point that many articles fail to cover. So, before you decide to start building it is important you stop and think about what you need. If you are planning to stay outdoors for a long period of time it may be a idea to build a substantial shelter that one that will take more time, energy and resources in the near future. Once you have decided what type of shelter you need you can then consider other critical issues. You might not need a water proof shelter, but you may need one that provides shelter from sun and or wind. Creating the wrong shelter can cost you a lot of time effort and energy.

Time. A valuable resource.

Time is something that has an impact on everyone, no matter what situation we are in. Whether it is our busy everyday lives, at home or at work or a survival situation where your life could depend on it. The first “time question” should be “Why do I need a shelter? You might be thinking that’s obvious, to keep you warm and safe. The problem is you don’t gain anything from that. You need to change your perspective on “Why you need a shelter.” Is it to survive a night or possibly two or are you planning on using your shelter long term. The answer will have a huge influence on what type of shelter you need.

Secondly, how quickly do you need the shelter and how long do you have to build it. If it is getting late on in the day and you need shelter it is unlikely you are going to build a shelter that will last days let alone weeks or months. So, you may have to build an initial shelter that

time prepared to build a shelter

time to shelter

is temporary, until you are able to build a shelter suitable to your needs. That simple shelter may be all you need if you are in a situation where you believe you are only going to need it for a night or two at the most.

I would rather spend a brief period of time to build a shelter that will meet my needs for one night in a limited amount of time than attempt to build something that is half finished and leaves me vulnerable during the night.

Resources, you can’t build with what you don’t have.

You may have decided on the type of shelter you need, but do you have access to the materials you are going to need. Initially you may look around and think “Sure I do, I am in a forest” But collecting sufficient quantities of materials that are suitable for what you plan to do can take a lot of energy and time. There may be plenty of resources but collecting it may take longer because you don’t have enough energy or time. You may need a temporary shelter to enable you to get the resources you need.

When making these decisions you also need to bear in mind do I have necessary tools to coolect the resources needed to build your shelter.

As you can see when it comes to building a shelter it is important you take time to plan what you need, what resources you need, how you will collect them and what shelter you may need in the interim. Planning is important in a survival situation as much if not more than everyday life. Your life may depend on it.

When doing activities with young people you may start with simple den building activities and make the activities more difficult as they build on their skills. To make the activities varied for young people you can add scenarios to the activities. These can be…

  • Providing them with limited resources
  • Limited resources
  • Time limits
  • To build a shelter for a designated environment or situation.

Adding these variations lets the young people learn new skills but also how to develop skills that are useful in everyday life. Plus, it can make the activity much more fun.

We all need to have the practical skills to survive, we also need to have the skills and abilities to use those skills in a way that you meet your needs when you need to.


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What did you do today? Share your outdoor fun and adventure

What did you do today?

Okay, “What did you do today?” is something new. Post a comment of something you have done with your children, youth group, scouting group etc. Let us know what the kids thought and whether you recommend the activity to other parents and group leaders. Leave comments below.

hide and seek, getting Outdoors what did you do today

hide and seek, getting Outdoors

For ideas of activities you could do take a look at the Bushcraft For Kids Adventure Challenge. From simple fun things through to big adventures, there is something for everyone. Whether it is splashing in puddles or sleeping under the stars, Plus you also stand a chance of winning some amazing prizes.

Summer Adventure Challenge

Bushcraft For Kids Summer Adventure Challenge

If you think it is something you think other people would like to do why not write a guest post for our site. Email me at or message through our facebook page

Make A Difference

Families outdoor time makes a difference. nature and bushcraft

Let’s Make a Difference

Don't Give up, Lets Make a Difference

Don’t Give up, Lets Make a Difference

I was a serving police officer until I was assaulted on duty and I had a sudden change in my life. I went from working as an undercover officer to being in a wheelchair. It took about five years but I managed to get out of the wheel chair and walk properly again. At the same time I started going to a local scout group where my daughter was a Beaver. It wasn’t long and I was hooked and I went from being a parent helper to being a leader. I wanted to make a difference.
During this time I noticed that the children where doing less and less of what I had known as scouting activities when I was a child.  They seemed to spend most of the time completing art and craft activities and a lot of time indoors. When I spoke to other leaders from other groups the message was the same. The badges meant that leaders where being led away from various activities. I was told, activities were to dangerous, health and safety concerns, the leaders didn’t have the skills or experience to teach activities.
It just happened that the beaver leader had to leave and I quickly went from Assistant Beaver Leader to beaver Leader and saw an opportunity for change.


