Children still need a childhood with dirt, mud, puddles, trees, sticks and tadpoles – Brooke Hampton
Looking back at your own childhood, what were your favourite memories? I bet it wasn’t that amazing television programme or that super expensive high-tech toy with buttons! I know my best memories were all outside; collecting bugs, making mud pies, swimming in streams, building dens and climbing trees. How about you?
I’ve always loved being outdoors and within nature; playing hide and seek in the woods, building nests for birds and creating shoe box homes for all of the mini-beasts. Although, as a child I never really knew why any birds didn’t like my ground nests and why the bugs never survived in my shoe boxes; I fed them leaves after all!
Nowadays, it’s all about iPads, iPhones and all singing, all dancing technology toys. The problem with those types of toys though is that they only pacify children and most only have one outcome. Press the buttons, they make a sound, or you complete a game; children then become quickly bored and are looking for the next ‘toy’.
Let us recreate our childhood adventures we had, for our children. Take away the technology and come and play outside. Children become more confident, creative, and greater problem-solvers when accessing the natural world. When children play outside, they learn about the environment and experience all weathers and seasons; no iPad can replicate that. Regular outdoor play supports children to develop their self-initiated play by using natural resources to build dens or make that fairy home. Exploration allows for them to develop their curiosity, creativity, confidence, social skills, and communication, empathy, and risk-taking abilities.
Since 2015, Forest Friends has provided fun woodland adventures, forest school and story trails for families with children under 11 years old. Children can go on a bug hunt, swing in the hammock, play in the mud kitchen, build dens, and participate in natural crafts such as blackberry painting, clay, or making instruments with natural materials. I also provide themed sessions linking them to well-known stories such as ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ or ‘The Gruffalo’.
In a world that is full of technology, I believe it is important for families to go back to basics, explore nature and our environment. I am a big believer in ‘There’s no such thing as bad weather just bad clothing’. So…. come on! Wrap up and get your kids back to nature!
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