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Circle of Life Rediscovery kit list

CLR have done a brilliant job of gathering and collating some brilliant kit lists to create this comprehensive guide suitable for practitioners, basic and advanced Forest School groups.

Prices were correct at time of writing - make your own checks.

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The kit and equipment may vary from Forest School to Forest School, based on the activities provided and the actual Forest School site itself (e.g. if your site has an accessible pond it is likely you will need some pond dipping equipment). The kit lists compiled here are by no means definitive, and are designed as a starting point.


Ideally, within the Forest Schools programme, children will be outside throughout the year and in all weathers. It is therefore vital that children (and accompanying adults) have suitable clothing. It is advisable that children wear long trousers and long sleeves (even in summer) when out in natural areas, due to natural hazards such as stinging nettles, brambles, ticks etc. It may be advisable for children to have a set of old clothes to wear, as they will get dirty. In the summer, hats and sun cream (follow your settings own policy regarding the application of sun cream) may be advisable. In winter, layers of warm clothing as well as hats, and gloves are vital.

In wet weather full waterproofs and Wellington boots are essential, these come in many different styles (coats and trouser sets, all-in-ones, ponchos etc) and you may need to research which style is most appropriate for your group. It may be wise for your setting to invest in a full set of waterproofs and/or warm clothing for your group to borrow. A set of 15 waterproofs, fleece jackets and Wellington boots will cost approximately £850.

Kit for Practitioners

As a Forest School practitioner you may need certain tools and equipment to prepare materials, maintain tools and manage the Forest School site. You may need to harvest poles and rods for activities, coppice areas of woodland, clear areas of bramble/nettles, remove ‘risks’ such as hanging deadwood or eye level sticks.

However do remember that any major tree work should be carried out by a professional tree surgeon. All tools need to be kept appropriately in secure storage and regularly maintained. As an OCN Level 3 practitioner you may eventually work with the children to use these tools, however this would not be expected of a OCN Level 1 practitioner and these tools would be for adult use only. The full kit listed below would cost approximately £150.

  • Bow saw, spare blades & blade guards  Silky (pruning) saw
  • Secatures
  • Loppers
  • Knife
  • Axe
  • Hand drill
  • Hacksaw
  • Ropes & strings
  • Whetstone/sharpening stones  Hard hat
  • Work gloves
  • Safety boots

Basic Forest Schools Kit

The following list of kit would be a start for an OCN Level 1 practitioner to use with a group, focused mainly around exploratory, craft and creative activities. The full kit listed below (not including the digital camera) would cost approximately £160.

  • Bug pots
  • Brushes
  • Sweep nets
  • Identification keys/relevant books
  • Trowels & buckets
  • Small tarpaulins/sheets  Ropes and strings
  • Clothes pegs
  • Tent pegs
  • Mirrors
  • Binoculars
  • Weaving frames
  • Collection bags/baskets
  • Double sided sticky tape
  • Potato peelers
  • First Aid kit
  • Boundary tape/markers
  • Appropriate storage – rucksack/box
  • Digital camera

Advanced Forest School Kit

The following list contains some ideas for an OCN Level 3 practitioner to use with a group, perhaps working with the children in some ‘higher risk’ activities such as tool use, fire lighting and cooking. Remember to store tools securely and separately from other resources as children should not be accessing them without a supporting adult.

This list may be in addition to the basic kit list. The full kit listed below (not including the digital camera) would cost approximately £200 - £300 depending on quantities of each item.

  • Bow saws, spare blades & blade guards
  • Secateurs
  • Loppers
  • Knifes
  • Hand drill & vice
  • Hacksaws & spare blades
  • Ropes & strings
  • Children’s work gloves
  • Fire lighting kit
  • Fire container (if no suitable pit available)
  • Grill
  • Kettle & cups
  • Popcorn popper
  • Cooking pot & utensils
  • Water carriers
  • Hand wipes/gel
  • First Aid kit
  • Boundary tape/markers
  • Appropriate storage – rucksack/box
  • Digital camera

Kit List from CLR plus additional ideas Item

  • Bin bags
  • string
  • Cotton wool
  • Refreshments
  • Cups
  • screen
  • First aid kits
  • Fixed blade knives
  • Folding blade knives
  • Trivet
  • Vaseline
  • Flask
  • Fire steels Strikers
  • Paracord (2 reels)
  • Rope x 80m
  • Firewood
  • Fire blanket
  • Fire buckets x2
  • Pruning saws
  • Bow saws
  • kettle
  • Large tarp
  • Army tarps
  • Loppers x1
  • Secateurs x2
  • Protective gloves
  • Fire gloves
  • Palm drills
  • Bit and brace
  • Hand drill
  • Drill bits
  • Hand axe
  • Water containers
  • Wood
  • Cooking equipment

The list below was taken from NORFOLK SCHOOL LINK which I thought was very useful.

  • Drawstring bags - assorted sizes
  • Rope, string and various pulleys and carabiners
  • Children's garden tools
  • Field Guides for identification
  • Various items for catching and observing insects
  • Safety mirrors
  • Collapsible binoculars
  • Collecting bags
  • Tent pegs and bungee straps
  • Mats for sitting on
  • Tape
  • Clipboards
  • Crayons
  • Calico Squares
  • Scrunch buckets
  • Some baskets
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