The Soothing Forest
What you’ll need: Cardboard, coloured paper, coloured pencils/crayons, scissors and glue, and leaves, twigs, flowers, soil
What’s it for?
This activity is designed to help you connect with nature around you and notice different feelings and senses that nature can provide us with. Nature can be soothing and calming, whether we are lying in the grass and watching the clouds go by, or swimming in the ocean, or sitting still under a tree. In this activity we are going to create our own Forest to explore some of our feelings.
Notice how you’re feeling right now. Close your eyes and notice what’s going on inside your mind and body.
How are you feeling?
What are you thinking?
How does your body feel?
Look out of your window and up and the clouds or go outside to look at the clouds if you can. What shapes can you see? Are the clouds moving fast or slow? How do they make you feel? Breathe in three deep breaths and slowly exhale. Notice how you feel in your body.
Spend some time outside collecting leaves, twigs and flowers. Lay these out with your materials on the table.
Use a big piece of repurposed cardboard (maybe from a cereal box) as your background.
For the treetops, cut out different sizes of card or newspaper. How many trees would you like in your forest? Are the trees tall or short?
Leave space for the trees' roots, the roots are how the trees communicate with each other, sending nutrients and messages all through the forest.
Using the objects, you have collected from nature, start to build your forest. Are the leaves on the trees or are they falling onto the ground?
Add colour and texture to the trees using the coloured pencils or crayons.
There is no right or wrong way to create a forest. This is your special forest.
Spend a moment really looking at the soothing forest that you have created.
On a separate piece of paper, answer the following questions:
What do you connect with most in your magical forest?
What do you like best?
What interests you?
How does being there make you feel?
If you were an animal in the forest where would you want to live (high up in the trees, in a cosy hole in a tree trunk, or elsewhere)?
Does your forest have a name?
Imagine you are taking a walk through your forest. What can you see, hear, smell, taste or feel?
Are there any animals or birds in your forest?
If any animals or birds live in your forest, draw them in to your picture. You can also draw yourself in the spot that you'd like to be. Show your picture to a supportive adult and ask them what their favourite part of the forest is, and how they connect with nature.
When you’ve finished, spend a moment reflecting on the activity and ask yourself the following questions:
How do you feel looking at your Forest?
Is this somewhere you might like to spend more time?
Is there anywhere you have been before that reminds you of this Forest?
What is it about the Forest that gives you comfort?
Find a safe place for your forest to live and remember that this Forest is somewhere you can go to when you feel like connecting with nature. Notice how you feel when you are next in nature or standing by a tree. Does the tree look strong and give you strength? Trees are magic, they help us breathe, give us medicines and food. Take some of the Forest magic you have created with you and share it with those around you.
This activity draws on concepts taken from Ecotherapy, a type of therapy that believes people are deeply connected to their natural environments and time spent in those environments help to promote integration, balance and wellbeing.
Take a moment to notice how you are feeling at the end of this activity. Did you discover anything surprising?
If you would like to, share something about your experience with this activity with someone you live with! Ask the person who looks after you to send us an email if you have any questions or comments about the activity or would like to send us any pictures (email@example.com). Don’t forget to subscribe for more fun CAT activities!
Created by Millie Edwards October 2021
Creative Arts Used: Art
Psychological Areas Explored: Emotional Wellbeing, Self-Exploration, Mindfulness
If you enjoyed this activity, you might also like: Leaf Wreath Memories: Remember lovingly in an autumnal way the people, places and things that have passed from your life
These activities could be done by children of all ages, but some may need the support of their parent or carer to read the instructions or complete the activity safely.
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