The Shape of My Heart Shape Walk

This week we’ve been reading The Shape of My Heart by Mark Sperring and Alys Patterson and we were inspired to make this Printed Heart Silhouette.  We also took advantage of a morning without rain and went to Wendover Woods to hunt for shapes in the great outdoors.   The woods are high up in the Chilterns and if I had realised I would have taken an extra jumper, as being that bit higher up it was colder than I had expected! Burt was wrapped up warm so we carried on regardless and I promised myself a coffee in the Café In the Woods to warm up later. It was quite misty when we started our walk, however that didn’t spoil the stunning views, they just looked more mystical.

The Shape of My Heart Mark Sperring and Alys Paterson Shape WalkWe were hunting for any shapes that we could find: circles, squares, rectangles, triangles and hearts. Once you start looking it is amazing how many shapes there are around us. Very quickly we found circles on some tree trunks. Burt and I traced the rings of the tree trunk with our fingers. Exploring shapes in a physical way is a great way of developing an understanding and some children will learn much more quickly doing this kind of activity rather than just looking at pictures of circles in books, on the computer, or colouring in shapes.

The Shape of My Heart Shape Walk

We carried on through the shapes created by the path and the trees to a stump on the ground. Despite the chill in the air what did we see? A ladybird! The ladybird was a circle, it had black circles on its back and it was crawling on a cylindrical tree stump which had a circle on two sides! This was very exciting and it was very difficult to leave the ladybird behind but we had more shapes to find.

The Shape of My Heart Shape Walk Ladybird

The wind has been hard at work recently blowing small branches and sticks to the ground. Burt decided to collect some sticks and we made our own shapes out of the sticks that he found. This might not be a rectangle in the strict mathematical sense but it shows an understanding that there are four sides, two short sides and two longer sides. If you have older children you could challenge them to find more unusual shapes or create equilateral, isosceles and scalene triangles with natural materials.

The Shape of My Heart Shape Walk Rectangle

Along the trail we were following we stumbled upon the Den Building Area! This is an area where lots of trees have recently been felled as part of the management of the forest. The branches of the fallen trees have been removed from the trunks and left in piles on the ground so that you can build your own shelter in the woods. We tried out a few of the dens that had been built already and we thought this one had an entrance that looked like a triangle. It was very warm once you got inside and out of the wind.

The Shape of My Heart Shape Walk Den

After clambering in and out of dens we carried on our search. We found rectangles in the fence as the sun started to break through the mist.

The Shape of My Heart Shape Walk

On the way back we discovered the children’s play area and had a swing and a climb. We found lots of shapes here: the circles in the tyres; the squares in the scramble net; the rectangles in the wooden structures.

The Shape of My Heart Shape Walk

Our shape walk reminded me that there are learning opportunities all around us and it helped Burt to see that shapes are not just things in books, they are part of our world – natural and man-made. In our society the overall attitude to maths seems to be a negative one but maths doesn’t have to be boring and irrelevant. Shapes help us understand and make use of the world around us, they are everywhere, we just need moments in our daily lives to pause and realise their importance.

You can read more about the story that inspired us The Shape of My Heart by Mark Sperring and Alys Patterson or discover some more crafts and activities linked to the book.

Have you been inspired by a book to craft, go on an outing or do an activity this week?

I’m linking up this week with Coombe Mill Country Kids linky with lots of other bloggers who love spending time with their kids outside, even if the weather is shocking!


  1. says

    Reading this makes me wish I could drive and get to some of these wonderful places. I’m a complete lover of woodlands and nature trails and can’t wait to go on longer trips with my kids so that we can explore. Gorgeous, lovely post!

    • says

      You can even do it on the walk home from school. We are always on the look out for something. Have a lovely walk x

  2. says

    Oh my goodness Kirsty, Wendover Woods look amazing. Sounds like you had the best time too. I grew up in Berkhamsted so we may well have gone there before – or may in the future (my sister-in-law lives in St Albans) x
    Charly Dove recently posted…Butterflies in the GlasshouseMy Profile

    • says

      It is a small world, I am sure you must have been to Wendover Woods as they are so close to Berkhamsted and it is a great place for families.

  3. The Reading Residence says

    This is such a lovely, yet simple idea. I think we’ll be looking for shapes on our next walk now – thanks!
    The Reading Residence recently posted…The Puddle QuestMy Profile

  4. says

    Such a beautiful place for a shape hunt and some great family fun. What a great idea for a fun maths lesson that engaged Burt in his learning. Thanks for linking up and sharing your outdoor fun with Country Kids.

  5. says

    What a lovely walk and shape hunt! I love that they leave the branches for den building! Wish I could find something like that close to home to do with my son.

  6. says

    I used to run environmental activities for children and so many subjects can be taught outside in the garden, school grounds, park or countryside … and the best bit was more often than not the children had such a good time they didn’t even realise they were learning! Trying to remember if I ever did a shape walk – I did design a maths garden once!
    Rosie recently posted…Chickens in the Naughty CornerMy Profile

  7. says

    This is such a good idea to bring their learning in to real life and to show how many different things there are too see on a walk. But I’m starting to feeling a little frustrated because Wendover Woods sound so similar but I can’t think that we’ve ever been. Is it well sign posted? We have friends in Aylesbury maybe I’ve seen it on signs on our way to them. If not, maybe I’m just being drawn to the woods.
    Kate Davis recently posted…Stats: February 2014My Profile


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