After an absolutely brilliant yet very tiring trip to the UK to spend time with friends and family and to sort the rest of our stuff out that was left with Garf’s parents, we arrived back with our friends and 4 days to sort out our first family day here at Brejo de Serra.

My wonderful friend Clare and her three kids were staying with us and we spent a few days working out where on the land to hold the forest school session. Clare was amazing. She quickly turned our smaller olive grove into a beautiful space for families to come and enjoy. We set up a circle seating area and some activities to do on the morning and my other new and beautiful friend Lisa and her partner Colin came and set up their star tent to host the afternoon session.

At first we had many people booked for the event but we were feeling a little overwhelmed thinking it might be too big a group for the first session, then in the end a few people couldn’t make it because of sickness or other plans and it turned out to be a perfect size group. On the morning before everyone arrived I felt strangely calm and knew that it would be a fantastic day.

The day was so sunny and bright, perfect for being outside. At first we all sat round in our log stool circle and introduced ourselves. Some families were local, some just moved here and some on holiday. Clare led the forest school session and broke the ice a bit with some fun and games. We then talked about some native trees and everyone was invited to make a frame out of sticks and make some art using the native tree species. It was amazing what people created.

There were then a few different activities that the kids (and adults) could choose from. Building a big tipi den, the olive (mud) kitchen, a big mandala on the ground, dirt and mud painting and crafts with sticks and wool. Some kids joined in, some chose their own games but kept coming backwards and forwards, all activities and people weaving in and out of each other.

We provided a morning snack for everyone and at the end of the session we all shared lunch in the olive grove too and got to know one another more.

The afternoon session was in a big star tent in the field where Lisa and Colin (from Earth School Portugal) lead a fun tribal initiation for the kids with headpieces, laughter yoga and an introduction to all the elements, earth, water, air and fire. They had lots of instruments too and everyone was invited to do some singing and dancing to finish the day off in good spirits.

I felt so happy all day, it was just how I had envisioned it. People of all ages coming together, learning, having fun, building things together, forming relationships, laughing and singing. This is so what I have envisioned for the boys and other kids that visit and I think our kids really enjoyed having people here and sharing our space.

It really inspired us to do more and so we have decided to keep the space exactly how we used it with the seating circle, tipi stick den and olive kitchen and to keep adding to it with a regular meet up for families who are both local or travelling around. I’d love the space to become a magical space for children with lots of fun natural activities and I feel it’s important for the children to feel they have been a part of creating it all too. This will all be starting with a new Friday family group starting on 1st December where we will follow a gentle weekly rhythm and have lots of fun in nature. We are running this with our great friend Nicky from Irie Farm, more details to be posted soon on our Facebook page.

We already have ideas to build a little musical station, bug hotel, rockeries, outside art hanging from the trees and and eco building to learn and play in. All planned and built with families working together 🙂

Some photos were taken by our friends Topsy Turvy Tribe and also by Colin Childs.