An ‘Expotition’ to the Hundred Acre Wood…

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My girls have been crazy about Winnie the Pooh and friends all summer long since they discovered the Winnie the Pooh  book series in our local library by chance. It totally captivated their imagination and they have been playing Pooh and Piglet ever since. We later borrowed the Winnie the Pooh DVD, which is loosely based on the books and their love for the characters just grew.  Both my daughters love animals and love nothing better than playing with their soft toys or Sylvanian families or petting their guinea pigs, so any story about animals or soft toy animals on adventures is bound to be a winner!

The Winnie the Pooh series was written by the playwright A.A. Milne from 1924- 1928. It started with a collection of poems When we were Young, which were based on observations of his young son Christopher Robin and the story Winnie the Pooh followed a couple of years later. Milne wrote another book of poems When we were Six the following year and Winnie the Pooh and friends returned once more in the book House on Pooh Corner. The stories are about a young boy called Christopher Robin and his soft toy friends, who live and have adventures in the Hundred Acre Wood. The stories are sweet, amusing and very innocent and each of the animals has a very distinct character.

The movie is really lovely; very simple and charming and my daughters love it.I always imagine the characters to be English ( they live in an English wood after all!) , so it is rather odd that some of them have American accents, but it doesn’t detract from the sweet, funny storyline.  We don’t watch many films, but once in a while it is nice to sit down with a cosy movie and let your imagination go on a journey.

My daughters have certainly been on many a journey ever since, making “Backson” traps  (this bit comes from the film) and hunting Heffalumps for weeks on end! They never tire of inventing new adventures and our garden and our whole street have become their hunting ground.

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Sometimes they asked me for supplies so that they could keep hunting over lunch time 🙂dsc04429

Their rooms belong to Pooh and Piglet:

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and they have made various contraptions for catching ‘Backsons’ and ‘Heffalumps’, including these rather unusual ‘Backson’ traps in the garden.

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and recently they also set a trap in a wooded area in our local park!

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Unfortunately over the weekend, some ‘naughty’ teenagers took their ‘Backson’ trap down and messed up their fire arrangement, not to mention leaving lots of litter around 😦 so the place has lost some of its enchantment sadly. What a shame as we live so close by,  but we will find another spot further away from the road and try again. Those Backsons and Heffalumps still need catching! 😉

This weekend, we thought it would be nice to treat the girls to a surprise ‘expotition’ to the Hundred Acre Wood aka the Ashdown Forest in Sussex.

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We managed to locate the bridge and throw some Pooh sticks in it

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and we found lots and lots of dens in the wood which we decided belonged to Winnie the Pooh’s friends.

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There was even a small house with Pooh himself inside it  which the girls enjoyed,

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but mainly they loved striding through the woods with their sticks in hand,  imagining how it would be for Christopher Robin and his friends, playing beautifully and imaginatively. It was a joy to behold and my husband and I played along as Owl ( Wol) and Rabbit for a little while.

I love watching my girls playing imaginatively. For a year or so now, they play a lot more in secret than before so I don’t get to see them play as much as I used to. I often watch them from afar, seeing them totally engrossed in their fantasy world. Long may this continue!  I think the fact that we didn’t have a television or let them watch DVDs until two years ago has really helped. They have had to rely on the outside world for their inspiration and their own deep imaginations. We now do watch the occasional film, but I think allowing the child to develop their imagination, free from electronic entertainment, is really helpful in the early years, so they can become very self reliant in their play. That is my experience anyway.

The sign posting wasn’t the best, but it is a wonderful expanse of woodland, a great area to explore, to be part of nature and to enjoy a really good play!

We have finished reading the Winnie the Pooh books, but the story goes on in the girls’ imagination. Happy times!

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2 thoughts on “An ‘Expotition’ to the Hundred Acre Wood…

  1. I really enjoyed this post. Such sweet Winnie the Pooh play! We like Pooh bear here, too, and the movie you mentioned is a favorite. I just love the signs your girls made for their rooms. How magical and special to visit the “Hundred Acre Wood.” My twins, aged nine, still play imaginatively, too, and it makes me very happy. I want this to continue for as long as possible as well. I remember that my friends and I played imaginatively until we were about twelve, I think! I believe you are right about limiting electronic entertainment. I think there are a lot of factors that sustain and promote play… one of which, just living in a home where free space is left in the day for play. Lots of good stories. Raising children in such a way that they do not become jaded, making sure they feel free to be children and don’t precociously imitate older teen or adult life. It’s on my mind a lot, since the twins turned nine… it feels like such a milestone!

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    • I am glad you enjoyed reading about our adventures 🙂 It was rather special to be in the Hundred Acre Wood! Yes I found that when my eldest became nine, aware that some of the magic was going to go as she passed the ‘rubicon’, and now she is almost 10 ( and not particularly relishing the thought of getting older) I can feel it again. There is only so long they will be playing this way, believing in all the magic around them and I treasure watching them and sharing these special times. This year might be the last Christmas magic for my eldest…who knows. I keep hoping we can eek out another year of fairy magic! I think I played imaginatively with dolls until I was fourteen, but didn’t believe in magic past 11/12 I think ( the age of not believing). How was it with your eldest? Hopefully our children will keep playing for a good while yet as they are quite sheltered from popular culture. I agree so many children of this age are acting like mini teenagers or their parents wish them to be mini adults so that they can do adult things with them, it is a worry. Some people are happy to let their 9/10 year old see a 15 film. It you’ve seen it all when you are young, what is next when you are older? Where is the mystery? Let’s keep giving our children lots of time and room to be children until they no longer need it and filling their lives with nourishing and inspiring stories 🙂 . Thanks for visiting!

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