Can you roll or catch an egg without it breaking? – Easter holidays “Screen free” challenge No 11

South Oxfordshire-20140331-00033C

Easter “Screenfree” challenge no 11 – Challenge your friends and family to an egg rolling or egg catching competition 

Out for an evening walk to enjoy the increased evening light we came across a group of cub scouts throwing painted hard-boiled eggs down the hill.  Some eggs broke quickly (much to the delight of the red kites which swarmed down to gobble them up!) and others seemed to survive throw after throw.  Much fun being had by all; it felt like the beginning of summer.

How about upping the stakes this Easter?  Why not roll eggs that haven’t been hard boiled?  Or play a game of egg catch.  Can you catch that egg without it breaking?!

Be a little Angel! Going Wild Weekend “screenfree” challenge no 10

Esme angelIf you don’t think you can honestly be a little angel, how about being a crazy bird man or winged mythical creature?

Many thanks to Esme who sent us this picture and I’m sure you will agree; looks absolutely angelic.

If you e-mail us a picture of your creations this weekend or tweet a photo using #screenfree you may be the lucky winner of a signed copy of one of our books.



Children are born with instinct to take risks in play

Research by Sandseter in Norwegian playgrounds have shown children have an evolutionary sensory need to taste danger in play.  Have a look at this “wild playground”

where children are encouraged to play with all the things parents would consider too risky.  If a 10 year old lit a fire in and American playground someone would call the police and then take the child for councelling.  In “Land” a playground in Wales; playing with fire is positively encouraged.  The research by Sandseter suggests children need 6 types of play.

(1) Exploring heights, or getting the “bird’s perspective,” as she calls it—“high enough to evoke the sensation of fear.” (2) Handling dangerous tools—using sharp scissors or knives, or heavy hammers that at first seem unmanageable but that kids learn to master. (3) Being near dangerous elements—playing near vast bodies of water, or near a fire, so kids are aware that there is danger nearby. (4) Rough-and-tumble play—wrestling, play-fighting—so kids learn to negotiate aggression and cooperation. (5) Speed—cycling or skiing at a pace that feels too fast. (6) Exploring on one’s own.

This last one Sandseter describes as “the most important for the children when they are left alone and can take full responsibility for their actions, and the consequences of their decisions, it’s a thrilling experience.”

If we don’t let our children play riskily then they will seek the thrills elsewhere. Something for all of us to think about!

Weekend screen free challenge no 9 – Beat my spring flower scavenger hunt score!

The sun is out and it has finally stopped raining!  This weekend should be the perfect time to get out for a few hours and do a screenfree challenge so why not go on a spring flower scavenger hunt.  Actually this is a slight cheat as the challenge is really to get outside as you may need a screen to do this challenge!

This was how my local churchyard looked this morning.IMG_20140314_115524

Go out to the park, woods church yard or garden and see how many different flowers have decided to pop up their heads while it was raining and we weren’t looking!  I took my phone out with me and took a photo of every new flower I found so I could check I hadn’t already seen it and couldn’t cheat while counting!

My score was 24, and I think I may try and add to that tomorrow by going on another walk somewhere completely different.  Can anyone beat my score? Tweet #screenfree or send us a message here if you do and you may win a signed copy of one of our books. No cheating we want photographic evidence!!IMG_20140314_115356

Save the Wildlife Garden at London’s Natural History Museum

The Civic Realm Design Competition to re-design the outside spaces around London’s Natural History Museum, puts the magical wild garden at risk as most of the finalists’ designs plan to get rid of or re-plant the existing garden.  This will be a travesty as in our view it is one of London’s best kept wildlife secrets.  Here children and families can experience a truly “wild” garden surrounded by the city without travelling miles to the countryside or wilderness and it featured in our latest book, The Wild City Book!

1 discovering wild places-19 If destroyed or re-planted this amazing place will be lost forever, why start from scratch when there already is a well established area of woodland, meadow, pond and wetland habitats?  Since 1995 over 2000 species have been recorded, a remarkable number and not easily replaced unless you wait another 100 years!   We must not forget “Nature” is the best designer of all time and this garden has been lovingly nurtured so wildlife and humans can co-exist in harmony in the city. We think the public is un-aware that one of London’s natural treasures may be lost so we are asking everyone who believes in protecting these special spaces for future generations to write, e-mail or tweets to the jury who will be making the final decision.

Ian Henderson CBE (Chair) – Deputy Chairman of Capco (Capital & Counties Properties plc) and Chair of Natural History Museum Estates and Building Advisory Committee

Abbas Barkhordar – Councillor for the Brompton Ward

Michael Portillo – Journalist, Broadcaster and former Cabinet Minister

Graham Morrison – Partner, Allies and Morrison

Sophie Andreae – Former Head of London Division of English Heritage and Chairperson of the Brompton Association

Dr Derek Langslow CBE – Former Chief Executive of English Nature and Natural History Museum Trustee

Professor Ian Owens – Director of Science at the Natural History Museum

Kevin Rellis – Head of Estates at the Natural History Museum

Dr Justin Morris – Director of Public Engagement at the Natural History Museum

Malcolm Reading (Adviser) – Chairman, Malcolm Reading Consultants

twitter @malcolmreading

Dr Michael Dixon, Director of the Natural History Museum




“Screen Free” weekend challenge No 8 – Make a mud castle!

With all the rain around at the moment there seems to be mud everywhere! And mud is the perfect material for this week’s Going Wild “screen free” weekend challenge – Make a mud castle.  No rules; it could be a palace for a mud sprite or a dungeon for a mud monster.  We want to see turrets, moats, bridges, balustrades anything that will make it magnificent!


Find the biggest patch of muddiest mud you can find, but  don’t start digging up the precious flowers that don’t look much at this time of year, or the bulbs that are desperately trying to poke their heads out of the soil, otherwise you’ll be in deep trouble.

Check your mud patch is a suitable spot for a castle, test the mud’s building consistency and get stuck in….don’t forget to tweet photos of your fantastic constructions with the #screenfree and #goingwildnet for the chance to win a signed copy of a Going Wild book.