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  • Writer's pictureTeam Books in the Woods

A reminder of our last session... last year.

NOV 9, 2022, #28. FINALE! Singing, Stories and Dancing in the Woods: Happy Diwali & Bonfire Night! The soft carpet of leaves: our springy dance floor. The dazzling low sunlight: our spot lights. The chorus of winter birds: our soundtrack. The impressed quiet of the minibeasts: our audience. Our collective of young woodlanders: our dancers. The crunch and scrunch of autumn leaves: our applause.

Welcome to the grand finale of Books in the Woods 2021, with singing, stories and dancing in the woods! It was the perfect end to a brilliant year for Books in the Woods, bringing our team and community together for a collaboration of storytelling, nature art, sparkly ribbon sticks, spring bulb planting, joyous group singing and even a big chorus dance number to end with: the bird jive! We were also joined by the tremendously talented Emily of Emily Charlotte Photography, who is offering some Christmas mini sessions on the 28th November- see her website for more details. Today, we shared three brilliant books with you all. After a warm welcome, the offer of hot tea/coffee/hot chocolate and homebaked gingerbread, we settled down for our first story: 'The Best Diwali Ever' by Sonali Shah, read by Charlotte. This is a heart warming book to tell us about the excitement and traditions of Diwali, celebration of light, and also about a big sister's journey of appreciation of her little brother's playful sense of fun. This was followed by a round of celebratory-inspired singing, led by local music teacher, Jenni. We learnt a wonderfully catchy song about the preparations for Diwali, followed by a whizz-bang singsong abour fireworks and Bonfire Night. The singing warmed us up and left everyone smiling, filling the woods with the simple joy of singing together. Thanks to Jenni for getting us all singing along; we're already looking forward to you leading us with more musical sessions in 2022! Next up was our second story: a truly beautiful and heart-warming story called 'Under the Love Umbrella' with lots of spectacular firework illustrations, written by Davina Bell, read by Honor. While listening to the snuggly story, we also learnt a few new signs from Anna of 'Sign with Anna', helping us to build our ability to communicate with our little ones. After this, it was time to stretch our legs, get crafty and explore. One of our activities was a chance to plant a spring daffodil bulb in a pot. Although we are sad that this was our last playgroup for the year, we are excited to return for more stories and picnics in the spring 2022, just when these daffodils will be ready to emerge from the soil and bloom! Huge thanks to Charlotte for organising the bulb planting; such a lovely idea to get us thinking about the long view and seasonal changes through the year. Another activity on offer was to make swirly firework ribbon sticks in beautiful dazzling colours and metallics. Simply find your favourite stick and adorn with sparkly ribbons. These came in handy later when we brought our bird jive alive at the end of the playgroup. Thanks to Honor for organising- a perfect task to make our finale even more joyful. There was also an invitation to create some woodland art with sticks and the kaleidoscope of different shades and colours of the fallen leaves: a large star made with sticks, filled with golden leaves. A shooting star across the woodland floor. Thanks to Christina & Olivia for this. Our ever-popular trail was set up as a way to gently introduce the dance steps for the bird jive, including jumps, claps, slides, hip wiggles and a fabulous pose at the end of the trail! On the reverse of every dance step was a different British garden bird, seen in winter. Children and adults seemed to have a wonderful time discovering these trail cards, hidden among the trees. Families also delighted in the opportunity to 'forest bathe': to be away from the crowds, the stuff and the noise of modern life and to simply be in the fresh crisp air among the ancient trees. To make our final session extra special, we invited our families back for one last story: 'The Bird Jive' written by Oti Mabuse of BBC Strictly Come Dancing Fame. I must mention the sheer brilliance of Books in the Woods team member Honor, who took the time to contact Oti's PR team, asking if she would come to our session to read and dance the story to us in the woods. Sadly, Oti was a little bit too busy this week, but luckily we had our very own wannabe dance teacher, Rebecca, who stepped up to the barre, encouraging all to join in with jumping, flapping and sliding, all on our very own woodland dance-floor, under the glare of the sunny spot-lights. With musical accompaniment provided by Jenni, too! And that was our wonderful finale of Books in the Woods Outdoor Playgroup 2021. We have LOVED every session, meeting you all and your little ones, sharing stories, hot drinks, cake, crafting, creating, exploring, playing. laughing, singing and dancing! Huge thanks to our extraordinarily generous and wonderful team of volunteers! And all the families who have supported us and joined us through all the changing seasons, for all the woodland fun. Today's session was led by all the team Blog by Rebecca Photography by the Emily Charlotte Photography How to keep up to date: Follow us on Instagram @books_in_the_woods Join our Facebook group or Like our Facebook Page

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