Welcome to the World of Wild Craft Play

Click here to register for January Questfinder


***Exciting news, Wild Craft Play is being offered in a new community way, offered to all ages on Saturdays once a month at Innisfree. Interested in learning more… click here.
Once upon a time… children were resilient and forced to play outside and learn basic life skills… now sadly children seem to be missing some key components to self-regulation, leadership, and communication… but don’t lose hope, We have the answers…

Upon community request, we are opening the gates again for Registration to our adapted  Questfinders’ program on Wednesdays!

Questfinder Weekly Wednesday Program
  • Starts up again Wednesday, January 11th
  • 3:30-5pm
  • Ages 8 to 12
Space is limited so register early.
Questfinder is an adapted version of the Wild Craft Play program. It is
a more back-country epic adventure of exploration and discovery spanning at Innisfree Farm and Botanical Garden, Royston Beach, Denman Island, Mount Washington, Horne Lake Caves and beyond.

Learn, Practice and Master…

❤️ Heart Skills:
Taking a Moment
Coping Skills
Communication Skills
Group Decision Making
✋️ Hand Skills:
Knife and other sharp tool use
Know and tarp making
Bike riding
🧠 Head Skills:
Ethical Harvesting
Herbal Remedies and Elixirs
Financial Literacy
Village conscious Economics
Community Contribution
Community project
There’s always more, but this hopefully helps you see that your child gets to lead, be part of the discussion, choose their own adventure, through ridiculous adventuresblike conquering monsters, accomplishing quests and make a difference in the world.
Facilitated by Jamie Back MA
Master of Arts in Environmental Education and Communication
(Secretly called a Master of Adventure)
With over 20 years in the field as a professional outdoor guide in sailing, rock climbing, caneoing, wilderness skills amd caving, Jamie has crafted this imaginative adventure from the shoulders of giants: Wild Craft, Sacred Storyteller, Dungeons and Dragons, Theatre for Life, World of Warcraft… the list goes on.
An original game platform that elicits 100% participation and transformation.
“I don’t know why anyone wouldn’t want to be in Wild Craft Play!” ~ Bella
email Jamie@wildcraftplay.com
Call 250-927-7923
Funding support available
Transportation available
PS. SoLe Adventure program available for youth who are neuro-diverse.
More info, just incase you need it…

Wild Craft Play is an imaginary world where children go on quests, find and manage gold coins, build villages, save the world from impending doom, and sleigh a monster or two.  Questers are guided to engage in youth-crafted creative story, hike in gumboots, climb trees, build shelters, make fires, role-play and shadow-story at the Fallen Alders Hall for those particularly cold days, with play outside as desired. Snow day plans of quest continuation included.  Outdoor and higher-risk activities (such as fire-making, wood-carving and swordplay) are first directed by high-skilled program guides and wilderness first-aiders who support the development of child-led risk assessment and leadership.


“I don’t know why anyone WOULDN’T want to be in Wild Craft Play!” Bella – 2022
Children say “I don’t know why anyone WOULDN’T want to be at Wild Craft Play” ~ Current participant. They say that Wild Craft Play is like a videogame in real life. “It’s the best of all 3 worlds, 1) Friends, 2) It’s like a Videogame and 3) We get to play in Nature.” ~ participant from research in 2015.

Act 1 for Beginners


per month - Tuesdays 10am until 3pm
  • Sept Start

  • we have gold coins, quests, swords and even archery
  • Adventure, Life Skills, always a bit of danger
  • Field Trips to Beaches, Caves, Mountains, Rivers to be expected


    Earth Advocates Project


    2 - 10 hours/month Service Project
    • Meets Monthly at Innisfree Farm
    • Discussions on Discord
    • 2022 Action = for the waters, telling the story for the Earth about the plastics in our waters
    • Learn project management, budgeting, asking for support and taking action

    How to Register:

    Send us an email: info@wildcraftplay.com or fill out the form HERE

    Pay by etransfer, identify an easy password, or Paypal HERE

    Print the Registration form and drop off at our Head Quarters.


    WHAT is Wild Craft Play anyway?  