I started to think if an organisation like scouting isn’t getting children involved in outdoor activities what about all the other children. I once spoke to a parent and we started talking about the trees in the school grounds. The parent said “I only know one tree, Oak. The one that you get conkers from.” What can I say.

Bushcraft for kids was born.

I was fortunate in that I had a skill set that I had developed from being a child. Bushcraft and nature in general. So initially I started to incorporate as much as I could into scouting. I started with simple knots and types of trees etc. Then decided to do knife skills and fire starting. Initially some people said, it was dangerous. I agreed and said that was why it is important we teach safety and best practice from and early age. I saw many young people on the streets with knives. If they had been aware of the dangers, how to use it safely and respected the knife as a tool, maybe they would treat it differently. Waiting until a child is “Old enough” is too late.

Parents Make a Difference

The results were amazing not only did the children become more engaged so did the parents. Mums went camping, mums built dens, mums lit fires and mums used knives. I saw changes in children I never believed possible, it is possible to make a difference.

Families outdoor time makes a difference. nature and bushcraft

Families outdoor time makes a difference. nature and bushcraft

As parents you can also make a difference, in fact you can make a difference in an even bigger way. Putting aside a little time start with half an hour and do something different with your children. light a fire, collect leaves, do some of the activities on this site. Here is a list that may give you some ideas, it is from the Bushcraft For Kids Adventure Challenge.

You will find information on other posts of the benefits for children being outdoors and spending time with their parents. You can make a difference for your child, you can make them feel they matter.



Here are two rules to help.

  1. Don’t shy away from danger, manage risk.
  2. Keep safe, have fun .

That is the answer to the question “Castle, why do you do it?” I care about my children and all the other children I have contact with directly or indirectly and I want to make a difference. I know together we can

Please comment and share this post. Let us know what you get up to.

Together we can make a difference to our children and other children out there.


Bushcraft For Kids Summer Adventure Challenge

Summer Adventure Challenge

Bushcraft For Kids Summer Adventure Challenge

Summer Adventure Challenge

Bushcraft For Kids Summer Adventure Challenge

Summer is here and our children are looking for adventure and Excitement, The Bushcraft For Kids Summer challenge will give children just that. There are some simple silly things to do like splashing in puddles or making mud pies through to adventures for children to do with there parents or a suitable adult. You can adapt the activities to incorporate other skills if you prefer, for example, star gazing can be used to introduce night time navigation. How to find North at night.

Sleeping under the stars is one activity in the Bushcraft for Kids Summer Adventure Challenge. I believe this is something all children should experienc with a parent. It can be a magical experience sleeping under the stars. If it is your first time or you have young children you might want to sleep in the garden. Then you are near the toilets and if there is a change in the weather you could make a hasty retreat indoors. I would always recommend retreating and waiting for a dry night because you dont want to put your child off camping out and have them miss out on the wonders this world has to offer.

All your child needs to do is complete the activity then right the date they achieved it. Please leave comments below and post pictures of your children having fun and completing the challenges. There will be some spot prizes for children in the UK . These will be chosen at random. To enter all you need to do is sign up for our newsletter the winners will be published in that. If your name appears all you need to do is send an email and claim your prize.

Download the challenge below.


Below is an additional challenge. Any parents can set it for their children or it can be used by Beaver and Cub groups to gain the Personal Challenge Award.

Additional Challenge.

At the end of the download sheets you will find a challenge for children to keep their bedroon tidy over the summer holidays. Under that is another challenge, with a picture with question marks on it. The challenge is blank. It is there for parents to set a personal challenge for their child. This should be a challenge that is individual to the child. It should offer a challenge but be realistic. The child needs to know exactly what the challenge is, any boundaries and that it is achievable.

These challenges are sufficient for beavers and cubs to achieve the Personal challenge award, but is also a fun way to address any challenges in a childs life.

