Mamma's School

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Category: Parenting (Page 1 of 4)

Hiking with Kids and Tips for Surviving It!

Hiking with kids is exhausting, but mainly in the run up to it. Once you get out there with your little tribe, it is so worth all the effort to get your family ready to hit the trails ūüôā I know only too well the effort it takes getting small people ready to go outside, especially during a Swedish winter.¬† I have a blog post dedicated to the whys and wherefores, joys and frustrations over at this link http://mammasschool.co.uk/parenting/we-are-going-out-in-quite-a-while/¬†Today I want to talk more about why it is so good for families to get out there and go hiking with kids, and offer some handy tips for making it more enjoyable.¬† In the future I will be writing more about how we prepare and the logistics of what we take.¬† First off, as the parent, you need to stay motivated and focus on the end goal of getting out there, knowing that everyone will be happier, have a great adventure together, and be immersed in nature.¬† To motivate everyone else through that door you need to be motivated!¬† I also try and let my trio experience a range of weather conditions (within reason!).¬† I am careful not to make hiking a sunny day only activity, as with the right clothing, fun can be had in most weathers.¬† Want to know about why it is so good hiking with kids and tips to make it great for everyone?¬† Read on……

Why Go Hiking with Kids?

  1.  They need to be in the great outdoors.  It is good for their development, self esteem, and makes them healthier.
  2. They need exposure to nature and wildlife.¬† Their enjoyment of nature will help protect it in the future.¬† If they have experienced it and been immersed in it, they are more likely to want to nurture and conserve it in future…you are investing in nature’s future as well as your child’s.
  3. They are learning new skills…they climb, they run, they negotiate together, they learn to take risks more and manage those risks, as well as learning skills such as looking after themselves in the great outdoors, some basic survival skills, using a compass, and using a map.
  4. They are exercising!¬† Need I say more ūüôā
  5. Out on a hike, everyone can truly unplug, leave screens and technology behind, forget about jobs in the home, and it gives an opportunity to reconnect together as a family.
  6. Hiking is known to be a stress buster, therefore increasing happiness and decreasing stress.

Tips to Survive Hiking with Kids.

  1.  Make sure you are carrying secret, emergency bribes.  Tired little legs sometimes need encouragement of the sweet variety.  It boosts morale, provides a little energy boost and you are good to go a little further.  Some days you may not need them, but keep them with you at all times!
  2. Take some props.¬† Our favourites are compasses, torches (winter), binoculars, bug pots, and cameras.¬† This in turn can lead to little tasks to help them along the trail’s way….we also like looking for tracks, especially in the winter snow.
  3. Plan the hike a little around food and play.¬† When I take my three trolls out, we hike a while, then I plan at least an hour, more like a 1.5-2 hour stop, then hike a little more.¬† During that stop they play and I cook.¬† They climb, adventure, explore, paddle or anything else that takes their fancy.¬† I get a fire going and we all get hot morale boosting food.¬† They will tackle the second stage of the hike with renewed enthusiasm even though they’ve still been expending energy throughout the break.
  4. Pitch your hike at their level…the distance to be covered, the weather conditions, the terrain.¬† However, feel free to stretch them a little bit.¬† Just get the balance right.
  5. Have little games up your sleeve to play….I don’t mean card or board games…I mean little games using nature while you are walking.¬† Or suggest a small stop to pick berries that can then be munched on route.
  6. Allow time, lots of it, and more again.¬† There is nothing worse than trying to hurry children along, they naturally get slower doing that.¬† They need to go at their pace, and not just their walking pace.¬† Their pace of life….looking, experiencing, collecting things all along the way.
  7. Take lots of food, and lots of water to make sure you are not caught short with the essentials.¬† These 2 things can alter a child’s mood substantially when the going gets tiring!

