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New activity trails and an app encourage children to learn about nature
From Friday 3 October families will have the opportunity to go on a forest adventure with Mouse as the Gruffalo’s Child activity trails come to 24 forests and woods across England.
The Gruffalo’s Child will leave her comfortable cave this autumn and go into the deep dark wood until February 2015 to inspire children to explore and learn about nature.
The self-led trails will encourage children to search for animal tracks, create Gruffalo and animal footprints, pretend to grow tall like trees, build animal homes and find materials that animals can use to keep warm in winter.
The activity trails have been devised to support Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 curriculums, with links to knowledge of the world, language development, sensory learning and numeracy.
The Gruffalo’s Child trails are the latest initiative organised by Forestry Commission England in conjunction with Magic Light Pictures to celebrate the nationwide 10th anniversary celebrations of the book’s publication.
Ian Gambles, Director of Forestry Commission England commented:
“The Gruffalo activity trails this summer were an outstanding success and we welcomed an unprecedented number of children and families to forests across the country – many for their first time.
“We are looking forward to providing new reasons for families to get outdoors and explore our woods and forests with Gruffalo’s Child activities this autumn.
“The trails will be an amazing adventure, encouraging visitors to make the most of the autumn and winter seasons and learn about our beautiful forests alongside one of the all-time favourite book characters.”
The Gruffalo’s Child activity trails follow on from The Gruffalo trails that took place during the spring and summer, which saw hundreds of thousands of children following The Gruffalo and his friends through woods and forests across the country.
Visitors will also be able to purchase an activity pack for £2 which includes a foraging bag for collecting woodland materials, a fun-packed Gruffalo’s Child activity leaflet which is closely linked to the activity trail, a special Gruffalo’s Child sticker and a colouring-in sheet. These special packs will encourage children to learn even more about the behaviour of animals in autumn and winter.
If that’s not enough, Magic Light Pictures released a new Gruffalo app this week, Gruffalo:Photo, which encourages children and their families to explore and take photographs whilst they are out on their forest adventure. They can even take a #gruffaloselfie!
Using an intuitive and simple design, the app enables children to take pictures using four exclusive Gruffalo frames. Photos can then be personalised using character stickers, phrases and artwork from the iconic picture book.
The app also includes a map and directions to all of the 24 Gruffalo’s Child trail locations across England.
Martin Pope, co-founder, Magic Light Pictures, said:
“Gruffalo: Photo perfectly taps into the ideas of discovery and adventure which Julia and Axel’s books inspire. With this app we want to encourage children and families to explore their surroundings and take an even greater interest in nature. We are also really excited to be able to combine outdoor engagement and discovery with modern technology. Safety is very important to us, so we have taken great care to make sure that parents can keep complete control of the photos, leaving them to feel confident to let their children explore uninhibited.”
Gruffalo: Photo comes hot on the heels of Gruffalo: Games, the No.1 Kids and Education app on iPad, which saw over 250,000 plays in the first three weeks.
Developed by Magic Light Pictures with Limepark Studios, Gruffalo: Photo is available to download exclusively via the AppStore for iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and iPad Mini, priced at £1.49.
Visit www.forestry.gov.uk/gruffalo for details of Gruffalo’s Child activity and trails and to sign up to the newsletter.
For more information please contact:
Katrina Podlewska at the Forestry Commission on 0300 067 4030 or email Katrina.email@example.com
Dani Andres at Spirit Public Relations on 0117 944 1415 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Images available from Forestry Commission press office.
Notes to editors:
1. The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible in England for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment. Further information can be found at www.forestry.gov.uk/england
2. Forestry Commission Discovery Passes vary in price from £20-£55 for annual membership. For more information visit www.forestry.gov.uk/pass
3. 2014 marks The Gruffalo’s 15th anniversary and The Gruffalo’s Child’s 10th anniversary and will see a range of celebratory events which are being driven by Magic Light Pictures. It started in March with a national schools tour of Gruffalo themed days in partnership with Film Nation; The Gruffalo birthday month at the Eden Project was celebrated in May and Gruffalo films will be performed live with the Northern Sinfonia in October. The anniversary year also sees the launch of Gruffalo reading frames with Specsavers along with other new and exciting product ranges including luxury wooden toys from Bajo and anniversary publications from Macmillan's Children's Books.