    Wild Craft Play is an imaginary world where children go on quests, find and manage gold coins, build villages, save the world from impending doom, and sleigh a monster or two.  Questers are guided to engage in youth-crafted creative story, hike in gumboots, climb trees, build shelters, make fires, role-play and shadow-story at the Fallen Alders Hall for those particularly cold days, with play outside as desired. Snow day plans of quest continuation included.  Outdoor and higher-risk activities (such as fire-making, wood-carving and swordplay) are first directed by high-skilled program guides and wilderness first-aiders who support the development of child-led risk assessment and leadership.

    One of the best parts of Wild Craft Play is what happens after we witness a young person who has struggled or been frustrated. We generally sit in a place of empathy, not solving their problem, just saying things like “Oh!” and “Really, I wonder why?”  Then, something inspires them, like watching a light bulb come alive. And you should see the look of wonderment on their face! This is why we do what we do.  Wild Craft Play was crafted from the shoulders of giants, adapting, testing and experimenting with different pedagogies and techniques that engage youth.  From that, The Hummingbird Approach was born.  Developed by Jamie Black through a rigorous exploration during a Masters Thesis for 5 years from 2013, Jamie scratched the surface of wells of knowledge and practices that are still being uncovered today.  You might recognize John Dewey and his Learn by Doing theories, Game Theory both Gamification as well as shifting to Gameful Design by McGonigal.  Jerome Bruner introduces aspects of Guided Discovery Learning, and Michael White introduces Narrative Therapy. These among many others are stones on the path of Wild Craft Play. We have no intention of re-inventing a wheel, we are building a vessel on the wheels that truly work for facilitating arts and play in Nature.

    For neurotypical youth, Wild Craft Play is the type of leadership adventure needed to regenerate the resilience they were born with.  Take Dungeons and Dragons for example.  There is a Dungeon Master that sets the scene, enacts aspects of the game, and determines the fate of the players. Take the central market place of all videogames, think of all of the resources and things players use to access their wears, barter and trade.  Then you have the quests. To be honest it’s a bit of a crap shoot at first, trial and error to see what hits home for those youth, but each quest gets you closer to satisfying adventures that leave them hungry for more. Oh, and the best part is, you can fill the adventure with all sorts of learning outcomes, Writing, Reading Math, Social Studies, Science, Phys Health Ed. And get this, they do these things because they have an internal motivation, not because they are forced to.  Imagine a world where youth love to learn.

    For example, one of the activities in Wild Craft Play is called the Travelling Trade Post, where we usually play for about an hour. I bring my wears to sell, and the youth ponder over what to spend their gold on. I hire a merchant, an accountant and a security guard to tend to my business. Others get inspired and build their own business, buying, selling, hand-crafting.  I set a bunch of items in a hand-made wooden travelling tote and label items with mystical names like “Metallic Skin” for Duct Tape, and “Spider Sinew” for floss.  I boast about my wares and told them they must pay me in gold. Once they find the gold, the game ensues, sometimes lasting 4 hours, not wanting to quit.  “Jamie, can we play this all winter?” they would say.

    “How did you do it? It’s like the best of all 3 worlds! Friends, Nature AND Video games all in one!” ~ anonymous participant of Masters research.

    Wild Craft Play encompasses the best of the three worlds that children are most engaged in, Friends, time in Nature and the gameful aspects of Video Games. Replace technology with Nature, practice coping skills, group decision making, leadership, how to follow, and voila we have wildly crafted role-play.

    “I just loved watching every single child totally engaged in whatever it is they were interested in. The total embodiment of child-lead play in a game that provides very minimal direction and very maximum setting.” Jarrett Krentzel founder of Hand-In-Hand Nature Education

