Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Into The Trees Festival - Event review

After having an amazing time at Elderflower Fields, our first family festival back in May, we were thrilled to be invited along to their sister event, Into The Trees, and it didn't disappoint.  A smaller festival without camping, Into The Trees is focused on kids enjoying nature and the amazing location of Ashdown Forest.  The event in September is two days of fun at the same venue, Pippingford Park, arranged on a smaller scale and with even more focus on being in the woods and getting back to nature.  A family ticket for both days was just £22 and under 5s went free, such a bargain with so many free activities included.

As soon as we arrived we discovered the thick oozy mud and in true Bear Hunt style, we had to go through it.  Our Bugaboo Donkey was truly put to the test which with an already broken chassis (We're already our second after the breaks failed on the first, this one keeps collapsing on one side!) wasn't easy but it coped well with the woodland terrain and rain affected paths.  We had considered leaving it behind but the twins started the day rather whingey and we didn't fancy carrying the muddy twosome if they got tired.

Luckily they soon perked up after some snacks and discovering the interactive Art Trail!  Again, the woods were adorned with the most beautiful decorations and dotted along were various activities such as string art, making dream catchers, decorating sticks, modelling clay and mud monsters!

Priya's gorgeous rainbow dress from Honest Miracle making an appearance again!

One of our favourite activities was pond dipping with Sussex Wildlife Trust.  We were introduced to baby newts, dragonfly nymphs(!!) and various other water dwelling beasties before seeing what we could catch ourselves.  It was a great way to get the kids learning to identify creatures as well as being gentle with them.  Such a good idea to get them interested as it was very exciting seeing what we'd captured in our nets, the twins were desperate to have a go.  I may have had a little anxiety about them falling in as they were super keen and the edges a bit slippery but we all managed to remain dry.

Kalyan meeting a dragonfly nymph.
Did you know they spend 5 years in the water before flying free?

Identifying and counting Rams-horn Snails

Next it was time for some DIY practice with Woodland Tribe.  Proper life skills to learn, it's great that they don't shy away from giving toddlers real tools and nails (supervised by parents of course)!  This was one of the activities you have to pay extra for, it was £2 for a token to hire the tools and you get a badge too.  There are basically half built forts and tree houses with big piles of wood all around and you're surrounded by children of all ages sawing, hammering and climbing their creations.

After all that exertion and a quick play on the giant rope swings, it was time for lunch and we timed it well, hiding in the story-telling tent as the rain started!  We all shared a couple of delicious pizzas from The Pizza Wagon, freshly stone baked in the wood-fired oven, we loved our Trieste pizzas (ham, mushroom & olives).

After lunch the rain died off so we went to check out Freckles & Fire's gorgeous bell tent full of craft projects.  The twins loved being able to choose a shape to decorate with some brightly coloured Foam Clay, a weird but lovely textured, squishy, sticky but not icky product which is ideal for toddlers.  Another one you pay extra for, this was also £2 and you get to make something to take home and keep and you can buy craft kits to make at home too.

I think you can tell which of the twins had some help.  Kalyan was quite happy to get on with it, choosing various colours to squish together onto his balloon, it was great seeing him enjoy it so much left entirely to his own devices.  Priya was asking me to do it for her but soon joined in making "sausages" to make up a stripy rainbow and then fetching the right colours for her rainbow and I may have been quite happy to be in charge of it staying in the correct order ;)

After our nice clean crafting in the bell tent, it was time to get muddy again so off we went to find the Holmes Wood Play mud kitchen area!  It was awesome!  Mud, water, leaves, acorns, dried spaghetti & peas... quite the recipe for a big sloppy mud pie, they loved it!  (Although for some reason, despite loving the mud and getting messy, they hate having dirty hands, cue much distress and asking for them to be cleaned but I refused until they were done playing and they soon got used to it, I wonder if it's a texture thing.)  This also seemed to be the best activity for getting them sharing and playing really nicely together, working as a team, even with other kids.

So as you can see, we had a great day out with mud galore from beginning to end!  We're even more excited to get back to Pippingford Park in May now for Elderflower Fields and spend the whole weekend there.  Both events are so well organised, we were given a map on arrival and informed of the paid activities in case we wanted to buy any tokens.  The layout is easy to navigate and there's plenty to do for all ages!

I'm going to leave you with some of the positive happy vibes sprinkled around the venue.  I really do love it there!

Thank you again to Elderflower Fields/Into the Trees for inviting us along to enjoy the weekend!  As always, all reviews are my (and my family's) own honest opinions.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Glad you all had a great day. We love a bit of mud!

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