Drugs and Kids part 2 – Signs Of drug Use


 Kids and Drugs Part 2 – Signs of Drug Use

What A Parent can do regarding Kids and Drugs?

What Are The Signs Of Drug Use?

After writing the initial article Kids and drugs, I wanted to write an article that moves on and is practical for parents and their own children, what are the signs of drug use and what can a parent do?

As our children grow up it sometimes seems as if they have suddenly become fluent in a new language and this can cause problems for some parents. They panic at the thought of all the new language that relates to modern day youth culture  and drug culture. Most children in secondary school will learn some phrases relating to drugs and their use. and kids and drugs often go together. But Don’t panic, keep your eyes, ears and nose open and be aware of change.  Before we go any further the best advice I can give any parent is use your lack of knowledge to encourage openness when it comes to drugs. Whilst I would recommend doing your own research, because you will find as with most topics young people will  make out they are the font of all knowledge, but get it wrong at times. If you can have an open relationship where you are able to talk with your children, you already are in the best position for addressing the issue of  kids and Drugs.

I want to cover two areas relating to drugs briefly in this article they are signs of drug use and a little advice on what you can do if you find yourself in a situation where you think there may be a problem and you need help.

Signs Of Drug Usage When It Comes To Kids And Drugs.

If we are honest we would all say we hope our children go through life and drugs have no impact on them in any way. Sadly it is highly unlikely to happen and most young people will come across drugs in some way shape or form during their live. I believe because people see someone who is advocating reforming drug policy to see them regulated by law rather than using prohibition and punitive punishments they believe they are are pro drugs and believe that we all should try drugs and it becomes some recreational past time we all enjoy, when ever we want. Personally I support drug policy reform, I have seen the failure of prohibition and at times when I reflect how I have supported prohibition via manipulation and victimisation without offering the necessary support I feel rather embarrassed. But, I am also still against drugs, just as I am against smoking. I recognise the harm that drugs cause in our communities and wider society. At the same time I also accept people will always take drugs whether they want to lose their inhibitions and feel the extreme experience ravers often claim to experience or it is to self medicate and try to feel “normal” for just a short period of time. I want to see change for our children and recognising the signs of drug use early is beneficial for any family, Recognising the signs of drug use is second to having open dialogue within families, which is the most important tool for any family

Having a balanced view can give us a better understanding as parents and equip us to deal with situations we initially thought we couldn’t. First things first, Don’t panic and try not to get angry. if you can have open dialogue with your child it will help. You will feel angry, let down, scared a failure. You will be very emotional. It is normal, so what next.

First, what are the signs of drug use.

This is a question that has always interested me and I think you could right a book on the subject. So I am going to try and do it in a couple of paragraphs. I love a challenge.

Sudden Changes In Physical Appearance That Could Be Signs Of Drug Use.

First here is a list of physical signs you may notice.

  • Extreme loss or increase in appetite, change of eating habits e.g. binge eating and unexplained weight gain or loss
  • Extreme loss of, or poor, physical coordination, including slow or staggered walk
  • A change in their sleep pattern.  For example, insomnia or increased need for sleep, keeping unusual hours or unusually lazy
  • Unusual Smells of what may be an unknown substance, foul body odor
  • Poor personal Hygiene. Unusual lack of bathing or grooming
  • Blank stare, red watery eyes, over or under dilated pupils
  • Hyperactivity and excessive talkativeness
  • Shaking hands or cold sweaty palms. This can also be tremors of the head as well as feet and hands
  • Puffy flushed or pale face
  • Runny nose, sniffing a lot, rubbing nose and coughing
  • frequent bouts of nausea and vomiting
  • Needle-like marks on extremities, including the bottom of feet.Although this is something most drug users can hide very well, especially in the early days of drug use.

When ever I have drawn up this list with parents they have often joked and said “Isn’t that a good description of a teenager?” It is a good point, it isn’t easy to spot these signs. What you need to remember is you know your child and whether there has been any sudden and or dramatic changes physically. For teenagers and young people change is a big part of their lives so it can take a lot of observation skills to recognise kids and drugs. But you should also look at the same time for any Changes In Behaviour.

Sudden Changes In Behaviour That Could Be Signs Of Drug Use.

