Mud Pies
Mud Pies nature courses are for children aged 2-5, and their parent or other carer and take place in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire


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Sticks and Stones - classes from birth to 24 months
Mud Pies  - classes for 2 to five year olds
Summer 2014 - family events during the Summer holidays
Sticks and Stones
Looking for a morning out in the fresh air with your tot, feeling great after having gone for a walk and spent time in a lovely wood? Sticks and Stones is the new activity class in Aberdeen for the under 2s and their adults to simply have fun in the outdoors.
Thursday mornings - 10 to 11.30am at Hazlehead Park.
Meeting point - the wooden shelter in the main car park on Hazlehead Avenue.
Cost - £5 per class, payable in advance by session.
Summer holidays dates: Thursdays 31 July, 7 and 14 August. During the hols you are welcome to come to one, two or all of these sessions - click here to book.
Autumn 2014 
A six week course will run from Thursday 4 September to Thursday 9 October at Hazlehead park, Aberdeen: 10am to 11.30am. £30 - click here to book.
Each class begins with a 30 minute pushchair walk at adult pace through the park itself, followed by an hour of woodland play. The walk gives parents fresh air and some exercise*, whilst the play session encourages children to have fun through exploring and investigating.
This is deliberately a very informal class. Current thinking in early years education promotes simply giving children time to be in natural spaces. Within the hour of play those not yet walking can investigate baskets full of interesting items such as cones, sticks, stones and household objects. Little buckets for collecting treasure (leaves, cones and sticks), spoons and plates for digging, chalk and toy cars will be provided for those now mobile. All children will be encouraged to explore in their own way and it is likely we will spend time simply touching the tip of a leaf, collecting twigs, clambering on logs and swinging in a hammock!
Please bring a snack and drink for your child. The park's cafe is open again for take away coffees too. A temporary changing area will be available at our camp area, although there are toilets nearby at the golf club house.
* this half hour walk is optional! Feel free to walk at your own pace with child in or out of your pushchair or meet us at the woods around 10.30am for an hour of play if it is not your kind of thing!
Mud Pies
August to October
Classes will run on Mondays and Fridays. Monday classes are at Hazlehead Park in Aberdeen, with Fridays classes taking place at Countesswells Woods on the westerly outskirts of Aberdeen. 
Mondays - Hazlehead Park, Aberdeen
Come and explore a secret wood at Hazlehead Park in Aberdeen! We will squelch in mud, jump off rocks, climb mountains, make things and find out about wildlife!
We meet at the small swing park on Groats Road, over towards Hazlehead Academy and swimming pool. Here's a map. The park's cafe is open for lunch and coffee.
Session 1: Mondays 25 August to 6 October (7 weeks)
Times - 10am to 11.30am or 1pm to 2.30pm
Costs - £49. Equivalent to £7 per child per session - adults go free, payable in advance by session.
Fridays - Countesswells Wood, Aberdeen
From climbing on logs to stomping in mud it's safe to say we're going to have fun at Countesswells Wood! Play in the dens, make mud pies and find out about wildlife. 
Session 1: Fridays 22 August to 10 October (7 weeks)
Please note - due to a previous work commitment there in NO class on Friday 29 August.
Times - 10am to 11.30am  or 1pm to 2.30pm
Costs - £49. Equivalent to £7 per child per session - adults go free, payable in advance by session.
The Forestry Commission now charges £1.50 to park for up to 3 hours at Countesswells. (You can also buy an annual season ticket for £30 that gives unlimited access to several woods in the area). 
Summer 2014
Looking for some outdoor fun this Summer? Mud Pies is running several events during the hols, all to help you discover nature and play and explore outdoors!
Wild About Aden
Tuesday 15 and Wednesday 16 July - 10am to 3pm.
Aden Country Park, Station Road, Mintlaw, AB42 5FQ
Join Mud Pies and a whole host of others for some Summer fun in this great park. There will be body zorbing, animal handling sessions, a climbing wall and a food science festival. Mud Pies will be there rustling up some campfire cooking!
Free admission - no need to book.
Splish, Splash!
Tuesday 29 July - 10.30am to 12 noon , repeated again 1.30pm to 3pm.
Muir of Dinnet National Nature Reserve, Dinnet, Aboyne, AB34 5NB
Come for a watery adventure! Collect natural treasures and (weather dependent) climb into one of the most amazing places in the north east, the Burn O’Vat. Inside, we will make mini-rafts and dams, puddle jump and generally have fun playing in the water! Suitable for the under 8s. Wellies and waterproofs or a change of clothes strongly recommended.
Free admission but booking essential, T: 01339 881667.
Blaeberry Bash
Due to the successes of our wild garlic event in May Mud Pies is delighted to be teaming up again with Claire Jessiman, the Foodie Quine
Monday 4 August - 10.30am to 12.30pm: fully booked, repeated again 2pm to 4pm.
Monday 11 August - 10.30am to 12.30pm, repeated again 2pm to 4pm.
Countesswells Wood , Aberdeen (nearest postcode AB15 8QD)
We will be foraging for blaeberries and other tasty wild treats, collecting sticks for a camp fire, baking pancakes, making jam, blitzing smoothies and toasting marshmallows.
Tickets - adult: £7, child: £7
Suitable for ages 3 to 12 and their grown ups.
Please note, the Forestry Commission now charges £1.50 to park for up to 3 hours at Countesswells. (You can also buy an annual season ticket for £30 that gives unlimited access to several woods in the area).
Pioneer Day
Wednesday 6 August - 2pm to 4pm
University of Aberdeen - Sir Duncan Rice Library and Cruickshank Botanic Garden
Are you ready for a pioneer adventure? Follow in the footsteps of the Special Collection's current exhibition New Found Land: Scottish Emigration to Canda and discover if you have the skills to survive! Take part in some fun activities including shelter building, wilderness crafts, storytelling, pioneer singing and toy making. Mud Pies will be there showing you how to make a "5-minute" fire.
Free admission. For enquiries and bookings, E: or T: 01224 273047.

