We believe outdoor play is really important.
When you think back to your own childhood, chances are some of your best memories involve climbing trees, building dens, dams or forts and creating your own adventures in the woods.
Remember the excitement you felt when you caught a glimpse of a kingfisher darting along the river bank, watched tadpoles gradually growing into frogs or discovered egg shells in the wood and knew that it meant that somewhere a nest of chicks had hatched.
American author Richard Louv believes that that today’s kids are suffering from what he calls ‘nature deficit disorder’ – a lack of connection with the great outdoors. His bestselling book, Last Child in the Forest explores what happens to both individuals and society when children do not develop that bond with the natural world created by outdoor play.
Here in the UK, the National Trust has found that kids today spend 60% less time outdoors than their parents did – a big difference in a generation! They want to help people reconnect with the nature, so they’ve recently launched a campaign called Outdoor Nation, which aims to get families out experiencing our glorious countryside as much as possible.
As we’re lucky enough to have our own woodland right here, we set up our Wild Kids Cornwall Club to help families get the most out of it during their stay.
If you’re looking for things you can do outdoors at home, here are a few suggestions:
Our top 10 outdoor activities
- Practise your den-building skills in your local wood.
- Challenge your kids to spot as many different creepy-crawlies as they can (the classic Michelin I-Spy books are great for this!)
- Lie down in the grass in your garden or local park/field and watch the clouds drift by and see what you can spot (an elephant, a swan, or one that looks like dad…)
- Go pond-dipping. All you need is a net and a couple of old jam jars.
- Play pooh sticks or make boats out of twigs, leaves and grass and see whose makes it to the finish line first!
- Have a big family day out – play rounders, cricket or even just tag, followed by a good old-fashioned picnic (lashings of ginger beer optional).
- Go camping. If you haven’t got time to go away, children love camping out in the garden.
- Kids love taking photos (buy them cheap disposable cameras if you’re worried about yours getting lost or damaged) and get them to take pictures of whatever inspires them outdoors.
- Plant some seeds and watch them grow. If you don’t have a garden, you can do this just as easily with a window box.
- Go on a National Trust Activity day. Choose from a variety of fun, family-orientated events outdoors, including bush craft, deer spotting and nest-box building. Go to www.nationaltrust.org and click on ‘events’ to find out what’s happening in your local area.Be warned – you may get muddy. Have fun!