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

jo schofield and Fiona danks_






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!

Weekend “screen free” challenge No 15 – Make a rain shadow

This weekend the weather forecast is for rain showers.  The perfect weather for this weeks “screen free” challenge, making a rain shadow.  Remember we are not talking about going on a total screen ban,  just try putting down those screens for an hour or so  on Saturday and Sunday and rush outside for an exciting outdoor adventure.  Given freedom to enjoy time outside, children learn new skills, find out about judging risk, and become healthier.  Young people equally at ease with technology and nature will be better equipped for life.

Rain Shadows-2

Before it rains, lay a large plastic sheet over a patio or the pavement.  Run outside when the rain starts; remove the sheet and lie down. Jump up and photograph your rain shadow.

Try and make them as amusing as you can and then post your images on twitter using the #screenfree and #goingwildnet for a chance to win a signed copy of one of our books.

Can you trick the birds, make a nest so good a bird may like to lay its eggs in it? Easter holiday “screenfree” challenge no 14

Do you think these are real eggs or chocolate ones?  Connie made this nest; I think she tricked us and maybe even the birds!

birds nest 2Can you make one like it?  A bird would want a strong frame made from bendy twigs.  They would like it lined with a comfy mattress, such as springy green moss, and perhaps a soft feather pillow.

You could hide your nests in the garden or park to make a chocolate egg hunt with a difference!

Email or tweet a photo of your nests using #screenfree or #goingwildnet for a chance of winning a signed copy of one of our books full of loads of other fun outdoor adventures.

Make your own Egg smashing Easter Egg treasure hunt! Easter holiday “screenfree” challenge no 13 –

More egg smashing fun! Can you make an Easter egg treasure hunt for your friends?

  • The first and perhaps the most fun thing is to blow your eggs.  You will need as many eggs as you want clues.  Make a small hole in the top and bottom of the egg and blow gently over a bowl; you should catch the contents and be able to make an omelet for lunch.
  • egg hunt-5egg hunt-6 egg hunt-3 egg hunt-2Next work out where you want to make your trail.  Start at the end and work in reverse order hiding the treasure (chocolate eggs, yum yum??) first.



  • Walk a little way, get one of your blown eggs, write a clue on a tiny piece of paper for where you have just hidden your treasure.  Roll the paper tightly and push it through one of the holes .  The only way to get the clue out and read it now is to smash it!  Now hide this egg.
  • Walk on and do the same with another egg but this time the clue should lead them to the spot where you hid the last egg.



  • Go on laying clues inside eggs until the beginning and write a clue to give to your friends or family.


  • They then rush around, reading the clues, guessing where to find the next clue and having fun smashing eggs on heads on route!

If you send us a photo or tweet using hash tags #screenfree and #goingwildnet you may win a signed copy of one of our books!

Easter holidays “screenfree” challenge no 12 – Colour those eggs!

Here is one of several “screenfree” activities to try over the Easter holidays.

If there are any eggs left after you’ve done your egg rolling, have fun drawing patterns on them using wax crayons.  Next soak them overnight in a mixture of diluted vinegar and food colouring.  In the morning you should have a beautiful collection like this.

egg huntIf you are worried about them breaking, try hard boiling them first, or make a small hole in the top and bottom of the egg and blow hard (remembering to put a bowl underneath first!) to remove all the contents. These beautiful blown eggs can be used for mobiles or treasure hunts; keep an eye on this website for tips on these things in more challenges soon!

Remember, if you send us a photo of your extremely eggy eggs you may win a signed copy of one of our books.  If you tweetm, use the hash tags #screenfree and #goingwildnet

School found stop saying “no” and removing playground rules had huge benefits!

A school in Auckland NewZealand took part in a University study looking at Play with the aim to try and cut down bullying and tackle obesity.  Instead of saying “no” they removed all the rules and children were aloud to go where they liked and do what they liked, including climbing trees, skate boarding, mud slides and activities previously banned.  http://ab.co/1myJYqX

They gave the the children old tyres and bits of old equipment and left them to their own devices. Bullying was reduced, but also the ‘Kids are not only totally engaged and enjoying themselves but actually doing lots of learning as well,’ says the school principal Bruce McLachlan.

newzealand schoolAmazingly this new approach hasn’t meant that the playground has turned into a scene from Lord of the Flies either. ‘Kids don’t go out to purposely hurt themselves – they manage their own risk.’

Bruce McLachlan says getting hurt is part of growing up but the number of reported injuries has decreased at the school because the children dealt with small injuries and problems themselves because they didn’t want to interrupt their play!

And what if they were covered in mud?  Well they weren’t told “no” don’t get muddy, they were just told, don’t expect to come into class filthy.  Make sure you stop play time early enough to get cleaned up before lessons start!