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Dens of all shapes and sizes!

A firm favourite for everyone involved in Woodland School is den building. The children love it and the adults do too! Dens provide so many opportunities for creativity and collaboration, two of our four school values. They also provide opportunities to develop 'knot skills' and learn about properties of materials and strength of structures. Often den building is totally child initiated, they build a den because they want a base to play from, or they want to create a shelter or their own make-believe world. At other times dens come from an adult initiated science focus, perhaps they have learnt about a specific animal which they are then building a warm, safe home for. Sometimes we set the children a challenge, such as can you build a waterproof den for a Lego person, which we then test using a watering can for rain.

As part of Woodland School planning, we have mapped out a progression of skills to ensure that the children are building on their learning as they go through the school. Shelters and dens are one small part of this skills progression document, and it is wonderful to see the children build on their den building skills and learn to make dens and shelters for a range of purposes.  

For me, my favourite part of den building is the creativity and imaginative role play it facilitates. I’m always fascinated and impressed when touring the children’s dens to see the wonderful things they have created and the lovely way that they play together within them.

An underground home for a hedgehog.

Year 1 working on their knot skills.
I believe this was a shop.

A lovely place to spend time working on knot skills in this warm weather.


Who is this a shelter for?
A quiet place to focus on some woodland sketching.
Can you spot who this is a den for? A den with a view!
This was created/adapted specifically for bird watching in the rain.

Wonderful collaboration.