Here is a list of behavioural changes you may notice.

  • Unexplainable changes in attitude and personality.
  • Avoiding contact with family and friends.
  • New friends who are known to take drugs.
  • Suddenly becoming  a ”loner” or showing out of character anti-social behaviors
  • A drop in work rate and in school and work results.
  • Suddenly starting to be forgetful and less attentive
  • A Change in habits and normal routine involving family and in their home
  • Lack of motivation and energy
  • sudden loss of control, out bursts of temper and irritability
  • Appearing outwardly nervous and  showing signs of anxiety
  • Giddiness and excessive laughter, without any apparent reason
  • Becoming more secretive and showing suspicious behavior
  • Money Disappearing, whether it is from a purse or wallet or around the home. This can be along side household items disappearing
  • You may notice strange items appearing in your home. When people start smoking heroin you will most likely find pieces of foil burnt on one side and a brown track or run from where the heroin has been burned to smoke it. Depending on the drug you may find various bit of drug paraphernalia, such as; rolling papers, pipes, bongs, syringes, digital scale, and razor blades.

Some of these things are not easy to notice as out of the ordinary. Also just because you notice one or a few of these traits it doesn’t mean your child is a drug user.

So what Can you do?

As I said earlier, try and stay calm. If drugs are being used they are likely to be in denial and or react angrily or defensive. The best thing you can do is try and start talking as a parent and child should. It is this relationship that can be the biggest help whether the problem is drugs related or not. It is by creating an environment where a child feels comfortable and that they can approach and talk with a parent that is the making of the best opportunity to move forward with your child.

Next don’t be afraid to get help. Now is not the time to feel guilty or start apportioning blame.

If you are involved with Bushcraft For Kids feel free to approach a leader for advice., we will give support where possible

Your G.P is a good place to start.

Your local Family Center

Local and national Drug Charities e.g. Frank

If you want to know more about addressing this problem take a look a L.E.A.P. UK website. You  will find information regarding Drug policy and an excellent Podcast you can download and listen too.


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Parents, Kids and Drugs An Alternative Approach


Parents, Kids and Drugs An Alternative Approach

A Bushcraft Post With A Difference, Kids and Drugs

This post is a little different to what you would normally find on this site. We can’t escape from the fact that Kids and drugs is an important topic that we as parents and people working with kids we need to be prepared to take the most effective action we can. Bushcraft, kids and drugs are words you wouldn’t expect in the same sentence, but this is a topic that effects all children. Even if it about educating about magic mushrooms. I wish that was the only area we need to focus on but Kids and drugs is an issue we need to address now.  You are likely to be asking why is Castle writing about drugs on a site about  the outdoors, nature, bushcraft, etc. Firstly it is because one thing everyone who visits this site, reads  an article, watches a video or listen’s to audio has in common. That is children, whether it is working with children, being parents, family or friends we all want the best for them, in all areas of their live. Especially as our children start growing up we can have fears regarding drugs and the devastating impact they can have on our children, our families and friends. It is a topic that needs to be challenged by all of us and I believe parents have a responsibility not just for our children now but generations to come. I have wrote this article because I believe it is relevant to us all and we need to take action now. This isn’t an article saying you should do this or that it hopefully explains why we need to change out approach to drugs and claim back responsibility for them. rather than have control in the hands of gangsters

All I ask is that you read this article through to the end with an open mind, then make up your mind about what your views are and where you stand.

I decided to write this article on my site after listening to a program on BBC Radio 2. It was a phone in on the Jeremy Vine Show and the discussion was about pop up drug testing stations at Glastonbury Music Festival. Generally I heard a lot of points of view I expected until one caller spoke and gave their perspective on the subject. They said ” There should be a few more drug related deaths, the users deserved it and it is a good message to other users.” What made this worse was other callers said they agreed. Thankfully many people including the presenter appeared quite shocked.

