I read a post yesterday today on my friend Hannah’s blog about how families exploring the Great Outdoors has dropped by a third in one generation This makes me very sad indeed.
Only last week I was watching a Netflix documentary called Project Wild Thing, in which filmmaker David Bond, increasingly worried about his children’s obsessions with screens and constant bombardment with marketing, decides to appoint himself the marketing director of ‘Nature’.
In his quest to promote nature, he comes across various children who are intimidated, bored or uninspired by ‘nature’ and tries to find out why. My absolute favourite bit of the film was where the girls who thought it was boring outside, just came alive when they were outside exploring. I definitely know exactly the healing power of the sun or even a blast of cold air on your skin.
As a child myself, I was lucky enough to be brought up on a small holding with 2 acres of land to roam. We were definitely free-range children; my brother and I played amongst the animals, plants and streams and we were full of energy and enthusiasm. We rolled down hills in old barrels, picked up leaves to make rubbings and chased cotton-tailed rabbits into their warrens. I even remember getting up at the crack of dawn to go and pick mushrooms to fry up for breakfast before going to dinner. To this day, I can’t smell mushrooms frying in butter without getting nostalgic.
As a family ,we get outside every single day with Chiplet, to explore some sort of outdoor world and most of the time it is totally free. He loves the little walk out from our house which takes in a field of cows and a woodland. The walk should take about 15 minutes but takes well over an hour with a contrary toddler in tow. I love how he is so fascinated by everything and stops to look at things that we would totally pass by. Don’t even get me start on cuggles (or puddles). He has to stop at every single one!
We moved to this house to give our son the kind of childhood that my husband and I had. We plan to raise ourselves a Wild Thing! Some days it can be pretty tricky to get out and I can imagine its pretty hard with multiple children in your family. Project Wild Thing showed there were barriers for both the adults and the children to head out into nature. We have such busy lives and we often choose other ways to fill our time. I know Chiplet has started to love watching movies – which in one way is great as it occupies him quietly for an hour or so, but I don’t want his screen time to overtake his Wild Time. Wild Time is what Project Wild Thing call time spent outside. – It’s free time to be spontaneous, for exploring, playing, imagining and creating.
It doesn’t have to cost anything to get out either. Near us we have some old and current reservoirs which are great for a walk and the wildlife is fascinating. Search your local council or water authority online for ideas.
There are some fantastic resources as well on the Project Wild Thing website – which you can find here
Do you love to get outside with your family?