If you like the idea of hiking with your children and as a family, there are lots of hiking websites out there for inspiration and advice.¬† I like looking at¬†https://highpeakshiking.com¬†it’s a great site for the hiking community to share experiences, tips, and inspiration ūüôā¬† I enjoy just browsing through and getting ideas or being a little nosy!¬† So go on, get planning your adventure!

Hiking with Kids and tips for surviving it, hiking children, outdoors, nature, children outdoors, www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

Our Autumn Bucket List – Getting Cosy In Autumn

I love all the seasons, and I am not sure I favour one more than the others.¬† However, when the seasons start changing and moving on, I am always ready for a change and love what the next one might bring – especially now that we live somewhere that has four distinct seasons!¬† So, now that autumn is well and truly here, we have spent the afternoon leaf rubbing in our nature journals as the background decor to our autumn bucket list – a list of everything that we would like to do during this season.¬† We’ve then made one giant list incorporating everyone’s little lists, so we can tick them off as we go.

Our Autumn bucket list ended up consisting of 34 things, and here they are:

1. Have a leaf fight

2. Catch falling leaves

3. Paint leaves

4. Kick leaves

5. Play with toys by the fire

6. Have a proper hot chocolate – with chocolate spoons, cream, and marshmallows

7. Eat warm kanelbullar (cinnamon buns)

8. Look for conkers

9. Roast pumpkin seeds

10. Roast chestnuts

11. Do nature art with leaves

12. Have a cosy afternoon in the library

13. Enjoy a season-scented bubble bath

14. Enjoy a season-scented candle

15. Sunset picnic

16. Sunrise picnic

17. Bake with apples

18. Bake with ginger

19. Carve a pumpkin

20. Count the leaf colours on a walk

21. Jump in leaves

22. Light indoor fires

23. Cosy on the sofa with stories and blankets

24. Watch a cosy autumn movie

25. Have the whole family toast marshmallows

26. Make a leaf caterpillar

27. Throw leaves

28. Autumn Camping

29. Autumn walk

30. Collect leaves

31. Make blackberry jam

32. Apple experiment

33. Sloeberry experiment

You may well be intrigued by a few of the things on the bucket list…I am!¬† But I guess that’s what you get when you ask two 5 year olds, one 9 year old, and a 41 year old what they would like to do this autumn ūüôā

Our autumn bucket list, autumn, things to do in autumn, cosy autumn, www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

Nature Therapy-Seeking Calm & Solitude

Everyone needs a bit of nature, and sometimes it’s easier said than done to get out there, but it is so important.

As my trio now go to school for the 5 mornings a week, for the first time in a lot of years, I am left with a few precious hours to call my own (all be it with a to-do list as long as my arm to work through before they all tumble back home again! ¬†Same as any Mamma). ¬†Nature has been my saving grace these past 9 years, even more so the last nearly 6…spot the link ūüėČ ! ¬†However, I now have the opportunity to head out into it on my own, without my band of crazies following me. ¬†Don’t get me wrong, I live for our little hikes, our outdoor cooking, and exploring nature with them, but there is only real peace to be found when they aren’t leaping around in trees or running into the sea in their undies! ¬†And I need peace as I find such a noisy house quite a bombardment on the senses. ¬†I’m relishing these moments I can now take. ¬†Sometimes I will cook, sometimes I will just make a hot drink with my beloved Kelly Kettle, but I will always admire the views.

Nature is, after all, therapy for the mind. ¬†Nature is known to induce calm and decrease stress, as well as increasing happiness. ¬†Nature is food for our minds, like food and water are for our bodies. ¬†This is because the natural environment places no demands on us, yet it remains engaging. ¬†It gets our attention in different ways. ¬†It can promote calmness and well being due to being a low stress environment. ¬†Being surrounded by nature has so many benefits, and the main one I was in search of today was the sounds of the waves. ¬†I love sitting there listening to the sea hitting the shore, whether it’s gentle lapping or crashing waves. ¬†So I packed my breakfast and cooking things and headed off around the island, stopping half way to cook my supplies and enjoy the view.

