I am really pleased that my Grandson has started to develop a genuine interest in the outdoors. While on a recent holiday in Cornwall, I was able to take him Gruffalo Hunting, and combine a great woodland walk with some fun technology.
The Forestry Commission has established a number of ‘Gruffalo Spotters Trails’ in its forests and woodlands across the whole of the UK, and these can be found on a map on the web site listed at the end of this blog. The trails are interactive, and allow you to follow a series of clues to help you track down different characters from the Gruffalo books.
A footprint marker is found at the location of each individual character, and this is where the technology comes into play. After downloading a free augmented reality Gruffalo Spotter app onto your smart phone before you visit, you can now point your camera at these marker signs and bring the different characters to life.
My Grandson knew the story and all of the characters, and the excitement built up as we worked towards the Gruffalo footprints at the end of the walk. All of the family had fun with the augmented reality images, finding it strange being photographed next to the sign boards and then seeing the results of themselves alongside the characters in the photographs taken!
We visited the beautiful Cardinham Woods, near Bodmin, where there is a good choice of walks of different lengths – as well as bike trails, forest school camps, and an excellent café.
Before we started we purchased (for £3) a Spotters Activity Kit in the café at the trailhead. This allowed Grandson Luke to take on the role of a real ‘nature detective’, using the evidence bags, activity cards, magnifying glass, ruler, pencil and stickers along the route.
I also downloaded the Forestry Commission’s ‘Sensory Trail’ PDF (available below) to take along with me. This is full of tasks, questions and ideas to help get youngsters to think a little more about the woodland environment they are walking through, and use their senses to explore its contents.
Sensory Trail: PhoneTrail_sensory_adventure_2016
To find out more about Gruffalo Spotting trails, log on to: https://www.forestry.gov.uk/gruffalo