Is the Wild Child at risk of becoming an endangered species? Let me clarify, by ‘wild child’ I don’t mean a child bouncing off the walls, out of control, I mean the child who loves playing out in nature, exploring the wild places. This child wouldn’t think twice about having muddy knees all day and can often be found hunting under rocks for creepy crawlies.
The times when I was free to play and explore the outdoors, creating adventures of my own are those that I remember the fondest. I’m lucky enough now to have been able to turn those great childhood memories into a career. As Woodland Classroom, I teach forest school and activities such as bushcraft and nature skills to children. It’s very rewarding and empowering, I love it. That ‘wild time’ I spent happily as a child was crucial to forming the person I am today. Many people my age and older also have similar positive childhood memories and like so many of those people, I worry about the increasing amount of time that kids today are spending in-front of the screen, glued to their ipads and tablets, playing computer games. There are some scary statistics out there. That said, I believe most people don’t need those statistics and reports to convince them of the need for a child to get quality time outdoors, we instinctively know that ‘wild time’ is good for us – it just feels right. Rewilding is an approach to managing our landscape which favours letting the wild edges in, encouraging natural processes and allowing nature to take care of itself. Quite simply, rewilding helps landscapes become wilder and also provides us with opportunities to reconnect with these wild spaces and better understand them. So, what’s to stop us rewilding our children too? We need to inspire and excite our children to get back into nature, to find that inner Wild Child again. I have written an e-book entitled ’10 Ways to Get Your Kids Off Screen & Outdoors’ which is available for FREE from our website. It’s packed full of inventive and simple ways to engage children in outdoor activities and bring nature into their lives. One of the ideas we cover in the e-book is ‘Going With The Craze’ so using ideas from whatever your kids are into to entice them to outdoor adventures. Any parent who has fought this battle may well have found themselves competing against their child’s favourite computer games, like Minecraft. We decided that, “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” So we created Wildcraft Adventure and it’s proved to be a huge hit. In Wildcraft Adventure kids get immersed in an outdoor experience that has many themes they’ll recognise from the video-gaming world but at the same time gives them a whole new challenge as they learn basic bushcraft and survival skills, use teamwork, problem-solving and their imaginations to beat the trials they’ll face along the way. Wildcraft not only gets kids outside playing games similar to those they love, but they’re getting exercise, making new friends, learning new skills and are surrounded by nature and all the positive benefits that come with it. Our thanks to James Kendall at Woodland Classroom, he will be running Wildcraft Adventures at Chirk Castle, Wrexham through the summer as well as other outdoor activities perfect for getting kids hooked on the outdoors. To get your copy of their free e-book or see their upcoming events in the area, visit www.woodlandclassroom.com