Going Wild in the city at the Natural History Museum

We had a wild time at the Natural History Museum in London yesterday launching our newest book “The Wild City Book”.  Thank you so much for everyone who came, supported us and had great fun being wildly creative.  Just look at all the fabulous flying creatures, butterflies and even flying dinosaurs they created.nhm launch wild city-25

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nhm launch wild city-18If you missed us and want to join in the fun, why not try making your own flying creature this weekend as a “screenfree” challenge.  Send us a  photo or tweet using #screenfree and #wildtime for a chance to win a signed copy our new book “The Wild City Book”!

Go Wild for National Children’s Day – swop screentime for wild time

wild city book coverCome and meet us, get a signed copy full of wild ideas of things to do if you live in a town or city and have a go at making some flying creatures from natural materials at Blackwell’s children’s department on Monday 5th May 1pm-4pm to launch our new book THE WILD CITY BOOK: Loads of things to do outdoors in towns and cities

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Will you make a butterfly, a dragon, a bat or a Flutterby, a Butterbat, or a Dragofly?!Bats-1


All free.  All welcome. Let’s go Wild!

Going Wild at Hay

Going Wild Hay festival-13We had great fun running a workshop at the Hay Festival last Saturday.  Working with a bunch of wildly creative individuals we discovered (hardly surprisingly) that the best stories are often created by the children not the adults!

Everyone let their imaginations run wild and using a few natural materials made happy heros, face sucking aliens, acorn eating slugs, princesses with magic potions and baddies with rocket launchers disguised as pine cones!  Going Wild Hay festival-3


They then equipped them with a boat so they could set off from Hay on the river Wye to explore foreign lands, got to parties, and discover other adventurous places.

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The paddling pool came in handy to test buoyancy; some of the boats needed a little extra flotation so as to avoid sinking at the first stage of their journeys!

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Kids survive wild weather at The Wild Weather Book launch!

Despite the freezing temperatures brave souls ventured out to Camley Street Nature reserve at Kings Cross in London on Sunday.  We all had a great time making boats from natural materials and floating them across the ponds.  Luckily everyone came prepared and were dressed for the weather illustrating theboats wild weather launch-16boats wild weather launch-25








philosophy behind the book that it is possible to have fun outdoors even when the temptation may be to stay inside in the warm.  Here are a few pictures to prove it!boats wild weather launch-74

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This Easter holidays, no need to plan entertainment. Un-plug the screens and give the kids the opportunity to run wild!

natural shelter-7One of my best memories of childhood was the wonderful feeling I got at the beginning of the school holidays.  The prospect of weeks of endless long lazy days spreading ahead with absolutely nothing to do!  The excitement of the un-known, of where the natural world would take me and what adventures were out there just waiting to be had.  It is a feeling I have never forgotten and a gift I have tried to give my own children.  It is also one of the main reasons I starting writing our series of books with Fiona to encourage more children to get outside and have fun.

But sadly in this modern age few children get to experience this feeling, the hours of fun had exploring outdoors, nature, of big open and un-spoilt places; the euphoric feeling of freedom!  Let’s face it few of us have endless free time to spare, or live in an idyllic places where there is no traffic and are prepared to let the children run wild.  Time has a habit of whizzing by being filled up with work commitments and organized activities and unless we actually make a conscious effort to get out with our children, to slow things down, go with the flow and let things happen; opportunities for making those childhood memories will have passed.

But it may be news to you that actually it isn’t that hard to give them at least a little taste of the magic I experienced as a child.  The key is to find a safe environment and under your watchful eye, leave them to their own devices. Now this doesn’t have to be somewhere far away, up a mountain, or in the depth of the countryside.  Your garden or local park can feel big and wild to a small child. It is the freedom that children need, the freedom to play, to be in control (or at least feel they are), to make their own choices and judge risks for themselves.

Holidays are very precious and time even more so.  To guarantee success many parents fear they need to plan, go somewhere different everyday and pack exciting entertainment into their “quality time”.   But it may surprise many that these fears are very often unfounded.  Given the gift of freedom, and the chance to roam safely, many children will not be bored for long.  The outdoors will quickly weave it’s magic on them and in no time children will be entertaining themselves, making dens, concocting mud pies, collecting sticks and experiencing that magic of freedom I so enjoyed as a child.  And it’s good for the Parents too, they can just relax. No time deadlines, no transport issues, no mess to clear up in-doors, and the best bit is nature is totally free.  The only downside perhaps is the washing machine may need to work overtime!

mud sculptures 21And what about the weather I hear you cry?  This is the UK, the odds are the rain will stop play and everyone ends up indoors in front of a screen so you might as well not bother.  My answer to this is that part of the adventure is to experience all weathers.  Many of the most fun times we have had outdoors as a family have been in rather extreme weather!  If you don’t believe me try it out, put a copy of our new book in your pocket and set out for an adventure.  “The Wild Weather book” is packed full of things you stand to miss out on if you stay indoors when it is raining, windy or freezing cold!  Make your own kite, race homemade boats, or simply have fun puddle jumping.  As long as you dress for the weather and have a lovely warm place to return to, you won’t regret it, memories like these are priceless.

The Wild Weather book was published by Frances Lincoln this March.  Just in time for Easter fun! http://www.franceslincoln.co.uk/en/C/0/Book/5059/The_Wild_Weather_Book.html

Come along to our launch at Camley Street Nature Park, Kings Cross, London this Sunday 11.00 – 3.00pm.  Lots of wild weather activities and free entry, or better still forget coming and let the kids run wild instead!

Come along to “The Wild Weather Book” launch near Kings Cross

We will be at Camley Steet Natural Park on Sunday 24th march from 11.00am-3.00pm. Come along and have a wild time, making little boats, pond dipping and learning about frogs!

We will of course be there introducing and signing copies of our new book “The Wild Weather Book” which gives loads of suggestions of fun things to do outdoors on the many occasions when the sun in not shining and you may be tempted to stay inside!

Totem Poles in Walthamstow

We spent a rather grim rainy afternoon with a special bunch of children from Walthamstow in London last week.  But no one seemed to notice the rain and they let their imaginations run wild! They created mini world habitats that I wouldn’t have minded living in and glorious totem poles as illustrated here where the sun always shone!

Wild worlds

BBOWT (Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire wildlife trust) staff had fun today making worlds for wild imaginary creatures.  Whole eco-systems complete with prey and predators were created with fantastic stories to go with them.