Setting up base camp at Forest School is always fun. The forest takes us to another world, one where we can feel the air in our lungs and where we know adventure awaits. The resources we bring into the space need to fulfil a need, but we also want them to enhance not detract from our beautiful wild settings. In this blog we wanted to share with you why we absolutely adore the recycled plastic mats we use for our base camp.
Disclaimer: We’ve recently been gifted two gorgeous mats from Recycled Mats to use on our adventures but we’ve been fans and loyal followers of Recycled Mats for years. At Wildings Forest School, we only ever partner up with the suppliers of products we use every week and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to our readers.
Over the evolution of Wildlings, we have trialled a myriad of different mats.
- A cheap, fold-up picnic rug (A Christmas gift – I’m guessing a K-Mart cheapy) – too small, stained, pilled, waterproof backing fell off the first time I washed it.
- A 3m square picnic rug – big enough but a nightmare to clean. Food, sap, pollen, mud, everything stuck and stained and the only way I could clean it was to hit it with the pressure cleaner, not a job I wanted to do every week!
- An expensive, pretty fabric & waterproof rug – stained and was a soggy mess when it rained.
We no longer use any of these mats.
During an observation of a bush kindy session at Ananda Marga River School with the fabulous Katchia we came across these fantastic plastic mats from Recycled Mats, large enough to comfortably sit 15 children and ticking every box for outdoor use. We now don’t use anything else for the following reasons:
- Mats large enough to seat 15 or more children are difficult to come by, particularly in any kind of material that is kid proof, transportable and sustainable.
- The range from Recycled Mats includes diameters up to 4 metres. These are perfect to seat the children, but also fold up and can be stored in a case for ease of storage and transport. Winning!
- If these rugs were made of pure new plastic we wouldn’t be using them. But in these rugs, the weave is made from recycled polypropylene which is found in medicine bottles, shopping bags, drink bottles etc. It is very slow to degrade in landfill, but can be melted down for recycling into other products such as these mats.
- These mats weigh enough that they have not yet blown away, even in high winds (we’ll let you know if this changes!).
Easy to clean:
- Typically, we don’t do anything to clean the mat other than give it a shake. It gets muddy, sandy, covered in sticks and leaves, yet even on rainy days we usually give it a flick, fold it up and away we go. The next session, any sand or dirt will fall out and we are set to go again.
We hate to be aesthetes but…
- They’re pretty! They come in a range of colours and fabulous designs that will suit any setting. We use a mat with earthy colours featuring an indigenous design for our creek setting and a bright blue turtle mat for our beach setting.
For anyone wanting to view the entire range and styles of Recycled Plastic Mats, please visit the website www.recycledmats.com.au.