Weekly classes - more information
Who, where and when?
Mud Pies weekly classes are for children aged 24 months to five year olds and their parent or other carer, i.e. children who are not yet in Primary 1. Younger siblings are more than welcome to attend too - in baby carriers, back pacs or pushchairs.
The classes are held weekly and run in session blocks lasting half a school term, usually around 6 or 7 weeks. Each class lasts 90 minutes and will involve up to 15 children and their adults.

Sessions run throughout the school year and are held in specially selected woods within Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire. 

Classes times: 10am – 11.30am, repeated again at 1pm - 2.30pm.

What’s involved?
After an initial welcome to each day's theme by the session leader, the children will explore the wood to look for interesting items to collect. We then arrive at our ‘nature den' (a temporary tarpaulin shelter) to take part in further activities, make things and have snack. There's always time too to play with toy cars, draw with chalk and of course dig. We then usually re-group ten minutes before the end to play hide and seek on our way back to the car park. 

Classes are based around a loose theme each week, and involve a range of fun, seasonal activities, such as collecting leaves, finding out about trees, spotting colours and shapes or hunting for minibeasts. Classes will also involve making something from the natural treasures collected. Planting and gardening usually feature in each session.

Not just for children!
Parents/carers play an active role in each session. This is an ideal opportunity for children and their adults to enjoy quality time while learning together about the environment. Mud Pies hopes all participants will be inspired to carry on exploring nature out with Mud Pies!

How much?
Classes are paid for in session blocks. Each class costs £7, so a six week session costs £42 per child. Adults go free. Payment (online or cheque) is made prior to the start of the session.

What about older children? Can my child’s nursery or school book a session?
Mud Pies classes are for families with children aged between 24 months and five years (not yet in P1). Mud Pies does also offer one-off visits for schools, nurseries and playgroups. Please get in touch if you'd like to know more about this type of activity session.

Thanks to:

- the Forestry Commission Scotland for making their fantastic Countesswells Woods available to Mud Pies.

- the steering group of the North East Forest Education Initiative for their financial support through their Woods for Learning Grant Scheme.


Click here to book a Mud Pies session.


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