    How is it played?  
    • Facilitators offer experiences that are led by the youth. On the first day, you can expect a quest, gold coins, and group decision making, then… What do we do with our goldjQuery1124003778913868040812_1655271996806 It goes in the bank, which happens to be right here with me!
    • After our first day, youth take the lead, they decide where they want to go, what the want to go and with what mode of transportation. Bikes take us farther, but sometimes we choose to walk.
    • We like to relocate, so get ready for a different location every once and a while, somewhere near, or sometimes, with lots of notice, we end up at Mt Washington, or Horne Lake Caves, or Denman Island, orjQuery1124011427431351293382_1655272466133?
    • We experiment with hand-crafting, leadership, coping skills, problem solving, conflict resolution, wilderness survival skills, Earth Education, art, music and more.
    • Those who have peace in their hearts can play. (If you don’t have peace in your heart, we have all sorts of strategies to teach you how to cope on your own).
    • Friends bring weather appropriate gear AND USUALLY a whole costume overtop (not mandatory)
    • We use swords, archery equipment, knives, matches, vials, cook stoves, paint, duct tape, musical instruments, and whatever else you conjure up.
    • This becomes your world, what happens is because of you and the others and the decisions you make together.
    Wild Craft Play is best understood by… 
    • Imagining yourself as a character in a videogame (but it’s in real life) – gold coins, quests, stories, village building, imagination and creativity… Costume are MOST welcome!!
    • This program is designed to help each participant to find their inner light and let it shine. Maybe you like to fix things, find things, make things, craft things, have ideas, be an Artist, Storyteller, Ranger, Fire Keeper, Archer, Swordsperson, Town Cryer or be a Tree. Everyone is uinque, and you are welcome to learn by doing, having fun with a purpose.

      If we act as if we will save the Earth…

      …we will.

    This 6-week program on Wednesdays is for youth aged 8-14. At Fallen Alders Hall Grounds in the Royston/Cumberland area with visits to Innisfree Farm, the ocean and the plethora of trails near Trent River down Trent Rd From 1pm – 5pm PST.

    Continuation of the program will be depending upon the interest of families

    It’s an all-weather outdoor program

    In-House Subsidies available – application process.

    All programming implements COVID- strategic planning based on VIHA and WorkSafe BC requirements.



    At Wild Craft Play, we start with a sense of health and work our way to serenity and abundance.

    Through Live-Action Role-Play we start with a sense of self, then connect in unity. Following the Earth Charter, we expand our capacity to become in-service to community, then reaching beyond our region, the sky isn’t even the limit from here.
    Hone your character, craft your story, become part of a greater story through imagination AND real-life.
    Visit our Facebook Page for more on what’s happening.

    If you have played video games like Minecraft or World of Warcraft, or played Dungeons and Dragons or know what Live Action Role Play is then imagining yourself playing it in real-life with real people doing real things for an imaginary reason, or a real reason. It’s all up to you!!

    For Homeschoolers:

    this program meets new BC curriculum guidelines and links assessment tools to apply program discoveries.


    Make haste, there isn’t much space!


    About Wild Craft Play Winter Programs:

    In the winter, it gets colder, so we have booked Fallen Alders hall to host covid-safe Shadow Play. Youth use the inspiration of Nature, animals and people to engage in a production that is filled with ridiculous creations, curating something that is educational, with and for the Earth.

    We will “Open the Doors” to new members who might want to join and dive into the darkness on October 1.

    Winter Wonderland, Swords and Shadow Play

    Shadow puppetry, choreography and silliness behind a big white screen Hand-crafted arts on an overhead projector Digital Video production using computer technology, video editing and digital projection Crafting an original story, with and for the Earth.

    • Originally crafted music and rhythm Prop manipulation – circus props and other
    • Learning the ins and outs of how to create a production ie. Budgets, Promotion, Tech and Dress Rehearsals, Cue-to-Cue, Ticket Sales etc.
    • When inspired, we will be going outside to capture footage, get inspired, and play games on the Earth, so weather-appropriate outdoor gear is still required.
    • See our 2021 production story about #movemountainslikeme hereI have produced 5 Wild Craft Play ‘sCool Community productions over the past 10 years, all focusing on solutions for the Earth.
    • WildFire was an incredible production with a group of 9 musicians, 5 youth and 4 community performers hosted at the outdoor amphitheater at Errington War Memorial HallSecrets of the Bonefire, a Halloween event with 5 singer/musicians, 3 fire-spinners and a bonfire at the Errington War Memorial Hall Amphitheatre
    • #movemountainslikeme is our most recent endeavor with musicians from across Canada, real footage from the base of Little Mountain, producing an educational video for youth ages 8-14.With over 10 years experience as a producer, director, performer, and everything in-between, with extensive training in professional dance production and performance with Crimson Coast Dance Society and the Errington War Memorial Hall for the past 7 years, I have come to understand the magic that is ignited in the creative process, ESPECIALLY, when we create it together. Join us this winter at the Fallen Alders Community HallEarth Stories Shadow Play
    Dates & Fees TBA:

    • If you only want to be a part of the creation and NOT the performance, you can register just for this part.