4. The Gruffalo’s Tour and Trails in figures
28 forests across England hosted Gruffalo activity trails. The Gruffalo trails led to an increase in visitors of a third in some forests.
This summer more than 10,000 children met and had their photo taken with The Gruffalo himself on the Gruffalo Forest Tour across England
Over 56,000 signed up to receive email updates on the trails in the first few months of the project.
5. About Magic Light Pictures
Magic Light Pictures makes imaginative entertainment for audiences, families and children worldwide.
The company creates high quality films and products and has built the wonderful Gruffalo brand over many years. Its filmmaking includes feature films such as Oscar-nominated animation Chico & Rita, comedy thriller Wild Target and natural history documentary One Life.
The company directly manages production, licensing, global distribution and marketing. Magic Light has sold its Oscar and BAFTA-nominated half-hour animated films, The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child, to over 80 broadcasters worldwide. It runs an international merchandising programme with over 40 licensees and 250 products. In 2012, the company launched Room on the Broom – based on the best-selling book by Donaldson and Scheffler – with a Bafta and International Emmy-winning half-hour animation and a growing range of merchandise.
Follow on Twitter @MagicLightPics
6. About The Gruffalo
The Gruffalo is a fast growing classic brand based on the best selling books written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler. Magic Light Pictures produced two award winning half hour animated films (The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child) and has launched a very successful, high quality merchandising programme which builds on the heritage of this special and much loved property.
First published in 1999 by Macmillan's Children's Books The Gruffalo has been described as a 'modern classic' (The Observer). Written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler, the book has been translated into 52 different languages. A second book, The Gruffalo's Child, was published in 2004 and together they have sold over 13.5 million copies worldwide.
In 2009 Magic Light Pictures produced a half hour animated special based on The Gruffalo. First broadcast in the UK on BBC One, Christmas Day 2009, the film was seen by over 10m viewers, then nominated for both an Oscar® and BAFTA Film Award, and has gone on to win numerous international film awards including the Prix Jeunesse 2010. A companion film The Gruffalo's Child premiered on BBC One Christmas 2011 to 10m viewers.
7. The Gruffalo’s Child Forest Trail Locations
The list below shows the locations of the Gruffalo’s Child activity trails, those marked with an asterisk are also home to one of The Gruffalo’s 7ft sculptures.
1. Alice Holt Forest, Surrey*
2. Moors Valley Country Park*
3. Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest, Kent*
4. High Lodge, Thetford Forest, Suffolk*
5. Wendover Woods, Buckinghamshire*
6. Jeskyns, Gravesend, Kent
7. Birches Valley Forest, Cannock Chase*
8. Delamere Forest, Cheshire*
9. Hicks Lodge, Derbyshire
10. Sherwood Pines, Nottinghamshire*
11. Salcey Forest, Northamptonshire
12. Top Lodge, Fineshade*
13. Beechenhurst, Forest of Dean
14. Haldon Forest Park, Exeter, Devon*
15. Westonbirt, The National Arboretum, Gloucestershire* (trail dates are 1 December 2014 – 28 February 2015)
16. Cardinham Woods, Bodmin, Cornwall
17. Haughmond Hill, Shropshire
18. Wyre Forest, Worcestershire*
19. Dalby Forest, Yorkshire*
20. Guisborough Forest, North Yorkshire
21. Whinlatter Forest, Nr Keswick, Cumbria*
22. Hamsterley Forest, Country Durham*
23. Kielder Water and Forest Park, Northumberland
24. Grizedale Forest, Nr Hawkshead, Cumbria