Weekly Program / Classes

The Doors open Nov 25th
Register by Nov 11th for Shadowplay, Swords & Story
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Space is Limited!

Welcome to the World of Wild Craft Play! 

WHO is Wild Craft Play for, and HOW is it played?  

Wild Craft Play is best …

  • Suited for groups ages 8-14, with a minimum of 6 youth
  • Played weekly with the same youth for a minimum of 8 weeks

WHAT is Wild Craft Play anyway?  

Wild Craft Play is best understood by … 

  • Watching the updates, information and program focus. Right now we are playing Rangers in the Woods, honing our Ranger skills, next phase we focus on our storycrafting skills. Visit our Facebook page for more on what’s happening.
  • By playing video games like Minecraft or World of Warcraft, then imagining yourself playing it in real-life!
  • By experiencing Wild Craft Play’s The Game: a 1 day adventure to experience the depth of dynamic play children engage in!
  • By watching this short video to get a basic sense of a typical adventure’s immersive process

WHERE is Wild Craft Play already in action?

Program is hosted at Hidden Quarters: a medieval-inspired playground on 3.5 acres of forested and field-land with access to workshop, tools and dining hall.

2020-2021:  Join the seasonal adventure with guides Jamie Black and Wild RootZ (aka Alanna Balicki) in Coombs. BC. Transportation can be arranged, even if you are from Nanaimo or Courtenay, the drive is so worth it!


  • The door reopens to new youth on November 25th, 2020.

  • Make haste, there isn’t much space!
  • Register by Wednesday, Nov. 11, space is very limited!
  • This 8-week program on Wednesdays is for youth aged 8-14 in Coombs, B.C
  • From 9:00am- 3:00pm PST.
  • A 2-week holiday breaks Dec. 23th and 30th, and runs until Jan. 27, 2021.
  • Cost $395 for 8 weeks
  • Snow-day happenings to be unveiled

Questers are guided to engage in youth-crafted creative story, hike in gumboots, climb trees, build shelters, make fires, role-play and shadow-story in the heated medieval dining hall (for those particularly cold days). 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.

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

CLICK HERE to speak with Jamie Black founder and facilitator.

Ask about our referral program and family-carpooling in place.  

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

Visit here to register and inquire further: www.wildcraftplay.com/contact-us


Interested in running this yourself? 

Take our Wild Craft Play Guides Training in Wild Craft Play OR more general Outdoor Education Workshops.  Visit here to register and inquire further: LINK ideal website.  


This isn’t any ordinary game, this game was build 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.

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

NOW HIRING an Assistant Program Leader


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…”


Ah, Friend! If you are looking for JUST an Archery & Sword Play 7 week training with rediculously fun tournament at the end, please inquire.

For ages 8 AND UP!

(especially those of us who are young at heart 🙂

Coming soon to The Nature near you! Last time we offered this, the City of Nanaimo partnered with Wild Craft Play ‘sCool and it was an epic success. We sold out in 3 hours and had to book a second day. The kids had a blast with the adventure of Archery and Sword Play and a funtastical tournament at the end. We had so much fun honing our skills like warriors, playing together in the tournament and enjoyed special guests who enhanced our game!

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