Nature can help increase our happiness levels.  The breathing in of fresh air, combined with taking exercise with a nice view, all helps to put your mind into a happier place.  Nature makes us healthier.  It increases our exposure to natural light, which in turn helps increase our vitamin D levels.  This helps prevent some health problems, but also being outdoors helps improve sleep, decreases stress, and increase energy…something I always find disappearing quickly with three children around!

Whilst I‚Äôm not naive enough to think that all of my troubles, or anyone else‚Äôs, will be washed away by a walk in nature, immersing oneself in it for a few hours certainly makes me feel more like myself. ¬†No doubt 10 minutes of them being home again will undo most of the good work, but I’m still reaping the benefits really ūüôā

Nature therapy, healing nature, calming nature, solitude nature, nature, outdoors, www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

Sticks Are The Best Toys Ever!

Sticks are great toys….they are free, abundantly available in the outdoors, and have many play possibilities and functions. ¬†Plus, children seem drawn to them like magnets ūüôā ¬†Anyone that follows us on Instagram (@mammasschool) will know that my trio are rarely seen without a bundle of sticks, or trying to drag what is more like a tree trunk along on a hike.

When playing with sticks there is an added benefit, in that they are generally to be found in the outdoors, which means they lend themselves to naturally be played with in the great outdoors.  I have many posts about the benefits of outdoor play.  They can be found in the following links:

http://mammasschool.co.uk/parenting/balanced-barefoot-importance-unrestricted-outdoor-play/

http://mammasschool.co.uk/parenting/outdoor-play-children-natures-sanity/

http://mammasschool.co.uk/parenting/healing-nature-relying-beach-work-magic/

http://mammasschool.co.uk/outdoor-adventures/wild-camping-children-sweden/

In today’s post I want to chat a little about why sticks are so important and a method of play for children.

Sticks are a “loose part” toy. ¬†That means that they have no predetermined role. ¬†It is all down to the child’s imagination and creativity as to what they become, or are used for. ¬†This is important for growth and development. ¬†They can build and construct with them, role play with them, create art with them, and even use them as writing tools. ¬†They also come in lots of shapes, sizes, colours, and textures, adding to the fun. ¬†Many parents shy away from letting children play with sticks on safety grounds. ¬†We have 3 main rules; the sticks do not touch people, you don’t hit anything with them, and lastly (but important for my sanity), they stay outdoors! ¬†Every stick they find is always “the best ever” and I’d have a house full without this rule. ¬† So, with these three little rules in place, a lot of fun can be had. ¬†They may still need a little help drawing the line if play gets a little exuberant, but instead of teaching children that nature is dangerous, we are teaching them it is fun to play in, and then they will have more of a desire to protect it as they are growing up. ¬†They are being able to integrate with nature more.

There are lots of other benefits to playing with sticks too:

It teaches the children personal space and awareness.

It allows them to build strength and muscle (some of them are quite heavy that they shift around).

It allows them to get dirty and “hands on” with nature, helping to build their immunity (a discussion for another day!).

They are allowed to explore their own environment and work out what takes on which role.

It increases stimulation and awareness for the child.

They are using both large and small motor skills.

And of course, they are doing a lot of physical activity when playing with them…all very healthy.

 

So, next time you are headed outdoors with the little people, embrace the stick play ūüôā I find it hard to not keep saying things like “be careful”, or “do you really need to carry that?”, but I try very hard and leave them to it, and generally it all works out OK. ¬†They’ve had a lot of fun, they’ve learnt a lot through play, and I am more relaxed because there have been less arguments as we’ve all been outdoors (even if I was tripping over someone’s log being dragged on the hike!!).

 

sticks, play with sticks, stick toys, outdoor play, nature play, www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

Imaginative Play – Let Them Learn Their Way.