Bushcraft and Drugs –

Why I Know It’s Wrong And Why I Care About Kids And Drugs

Firstly I would like to say a bit about my background, experiences and how I came to have the views I have today. Prior to 1996 I had worked in various areas of youth work, usually in areas where high levels of intervention were needed but not always available. I spent a lot of time working on the streets of East Lancashire and Manchester with homeless people, of all ages and many were using drugs of some sort. In 1996 I had a sudden change of direction and I followed what had been a childhood dream of becoming a Police Office. My brother in law at the time had made several attempts to join Lancashire Constabulary and failed. he was trying again and I started talking to him and looked at what they wanted. I decided to give it a go and suggested we should go through the process together. I thought , if I failed at assessment like most people did the feedback would help my personal development in what I was doing with homeless people at the time. Then something happened which would be a huge motivating factor to be successful. My mother in law said “If my son cant get in you don’t stand a chance.” I still remember that day as clear as if it was yesterday. As I progressed the the recruitment process I learned more and the old desire to be a police officer was rekindled. On 25th November 1996 I joined Lancashire Constabulary. As a matter of interest my brother in law failed at the first stage and never joined.

Initially things didn’t go to well, I didn’t fit in and I felt the odd one out which led to me being bullied by and Inspector who was determined to get me kicked out for being different. I moved to Burnley Station and after a couple of months an inspector called me into his office. I thought I was in trouble, but it turned out he wanted help me. He explained that the other inspector was still trying to harm me, but he said he saw I was different and he believed the police needed people like me and if I was willing to work hard he would do all he could to shield me. From that point on my career flourished. I loved dealing with drugs and crime and I had a natural ability to work with informants and all I wanted to do was arrest and convict drug dealers, burglars, violent people, any bad guy as long as it didn’t involve traffic. I liked to leave that to traffic officers.

It wasn’t long until I came into contact with a small team of detectives who worked from a small office at the very top of the building just about as far away from everyone else as they could get. Initially I took a job to them and was asked to go on an attachment. The Sergeant was a man called Simon Craggs. He became the nearest I had to a mentor, he was an old style cop who used modern policing methods, he was the best. Whilst working with his team he spoke about covert work and a Special Ops department at headquarters. Withing a couple of weeks I had an appointment to be assessed and I was on my way to becoming an Undercover Police Officer. People often get confused about undercover police officers. There are Plain clothed officers who are often detectives, but not always. They don’t wear a uniform as such, but they might as well as most wear the same clothes and stand out a mile. They are often laughed at by people on the street because they think being out of uniform means they don’t look like a cop. Then there are the Undercover Cops, there are different types, which I am not going into and we are trained to do what we do. It is one of the few courses run in Lancashire that is pass and fail and if you fail you can’t have a second chance. it was tough training but I loved it, it had an impact on me which changed the way I policed in a good way. But there is a darker side which you are about to hear about.

Our job relating to drugs in simple terms was, to collect intelligence and evidence to enable drug dealers to be taken off the street. To do that we would get along side users on the street make contact with users and dealers and buy drugs. This leads to arrest, charge and ultimately prison. You might look that and think that’s a good idea and the cops are doing a great job stopping drug dealers. It’s not basically it doesn’t work, the model is broken and people who need help are…

  • Often  victims of abused,
  • Criminalised, often they don’t deserve to be put in the criminal justice system and there are better alternatives,
  • Manipulated, committing crimes they wouldn’t have committed if they weren’t doing it for their new best friend, me,
  • It is morally corrupt
  • Putting people in more danger, increased violence and fear on our streets

How Does It Work.

I could go on and on but it might be easier to explain with a short example. I am undercover as far as any member of the public can see, hear or smell, I am a homeless, person who is dirty, hasn’t washed for a long time my clothes haven’t been washed for months they are covered in urine stains and smell of the same. Sat next to me in the shelter of a doorway  trying to stay out of the rain is another person call Bob. We were hanging around waiting for the dealer to come back from an errand. Bob isn’t a cop, he is homeless, been on the streets trying to escape from society, he has mental health issues,and was a victim of sexual abuse during his teenage years. Bob has told me about this as we have got to know each other over a period of time.

Up to this point I have never seen the dealer. Bob has always taken my money bought the gear then given me mine. I would give him a bit of mine to pay him for getting served up for me. On this occassion I was going to meet the dealer for the first time. It had all fallen into place, the work had payed off Bob had arranged to meet the dealer where we have been waiting for over an hour. After this referral I would be able to get served up by the dealer, Tommy.

