The daffodils are out already and, meteorologically speaking, Spring begins on 1st March (although, astronomically, the season starts on 27th March when the clocks Spring forward). Season-start-times aside, it’s time to GET OUR KIDS OUTDOORS MORE! Especially given that national averages for children engaging in outdoor play are steadily and sadly decreasing. That’s despite much research revealing that kids who play and learn outside develop better life skills and are healthier, more resilient and creative.
As a 70s child, I ran barefoot on grass regularly, made mud pies, and built outdoor dens. The park, woods and garden were my playground. Back then we took going down the park until dark for granted. But that doesn’t mean we can’t let our children explore, climb trees and get muddy with our supervision.
It’s not all about structured sporting activities either. Last weekend, on a woodland walk, I told my daughter to “take the lead and I’ll follow” and her eyes lit up. We had a wonderful woodland adventure where the possibilities of play were endless.
Minecraft may provide space to build new worlds but the Great Outdoors is the original new-world-building creative space.
Furthermore, studies reveal learning outdoors boosts concentration and well-being and encourages environmental stewardship and respect for the natural world. That’s why I’m leading an OPERATION OUTDOORS campaign at my local school to build outdoor learning and community areas. (Any local Hampshire-based companies interested in sponsoring zones in part or full, please contact me). As for parents… yes, we’re busier than ever, but we are also more mobile. We can phone/email from the park if we must (or just enjoy being outdoors ourselves).
Thankfully Forest Pre-Schools and Kindergartens (such as My Little Explorers where B went) are providing parents with an outdoor childcare choice. But us parents can do so too. It may be a tad too cold to sleep under the stars just yet but, as the Scandinavians say: "There's no bad weather, only bad clothes," and there’s plenty of fun to be had scavenger hunting, geo-caching, roller-skating, bike-riding, planting, tracking and climbing. So let’s makes the choice to get our digital natives out amongst nature, away from those screens and outdoors more. Now where are my wellies?
Join the campaign. Tweet your outdoor adventures to @ClimbingTreesTs using the hashtag #GetKidsOutdoorsMore