    Shadow Play Winter Program #2: Prepare to Perform:

    *Stay tuned for Spring & Summer programming


    CLICK HERE to speak with Jamie Black founder and facilitator.


    Interested in running this yourself? Take our Wild Craft Play Guides Training in Wild Craft Play OR more general Outdoor Education Workshops.

    This is a unique platform designed to elicit imagination through creative play.

    Wild Craft Play was built from the shoulders of giants.  World of Warcraft, Minecraft, Survivor, Dungeons and Dragons, Wild Craft, Vesta Entertainment, Rich Dad Poor Dad, Royal Roads University, Vancouver Island University, Excellence Seminars International, John Dewey, Steve VanMatre, Questing… the list goes on. The children take this world to a whole new level depending on their skills and abilities. They engage in an economy of barter, trade, hand-crafting, entrepreneurship, community, connection, all on the playing field of Nature.

    Every Wild Craft Play Adventure Includes:

    • Earth Connection: deepening our understanding of the land, who tends it and our role as an Earth Ambassador;
    • Cultural Awareness: reaching global partnership with communities of different origin stories, traditions, and mentors.  The trees are our allies and teachers.  Together we continue to expand our awareness of the traditional Indigenous practices so that we can nurture as Nature does and share connections for all living beings (seen and unseen);
    • Equity: accepting everyone for who they are and their unique offerings.  This is a learning ground for the practice of acceptance. We honour  each other and empower youth to engage in peaceful, mindful action during our adventurous play.  Here is the perfect playing ground for developing skills for cooperation and leadership, especially at this ripe and impressionable age.
    • Physical Awareness: engaging outdoors allows the body the space to move, explore and thrive freely.  As children participate in the wide open space, opportunity is active;
    • Imaginative Play: building connection from the imagination of children. CLICK HERE to learn about this program’s origin stories!
    • Emotional Intelligence: calling children to explore their emotional self fosters their ability to feel safe and explore how to model this behaviour for their peers.  When facing a difficult situation, we guide youth to find Peace in their Hearts, adopt Coping Mechanisms, Practice Reconciliation and Accept Others;
    • Mental Stimulation: offering both right brain and left brain stimulation, from calculations, analysis of circumstances, problem solving, creative thinking, artistic design and Entrepreneurship;
    • Non-Denominational Spirituality: connecting nature as an opportunity to make a “spiritual connection” with the land, and the inner and outer self.In Wild Craft Play, we integrate practices that allow children to connect with their natural spirituality.  Whether one believes in unicorns and faeries, or believes in God or Goddesses: all beings are welcome.
    • Village Building: inspiring youth to build their own “village” by engaging in community politics, decision making and imagining practices that will serve the whole.  This connection happens naturally, allowing youth to guide this discovery through creative inquiry learning;
    • Responsibility: supporting the youth to assume their chosen roles and actions within the region’s community happenings.  When the group has modeled a level of understanding, support, found peace in their heart through collaboration, cooperation, clarity and focus, we “level up to ACT 2!” which essentially means the program transitions from being self-focused to community focused. This is when community projects, networking and entrepreneurship truly thrives. Here youth learn the world of inquiry, research, planning, budgeting, marketing, and engaging in the community from an ecologically, culturally and economically sound way.
    • Guided Discovery Learning: facilitating a Guided Discovery Learning approach that has been practiced and proven to engage children for over 18 years.  Following the practices of John Dewey and Jerome Bruner (early 1900 philosophers), Jamie Black calls it: “The Hummingbird Approach”.  Learn more about Jamie’s MA research HERE.
    • Basic and Affordable program activities include: Quests, village building, storytelling, hikes, sword play, hand-crafting skills, music making and story production. The Game is a familiar 1 day adventure that lasts about 4 hours. It’s like Capture the Flag, but way more epic.  
    • Advanced Activities Include: Forest Bathing (in forests and by bodies of water), Archery, Wilderness Survival Skills, Mountain Biking, Caving, Kayaking, Trekking, Indoor Rock Climbing, Cross Country Skiing, Snow-Showing and Snow shelter building, Adventure Questing and beyond.
    • Experiential Learning: relying on group cohesion, we dive into experiential activities that can be as simple as time in a forested area, to leveling up to more adventurous activities
    • Connecting with Nature: is an integral teaching tool within all of our programs through Coyote’s Guide to Connecting with Nature by John Young, following the 8 shields model at www.8shields.com
    • All programs involve outdoor adventures, it is just a matter of what the group is ready for.
    • Wilderness Survival Exploration why not learn some of the basics in wilderness survival, open up the first aid kids, pretend we have broken limbs, make a wilderness stretcher, youth love this!

