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.
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.
Does outdoor play make children smarter? Apparently it’s official, a growing body of research shows mucking about outdoors actually means children do better in school! look at this article…..
Take a look at this new book “The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age” by, Catherine Steiner-Adair EdD.
Catherine Steiner-Adair clinical instructor in the department of psychiatry at Harvard, a school consultant, and a therapist in private practice, interviewed over a thousand children between the ages of 4 and 18 looking at how technology was effecting their relationships and their social and emotional lives. Hardly surprisingly she found that the amount of screen time was detrimental to childhood development; and because of their parents’ obsession with their devices children were having to compete for their parents attention, harming communication and even fracturing families. In an interview with the Huffington post she suggests 8 important things all parents should know about “screen time”. Take a look, very few of us have escaped completely and even we are a little guilty of some of these!
But the solution is simple, if you are guilty of disconnecting, help your family re-connect by making a conscious effort to go outside and have some fun in the natural world at least once a week. If you are short of ideas for outdoor adventures, buy one of our books or have a go at our weekend “challenges”.
Every Friday we will post a simple idea for a fun activities you can have a go at that weekend. It’s not a “screen” ban, just an opportunity to have some fun outdoors with your children for a couple of hours every week. Have a go and post some of your adventures on twitter with #screenfree and #goingwildnet for others to share and a chance to win a signed copy of one of our books.
Jared Diamond looks at the developed worlds’ increasing disconnection with the natural world and suggests we should learn valuable life lessons from traditional cultures.
Lessons such as making sure we understand and respect the environment and parenting skills where children are given the freedom to explore and get their own perspective on risk. One example he sites is of African Pygmies; “If a child plays with a sharp knife and waves it around, so be it. They will cut themselves on some occasions, but society figures it is better for the child to learn the hard way early in life. They are allowed to make their own choices and follow their own interests.” We believe this makes a lot of sense; it is vital we give our children real world adventures if we want them to develop into to balanced individuals that are able to think for themselves and make informed choices.
But do you have to go as far as giving a toddler a knife? A much less scary and simple approach in our opinion would be to start by making sure all our children have plenty of opportunities to immerse themselves in the natural world and have the freedom to just play!
If you need some inspiration, have a look at our new book “The Wild Weather Book” (published in March), which gives loads of fun practical suggestions on how to have fun outdoors when the weather is cold, wet or windy and you might be tempted to just stay indoors!
So why are you still sitting infront your computer reading this? Equip your children with the survival skills they are going to need. Tog up warm, put on those wellies and head out for some fun. Who knows you may also go a little way in ensuring the planet’s survival too!