So, it is Wednesday morning in our home, our little lady has trotted up the road to school, and it’s me and the boys home alone. ¬†Usually, after I have sorted the washing (I swear there are people living in secret with us, the amount of socks that come out!), and done some housework, it is time for a little more formal literacy and maths with the mini men. ¬†However, by the time I got to them this morning, there was a mountain climbing, chicken healing, spider man requiring mission in full swing! ¬†It took me all of 1 second to decide to ditch the workbooks in favour of this imaginative play game. ¬†Why? ¬†Am I being lazy? ¬†Am I shirking my responsibilities to keep up their English language skills living in a foreign country? ¬†No, I am letting them learn the best way possible, their own way. But as an added bonus, what mummy won’t take the opportunity of calm to get things done ;-). ¬†One of the many reasons we uprooted the family to Sweden was to embrace and be part of their culture of letting children be children, and the importance they place on child’s play.

There was a great deal of planning involved in this game, which in itself is an important life skill to learn.  Outfits had to be chosen, and today it was necessary to be wearing football shin pads and ballet shoes.  Food and drink were required, so paper sausages and drinks bottles made from paper and old bottle tops.  Torches (push up ice cream bases), light sabres (toy screwdriver handles), rope (old string), and homemade telephones were all packed, and they headed off into the wilderness (our upstairs!).  The baddies were in our room, whilst the nursing and feeding of a poorly chicken took place in the spare room.  Extra superhero powers were required in the form of spider man.  For three hours this game was played, changed, and progressed, and the whole time they were busy learning some very important things.

So what has this session, like any other of imaginative play, been teaching them apart from planning? ¬†It has taught them a variety of skills, the first one today being dressing themselves (not necessarily to my taste!!). ¬†They have sorted their own outfits as were required, they have done their own undressing and dressing to accommodate the story line. ¬†They have made hundreds of decisions throughout the morning, developing their decision making skills, but this has also had a big impact on increasing their social skills at the same time. ¬†There has been A LOT of co-operation (trust me we are not the perfect family, they hit and kick each other out of frustration at times too and scream at each other, but today they learnt the benefit of staying calm and using words to communicate so the game was enjoyed…it was just a really good morning for them today). ¬†There has also been sharing, negotiations that would be fit for running a country, taking turns, and a lot of self restraint from the pair of them. ¬†Very often they can be quick to lose their self restraint, and it’s hard being a twin in each others pockets all the time, but when they can hold it, and see the benefits, it reinforces that it is a beneficial way to behave. ¬†Imaginative play, by nature, is role play or acting out some sort of experience. ¬†This is the way little people are able to make sense of the big bad world around them.

During imaginative play there is a lot of emotional development occurring, as it is a very safe place and time to express their feelings, and try and sort them out. ¬†Their thoughts, feelings, wishes, and fears can all be processed through their play. ¬†As was shown in today’s game, they can learn about empathy and caring too. ¬†Their self esteem can increase because they can be ANYTHING they want to be, there is nothing holding them back, anything goes ūüôā I might have given the formal literacy a miss but they have been busy developing their communication skills, both verbally and non verbally. ¬†During imaginative play they can experiment and mistakes don’t matter, but are there to still be learnt from.

So next time you feel guilty about leaving your little ones to play while you sneak a peaceful 5 minutes, or more realistically work through your “to do” list, DON’T! ¬†They don’t need our grown up interaction all of the time. ¬†Their own imaginative play without us is just as important to their development. ¬†Sometimes, their games may require you as part of them, but be careful you leave all your grown up ideas at the door to the room…this is their game and it is played their way!

Imaginative play-Let them Play their way, play important, role play, www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

Dear Bear and Beany

Healing Nature – Relying on the Beach to Work its Magic!