    Did we tickle your curiosity muscle? If so, inquire here:

    Are you an Adult who wants to learn how to lead this program?

    Training for Adults:

    Teachers, Parents and Program Leaders, hire our facilitator to come to your community and offer training on any of the following concepts (please inquire for more details)

    “I am hooked, and look forward to seeing how to incorporate this into my class.” ~ Annette Nobles, principal of Departure Bay Eco Elementary School

    • Nature Connection
    • Adventure Questing
    • Wild Craft Play the Game
    • Wilderness Survival Scenarios
    • Program development in more risky outdoor adventures
    • Specific Training in Archery, Mountain Biking, Kayaking, rock climbing
    • Risk Management and Group Dynamic Management
    • Digital Storytelling in Nature

    CLICK HERE to see our Teacher Training Page

    What you need in order to play


    This game requires dexterity, capacity to think for yourself, experiment with autonomy, cooperation, collaboration, guiding others, coaching, experimentation itself.  Sometimes I find that if a child is younger than 8 years old, the concepts of a bank account, quests, entrepreneurship and independence is too much for young ones to handle, and therefore become very hard for adults to cater to the needs of the group as a whole.

    Sometimes I find that age 13 – 16 become “too cool for school” and they don’t want to PLAY anymore, THEN, when people are age 17 and older, they REALLY WANT TO PLAY… funny huh? To me, it’s hilarious. So if you can convince a 14 year old to play, GOOD ON YA!


    1. Appropriate clothing and closed toed shoes. Expect to run in The Nature.
    2. Eventually you will hand-craft a Pouch, an Journal and a fancy Pencil, but if you happen to have your own, bring it along!
    3. You need a good lunch with extra snacks and a water bottle (or two).
    4. To close your eyes and keep your mind WIDE OPEN. Bring your whole self and your wildest imagination.
    5. This game brings out our best super hero and sometimes the worst of our shadow selves, but through Guided Discovery Learning and other gentle facilitation tools, tonnes of practice and a big heart when it comes to LEARNING by DOING, we can help you through anything (or your money back).


    If you are a Parent, Teacher, Program Leader or student, this information is for anyone intending on working with or supporting children through this adventure.

    Wild Craft Play is more than an experience, it is a model designed to help children hone their life skills, fall in-love with the Earth, with the hopes to take care of it. We have discovered that it conveniently meets core competencies within the BC Curriculum, and can work as a game-like approach to helping teachers teach core curriculum, making learning more interesting.  Specific curriculum and specific topics such as: Social Studies, Business structures (Entrepreneurship, Business, Social Enterprises, Not-For Profits), Marketing, English, Math (Financial Literacy), Environmental Science, Economics, Consumerism, Chemistry, Botany, Herbalism.

