Posts Tagged With: children

Country Kids: An Evening Adventure.

This time of the year can make getting outdoors a bit difficult. It’s cold, it feels like it’s continually and constantly raining, and the evenings get dark so quickly that it’s no wonder that most people simply want to stay at home and hibernate.

However, hibernation is not an option, especially when I believe in promoting the enjoyment of the outdoors in all weathers.

I decided to try a new experience with my daughter this week. After school we headed down to a local nature reserve, called Cosmeston Lakes, in Penearth. Cosmeston Lakes was opened in 1978, and was designated as a local Nature Reserve in 2013. Visitors can explore over 100 hectares of lakes, reed beds, woodlands and meadows. It really is a fantastic place for a family exploring adventure.

We parked the car as it was just getting dark. I know the environment there very well, so I wasn’t worried about walking and exploring in the dark, and I always carry hand torches and head-torches in our kit. Cosmestion is well-known for the swans that live on the lake, and I can remember my mum and dad taking me there, as a child, on Sunday afternoons to feed the swans. It’s a great place to introduce young children to wildlife and the wild environment.

coslakepic

We trampled through the smaller parts of the forest that surround the lakes, looking for animal homes and tracks, but mainly just getting our wellies covered in mud by jumping in the puddles.

We then headed over to the bird watching hut. It’s located away from the normal public path, so that it the noise doesn’t disturb the experience of looking and listening for a huge variety of wildlife that you’re able to encounter.

Then, after a quick bite to eat we sat cuddled together on the benches and just listened. We could hear the geese flying around and making their calling noises, we heard splashes in the water from other nocturnal birds and animals swimming around. There were little tweets from the dozens of birds that live in the area, rustlings in the surrounding trees, and the best sounds were from distant owls, hooting messages to each other.

It was so relaxing just to sit and take time out to listen. Every time my daughter heard a new sound, her face would light up with excitement and she would point and twist her body around to try to get a better position to hear the noises. It was a great experience.

As it started to get colder, we headed back through the forest, squelching in the mud and making ghost noises to try to scare the whits out of each other.

PicMonkey Collage

It really was a fantastic experience for my daughter. It would have been so easy to say we couldn’t go out because of the weather and the darkness, but we made the effort and we had a fantastic time.

It really doesn’t matter when you try to venture outdoors, as long as you do it within safe guidelines and within your own capabilities and experience. I really would recommend trying to get outdoors at twighlight. It doesn’t even have to be at a nature reserve, because simply going out in your garden and exploring with torches would be just as exciting……. especially for little ones.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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Fresh Air Kids

 Finally, I went to watch the documentary ‘Project Wild Thing’. Since I saw the trailer, I knew that I wanted, (and needed), to see this film. I wasn’t disappointed.

projectwildthing

This documentary is the positive promotion of children being in the outdoors. But it isn’t done in an ‘in your face’ kind of way. The information is very balanced, and the first part of the film is David Bond observing how even his own children choose TV and computers rather than the outdoors.

However, as much as this film gives us some contradictory, light-hearted moments that you would expect when children are in a film, it does illustrate some hard and quite scary facts. Our children are the first in history to have a lower life expectancy than their parents…… how incredibly sad is that??? This statement made me sigh with sadness and despair.

Within my job, I get to see both the immediate, and long-term positive effect that being in the outdoors has on children. We give children the chance to BE children. I have taken teenagers to the beach for the first time in their lives, with one young person asking me ‘how much does it cost to go in the water’. I see the joy from a five-year-old who lives in the city being told he can get jump in the muddiest puddle in the forest because he has wellies and waterproofs on, so it really doesn’t matter how mucky he gets.

I am lucky to be able to share these experiences with the children that we deliver these activities to. I see the benefits, on a daily basis, of the “outdoor experience”. 

 So, as much as this film made me ponder some difficult questions, I am going to take the positives from it. Children who regularly get the chance to be in the outdoors, benefit from improved health, reduction of stress and boosted well-being.  These children also experience joy, happiness and a better mixing with their peers. They also realise the value of spending quality time with their families.  I really could go on and on about this but I don’t want to portray myself as “preachy”.

If you get the chance to watch this film, please do. All the information is on the “Project Wild Thing” website. It gives some great information about where you can find activities, depending on how much time you have.  It’s a film that makes the viewer think…….. about our own past as kids, about our childrens’ ability to feel a truly natural awareness of present-day life, and perhaps how we could enhance their future…. for the better.

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