The past few days have seen a dramatic increase in the amount of squabbling, arguing, and whinging going on in our home. ¬†We were in need of some emergency healing nature power! ¬†I was getting close to the end of my tether with my trio. ¬†I’d seen everything over the last few days. ¬†We had death stares and grumbles from the little lady because someone dared to choose the same cereal to eat as her! ¬†I’d seen breakdowns over someone wanting the same jam on their toast as someone else. ¬†There had been fighting over who was taking what to lay the table. ¬†Twin 1 had been hiding twin 2’s outdoor clothing during the mad morning dash to get out the house, resulting in a distraught, not ready twin 2. ¬†Twin 1 had also been pushing twin 2 over into the door. ¬†The list just goes on…..I was coming down stairs in the morning, and my first words for the past few days to my children had been cross and frustrated ones. ¬†To say I was exasperated is an understatement! ¬†So we packed the car and headed off for an afternoon of that well known remedy….healing nature.

Being surrounded by nature has so many benefits, and the main one I was in search of today was the gentle lapping sounds of the waves (hopefully I’d be able to hear them over the bickering!). ¬†This sound instantly de-stresses me, lowers my heart rate, and I find my lost patience again. ¬†Nature is a well known regulator of stress, so it’s a very valid reason to seek it out in times like this. ¬†However, the benefits would not just be mine. ¬†Nature play is known to resolve conflict and encourage team work….well, hello….if there was anything these three needed reminding of, it was that they liked each other, could enjoy each other, and play together! ¬†They could also do with a little de-stressing too! ¬†There are so many other benefits of nature play that I have written about already, http://mammasschool.co.uk/parenting/outdoor-play-children-natures-sanity/¬†but for today and our current situation, these were my main aims.

The children settled into their play fast, while I lit a fire and prepared some food, breathing a sigh of relief as I listened to their happy chatter.  All three worked in pairs at some point, in varying combinations.  Our little lady was engrossed in making a complex river and dam construction from redirecting the sea.  Lots of learning thrown in to her afternoon, while the boys mainly busied themselves building castles and moats, and using their dumper trucks to transport construction sand.  The food was well received in a opportunistic break from play, but they hurried back once it was scoffed down.  I sat back and watched them play, and enjoyed them in that moment, after a painful few days.  My plan had worked!

We headed back to the car after over three hours chilling on the beach, nature having worked its magic while we were all immersed in it. ¬†As they clambered back in, the bickering started up again over the seat belts and who was in whose way!! ¬†Well, all good things must come to an end I guess, but at least my patience fuel tanks were topped up again to deal with it all and we’d had a lovely few positive hours!! ¬†However, I can see the wine tank in the fridge being a little more depleted later, and thank goodness we’ve just had Easter so the chocolate supply is high ūüėČ

healing nature - relying on the beach to work its magic, restorative nature, nature play, outdoor play, benefits of nature www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

 

Country Kids

Taking a Blogging Break After a Year

I have now been blogging for just over a year, and posting 6 days out of 7 during this time.  I feel it is time for a little blogging break!  Not long, but just enough to recharge some batteries.  Just a little week off to enjoy my not so little family even more, and relax with them (well, as much as a Mamma can with three busy children!).

Our little lady has one week off school for Easter. ¬†Don’t feel too sad for her though, as she is then only back for around 8 weeks before having nearly 10 weeks off for the summer. ¬†There are quite a few, what the Swedish call “red days” in those 8 weeks too. ¬†These are like bank holidays, except they aren’t necessarily on a Monday or a Friday. ¬†She will finish the week before midsummer’s which is a huge celebration here, and then everyone spends summer relaxing and being on holiday ūüôā ¬†So, as you can see, one week at Easter, in the bigger picture, isn’t a great shame. ¬†They get their priorities right, allowing the children to enjoy a very long, relaxing summer, when the weather is at its best! ¬†I therefore thought, this might be a good time to take a little blogging break.