    Understand that it isn’t about telling them to love the Earth, it’s about being a bit of a trickster, like Raven or Coyote, and bringing the video-game outside. The following is just a small list of what happens during a program:

    • GUIDED DISCOVERY LEARNING: Children are guided by the facilitator using a very particular approach that takes Guided Discovery Learning – an approach that was initially generated by John Dewey in the early 1900’s, progressed through the years with experimentation demonstrated by Maria Montessori called (Discovery Learning – unguided), and where I have added my own twist, using more of a Hummingbird Approach (opposed to a Helicopter Approach) to leadership.  According to Brown & Campione who championed Guided Discovery Learning, suggested that it is the middle ground
      between a more didactic (or receptive approach) and a discovery approach, like Montessori.  SEE MORE HERE.
    • VIDEO-GAME-LIKE PLAY: When playing video games such as Mine-craft and World-of-Warcraft, there are aspects of those games that really hook a player.  These aspects have been incorporated to a more un-structured outdoor experience, where children lead the game.
    • CHILD-LEAD LEARNING & INQUIRY-BASED LEARNING are both phrases that are becoming a catchy, that somewhat means the experience is lead by the children, yet I offer a bit of a twist on this theory.  Based on my understanding, these two concepts mean slightly different things. Child-led learning means that the child makes the decisions, which goes hand-in-hand with the approach of using questions (Inquiry), to guide children to their own discovery. The difference between this and Guided Discovery Learning is the amount of effort, preparation and guidance training that the teacher (or Guide) requires in order to provide a holistic experience for the children.
    • WILDERNESS  COMMON SENSE In addition to play that includes archery, swordplay, quests and expeditions, I believe that children need more training and experience to develop a Nature-Based COMMON SENSE. Based on a life-time of experience, it is my understanding that it takes experience to develop common sense, and we need to provide somewhat safe experiences, with perceived risk, in order for children to stretch their comfort zones and hone those skills.
    • EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING: relying on group cohesion, we dive into experiential activities that can be as simple as a time in a forested area, or more complex strategic role-play with quests, characters, challenges and swords. Other adventurous activities can be offered such as Mountain Biking, Caving, Kayaking, Trekking, Indoor Rock Climbing, Cross Country Skiing, Snow-Showing and Snow shelter building, Adventure Questing and beyond. It all depends on what neck of the woods you are in, who your guide is and where you want to go!
    • CONNECTION WITH NATURE is an integral experience within all of our programs that has been practiced for decades. I grew up in Nature, and have been an outdoor guide for over 20 years. I believes that time in nature is what prevents ADHD, dis-ease, and it brings joy, magic, listening to our intuition, building self confidence and much more. We have integrated theories and practices of Coyote’s Guide to Connecting with Nature by John Young, following the 8 shields model at www.8shields.com since 2009.
    • A SPIRITUAL COMPONENT I believe that you can’t have a physical experience, using your mind and body, without having some emotional needs creep up, that force us to tap into our own personal spiritual practice to help guide, shape and mold our experience. At Wild Craft Play we are non-denominational, we do not preach any particular religion, allow space and time for people to use their own individual practices to help shape their experience.  Some universal approaches include – time in Nature, quiet time, journaling, guided visualizations.
    • ALL INCLUSIVE GENDER IDENTITIES AND ABILITIES All are welcome.  Even under age 8 (just know that it might be a bit over their heads, and you will have to support them).  One intention for this experience is to build capacity, build community, and support an understanding of diverse abilities and cultures, with the hopes that by learning to be more accepting of people, that we can work together to take care of the Earth.
    • HANDS-OFF GUIDANCE Because this is a more of a child-led adventure, and it is facilitated in a way that children need to think for themselves, if your child needs direct instruction, you will need to provide an aid.  There are many practices we use to ensure that each child has the best experience possible, we recognize that this game is not for everyone.  Although we have many, there are only so many adaptations and mindfulness techniques that we can use to ensure that everyone feels welcome and safe. So come with an open mind, and feel free to let us know if you need more support. We use techniques such as box breathing,
    • CREATIVE STORYTELLING Whether it be poetic rhyme, story crafting, singing, acting, dancing, stage crafting, our approach to appreciative inquiry is usually more along the lines of “That’s for me to know and for you to find out, for without a doubt, I was destined to meet you, and I know what you must do…”


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