Forest Family Bags up for grabs at East Dunbartonshire nurseries

Twenty-one nurseries across East Dunbartonshire* have received Forestry Commission Scotland Forest Family Bags in support of safe outdoor play in the woodlands.

Families can now borrow a rucksack packed full of advice, ideas, resources and fun activities to do outdoors from their children’s nursery or family learning centre. 

These nurseries have been selected following the completion of Forestry Commission Scotland’s Forest Kindergarten training and are actively following the Forest Kindergarten programme.

The rucksacks include advice and information for families while visiting their local woodland area, as well as tools to support outdoor play including tarpaulin, pegs and a sitting mat. The bags also enable children to explore using their senses and imagination, through a range of fun activities, including activity sheets, a story book, finger puppet, binoculars, bug viewer and magnifying glass.

Marian Cairns, forest kindergarten officer at Forestry Commission Scotland, said: “Forestry Commission Scotland is committed to extending the responsible use of woodlands and green spaces. These forest family bags support children in enjoying their local woods alongside their parents. The contents of the bags support understanding, learning and enjoyment. This initiative builds upon our existing training for nursery staff and enhances the benefits of learning in woodlands.”

Kate Cameron, nursery teacher at Milngavie Nursery, which piloted the Forest Family Bags, said: “Our parents love our Forest Family Bag. They have told us that it really helps them understand why Forest Kindergarten is such an important part of our curriculum. It gives our children a chance to be the guide to the woods for their family, and to revisit places and learning from our Forest Kindergarten sessions.

“The bag is well thought out and well resourced - full of things which make a day out in the woods memorable and meaningful. The bags are a great success and our families are very keen to borrow them."

Forestry Commission Scotland started developing the Forest Kindergarten programme in 2009, which is a practical, hands-on course designed to specifically meet the needs of early years staff and equip them with the knowledge, understanding and skills to support children in learning through play in local woodlands and greenspaces. The programme promotes the use of woodlands as a learning environment and involves a range of activities, including exploring for bugs, tracking animals, building dens, arts and crafts and learning about the dangers and risks to look out for in a woodland setting.

Research has shown that play and learning in woodland and green spaces leads to a range of benefits for children’s development, including better concentration, better communication skills, greater stamina, improved balance and coordination, increased confidence and appreciation and understanding of the outdoors. A ‘ripple’ effect also occurs as families then choose to access outdoor spaces more frequently. The forest family bags are designed to enhance this benefit.

For more information on Forestry Commission Scotland’s Forest Kindergarten programme and the Forest Family Bags, contact Marian Cairns at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

*Full list of East Dunbartonshire nurseries which have received the Forest Family Bags:
• Auchinairn Nursery
• Buchanan Nursery
• Canniesburn Nursery
• Castlehill Nursery
• Cleddends Learning & Childcare
• Clober Nursery
• Glasgow Academy Nursery
• Happy Days Nursery
• Happytots Nursery
• Hillhead Nursery
• Kidsplay Nursery
• Killermont Nursery
• Lennoxtown Nursery
• Lenzie Meadow
• Meadowburn Nursery
• Merlwood Nursery
• Milngavie Nursery
• Mosshead Nursery
• Riverside Nursery
• St Marys Nursery
• Torrance Nursery

Notes to editors

  1. Forestry Commission Scotland is part of the Scottish Government's Environment and Forestry Directorate.
  2. Tha Coimisean na Coilltearachd Alba na phàirt de Bhuidheann-Stiùiridh na h-Àrainneachd is Coilltearachd aig Riaghaltas na h-Alba agus bidh e a’ toirt seachad comhairle air poileasaidhean coilltearachd agus air riaghladh. Tha Iomairt Choilltean na h-Alba na fo-bhuidheann aig Coimisean na Coilltearachd a tha a’ ruith Oighreachd na Coille Nàiseanta as leth Ministearan na h-Alba.
  3. Media enquiries to Steve Williams, Forestry Commission Scotland press office, 0300 067 6508 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.