The time I have been blogging has been a time of great change and adjustment too for all of us. ¬†First of all stopping conventional schooling in the UK (the reason for starting the blog), and then through an international move and settling into a new country. ¬†I feel it is time to take stock, switch off, and relax for the one week my little lady is with us 24/7….let’s face it, she is still mainly with us during a school week too!
I will return the Monday after Easter, letting you all know how our Swedish Easter went, how we celebrated, and what we did (we have a few plans up our sleeves!!). ¬†I have been busy sorting the children their Swedish Easter supplies out!! ¬†Make sure you keep an eye on Mamma’s School Facebook page, Instagram, and Twitter as we will still be lurking there. ¬†Otherwise I will see you after Easter, with lots of tales of what we have been up to! ¬†Hope you all have a very Happy Easter, with lots of sunshine, chocolate eggs, and relaxing with your families xxxxx

Taking a blogging break, having a break, holiday, rest www.mammasschool.co.uk

Play Is Learning-Let Them Play!

“Play is the highest form of research.”

(Albert Einstein)

As parents, we are under pressure (both from ourselves and society) to ensure that our children do not miss out on anything, and succeed in everything. ¬†Consequently, this has led to the normality of scheduling our children’s days, quite often, from the moment they wake, until the moment they collapse into bed. ¬†The activity that loses out in all this way of living, is play. ¬†Simple, free, and unstructured. ¬†As parents, we like to know that our children are doing well, succeeding, and see progress. ¬†It validates that we are doing a good job, our children are being given opportunities, and as parents we are being proactive and encouraging. ¬†But what if we have got this all wrong, and have gotten swept away with the notion that this is what our children need? ¬†What if I told you life could be a lot more simple, cheaper, and less stressful for everyone. ¬†After all, those activities all cost money, parental time in taxi driving and support, and a lot of hurrying up in the process to get everywhere. ¬†I’m going to go through the evidence now of why we should let them play, and more importantly, why play IS learning, and we should just trust the process more.

Children are not designed to be sitting still in confined spaces, and they often learn a lot better while they are moving. ¬†As grown ups we need to think outside the box more, and view any play space as a learning potential space. ¬†Play can happen anywhere, and so that means learning can¬†happen everywhere. ¬†One of the big things about play is that there are no rules to follow or curriculum, the child can just follow their interests. ¬†Then there is much more motivation to carry on with the subject, and they are more receptive to the learning opportunities. ¬†For the older ones, there are no negative associations with play. ¬†It’s not school “work” or home “work”, so they are a lot happier. ¬†If something is fun, a lot more is being absorbed and taken on board.

Art, craft, and creating is an especially positive form of play for children. ¬†It has been shown to make their brains grow, and provide an environment for creativity and the expression of feelings. ¬†However, this needs to be child led and unstructured. ¬†Leave the supplies out and let them get on with it. ¬†Letting the child lead in all types of play is the key to getting the best learning from the experience of play. ¬†Children are always experimenting in their play as well, with various objects and solutions. ¬†They measure, they pour, and they make various potions and solutions. ¬†This is them naturally doing science as play, and it really does work. ¬†I found my daughter once in the bathroom, surrounded by bubbles and her younger twin brothers, blowing different solutions through different shapes, having a blast learning what worked and what didn’t work. ¬†Not only was she learning, but she was teaching too.

My trio love their Lego and their puzzles.  Once adults open their eyes a little more, we can understand that these toys are providing opportunity to learn about shape, size, order, and logic.  All really important skills.  We also encourage our trio to play games, such as happy families, with each other.  As well as the interaction with others they get from not using a screen, they are learning to take turns and share.

A lot of our play is in the great outdoors. ¬†This environment not only increases strength, flexibility, and coordination, but it increases the use of imagination. ¬†There are no toys with a predefined use in the middle of a forest. ¬†A stick can be a sword, a broom, or a wand ūüôā Imagination is the key factor for play to be effective. ¬†There are less boundaries, less rules, and a lot more freedom for them to explore in the outdoors. ¬†It encourages the use of natural learning tools and resources to learn.

