I feel very lucky that as a child I was encouraged to play outside by my parents, no matter what the weather. I’ve had those times where I got so engrossed in trying to catch a stickleback fish, I got my brand new shoes so wet and muddy they were unsalvageable. I can’t say my parents were happy for the messy shoes but they definitely saw the value in the outdoors.
Every Boxing Day without fail we’d head outside for a long walk. On one I remember we got massively lost and then it threw it down… My Dad still swears he had the flu and should’ve been in bed instead, but he was definitely fine!
As an Education Officer for the Wildlife Trust I get to see children from the age of two all the way up to A-level students get out and experience the outdoors. These children come from lots of different backgrounds, some are from very urban areas and others live in villages or out in the countryside. Whilst it was easy for me as a child to enjoy and explore the outside, it’s not so easy for some of the children who visit us on our reserves. Just the other day I heard a child saying she had never played in the woods before or even picked up a stick. But that day she used lots of natural materials and helped make a fairy house, to help our resident invisible fairy helpers. Other children thrive in the outdoors, I’ve lost count the amount of times I’ve had teachers tell me they were astonished how well a child was doing during their visit, as in school they don’t listen or even take part. I’ve spoken to adults who thought that not having a large garden at home would stop their children from exploring the wonders of the outdoors.
As June is #30DaysWild, I’ve been trying even harder this month to make both myself and the visiting groups a little bit wilder, by getting out and doing some Random Acts of Wildness. Each day I try to prove that nature is lurking around every corner and how you don’t need any special equipment to Go Wild outdoors. Even in urban settings if you stop and listen you can hear the birds, or the wind swooshing through the trees. You can move a rock and discover a whole new mini beast world you didn’t even realise was under your feet. But you can’t beat getting muddy! Go hunting for worms, make a mud troll, mud hedgehog or even mud paint; it’ll all come clean in the wash! So tomorrow I think I might head over to my parents and for my Random Act of Wildness reinstate those family walks, it is meant to rain after all.
Katie T, Education Officer