You might have read that and said good job as many have including me and many still are. I never forced Bob to get me the drugs he got them for me because he saw me as a friend someone in the same position. I had manipulated him and used his emotions to get him to get me the drugs. Bob has in the eyes of the law become a drug dealer. He has done this numerous times, not to make money, he didn’t get it for others. Just me, his buddy.

Bob went to prison for supplying drugs, I don’t know what happened to him, but he will be out again. For Bob Prison Isn’t the answer he needed help. He needed treatment for the trauma he experienced. Heroin was his way of self medicating because he couldn’t get the help he needed and or was scared to face his fears.

Drugs, It’s Political And They Government Believe

We Will Fall For Their Smoke And Mirrors

It is looked on as a success.

  • Another conviction for the supply of drugs
  • Another “x” number of years on the tally
  • Another dealer off the streets.

These are the lies we tell ourselves whether we are police officers members of the public, politicians etc all to put up the image that the War on Drugs is having an impact and we are winning the war.

All political parties at the moment feel they need to be seen to be taking action but haven’t realised they are just going through the motions and UK citizens from all walks of life are becoming victims.

Our Kids and Drugs Policy should be a priority. It is their future

Its is all an illusion. We can all go home at night and say good job have a pat on the back. But what impact have I really had following this model.

Lets cut to the chase, the positive effect of this model is nil all it has done is cost the tax payer lots of money. There will be no change in the supply of heroin in this town. Bob wasn’t even part the the chain of supply. Even getting a conviction against Tommy who was a low level dealer will have no effect of the supply of heroin on the streets. Lets say we were able to follow this supply chain all the way up to the importer. What do you think the effect would be on the supply of drugs in our cities. That answer is little to none, because it is run by criminals and gangsters there will always be someone to take there place. There is always another shipment on its way.

I hope you never have to face this regarding your child, but the reality is parents all across the country have to face the issues of drug abuse involving their children. It is tough, you are worried about so many different things, will they be stealing to feed their habit, their health, who are the associating with, will they over dose, will they get manipulated by the cops. The list is long and harrowing but it get worse. lets see one more issue that illustrates our drugs policy doesn’t work.

Gangsters Control The Commodity Of Drugs,

We Are Letting Gangster Impact On Our Childrens Future

Gangsters are in control of the commodity of drugs. They have to control their market and one part of that is ensuring they don’t get caught and sent to prison. How can they control their environment. They can have a set of unwritten rules to minimise risk, but how can the enforce these “Rules” There is only one set of tools they can use, they are “Fear” and “Violence” As I saw the techniques we used as undercover police officers develop the drugs market had to adapt as well. They did this in two ways. Firstly increase the element of fear. Neil Woods in his book Good Cop, Bad War give a great example. In Brighton there was an increase in drug related deaths. It turned out that the gangs controlling the drugs sent out a message. If you “Grass” or step out of line you next hit could be your last, with an extra pure bag of Heroin. This was a step up from violent beatings, stabbings and even shootings. This caused the users to close ranks more than ever.

When you hear this, and it could be your child who has become involved in drugs for whatever reason what would you rather them do, check the purity or risk death. When you start to look more and more at this problem you quickly realise the comments made on BBC Radio 2 were ridiculous and I believe are often made out of fear and frustration.

So What Can Be Done?

Firstly we need to realise,

  • We wont stop people experimenting/taking drugs. It is something that has been happening in society for thousands of years in various forms.
  • We know that banning the drugs and trying to enforce is in the way we do now also doesn’t work.
  • Drugs can’t be controlled by gangster.

I see there is only one solution I can see and that is practical has been seen to work in various degrees in various formats. But the theme is always the same. Regulate the sale and supply of drugs. This along with good quality education and support for people who need it when they need it. To find out more visit LEAPS Website This is a great organisation which is fighting to have the drugs policy in the UK reviewed and a sensible alternative to be put in place.

Check out our usual style of topics covered here. But is it has an impact of out children’s well being we will write about it, indoors or out.

See Part 2 Signs Of Drug Use, What A Parent Can Do. It doesn’t matter what your interests are sometimes we have to tackle problems to help our childrens future. Our children deserve the best we can provide for their future.


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