Play is learning let them play play www.mammasschool.co.ukSo, I am going to be a little more specific with what exactly they are learning now, just in case you are still sitting on the fence about the importance of play versus practising those spellings one more time. ¬†Children are learning to problem solve and be more creative. ¬†It gives them more enthusiasm and therefore more motivation to learn. ¬†They have more curiosity stemming from a natural interest and ability to be able to follow their interests (not something grown ups have predetermined for them). ¬†It can increase their confidence levels which are required to help them engage in new experiences. ¬†They develop their concentration levels further. ¬†Nothing can interrupt some imaginative play scenario that is going on between an Octonaut and a dinosaur!! ¬†It reduces their stress levels – this one I want to just talk a little more about. ¬†Due to their fight or flight pathways being activated in play (which is the same pathway that stress activates), they get exposed to stress (in a pleasant way), which then makes them less responsive to stress, and they are able to regulate it more effectively. ¬†Just look at the amount of emotional disorders that are now present in people’s lives…….as children’s classroom/homework time has increased, along with more scheduled activities in their lives too, so has the amount of anxiety and depression disorders.

In conclusion, parents and schools need to give children more provision for play…not adult let, or guided play activities, but child led and unstructured ¬†time. ¬†We need to trust that this is better for them than more homework after a full day in the classroom. ¬†We need to trust the learning.

“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning, but for children play is serious learning. ¬†Play is really the work of childhood.”

(Fred Rogers)

Play is learning-let them play, unstructured play, play is important, play www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

 

Outdoor Play For Children and Nature’s Sanity!

Outdoor play is slowly being realised for the prominent factor that it plays in child development. ¬†However, there is still a long way to go in places, to rectify the damage that has been done in placing emphasis on conventional teaching and grades, at the expense of the children’s outdoor time. ¬†Us grown ups are very slowly coming to the realisation that we could have caused a lot more harm than good, sacrificing playground time, in the pursuit of better performance and increased knowledge base. ¬†I am here to run through the tip of the iceberg with regard to why play, and specifically outdoor play, is so important to children’s development.

First of all we need to look at the reasons why children’s outdoor play time has diminished so much. ¬†It isn’t just down to schools being under pressure to perform better, and produce improved results. ¬†There are other factors too. ¬†Rightly or wrongly, there is the perceived threat of stranger danger. ¬†A few generations ago children could explore for hours, even whole days, going quite far from their family home into areas, that as parents today, we wouldn’t let them go into alone. ¬†I am thinking of places such as forests and woods. ¬†Places that are natural playgrounds. ¬†Parents are working more hours now, and in a lot of cases it is both parents, through necessity. ¬†This leads to relying on other childcare options, instead of having a parent at home ready to supervise outdoor play. ¬†Screens are a big thing in most households too. It’s the way technology and living has gone, but have we embraced their presence so much, that it’s now impinging on children actually wanting to get out into the great outdoors? ¬†They can be a distraction to the more important job of play. ¬†Then there are all the health and safety issues that surround other people (such as schools) that look after our children. ¬†We have made them so fearful or litigation if one of our little people gets hurt, that there are now a huge amount of restrictions placed on outdoor play when it does happen.

Unfortunately, due the the factors mentioned, our children our facing a “nature deficit disorder”. ¬†This is termed a disorder because they need nature and the outdoors to develop normally and healthily. ¬†Play in the great outdoors supports development emotionally, intellectually, socially, and physically. ¬†It’s not something to be lightly dismissed. So, how is outdoor play more enriching than indoor play? ¬†Anything that can be done indoors, once taken into the great outdoors becomes more of an adventure, so naturally more fun to do, and ultimately they remember the experience more. ¬†The outdoors inspires them and challenges them to be more creative. ¬†With fewer rules, the children are freer to let their imaginations take over. ¬†They can challenge themselves more as well…..who doesn’t find climbing a tree a little thrilling and challenging (after all every tree is different). ¬†From this kind of play you then get all the advantages of taking risks (see a previous post on the advantages of children taking risks¬†http://mammasschool.co.uk/parenting/take-a-risk-explore-inside-a-tree/¬†), as well as creativity, learning to adapt to their environment, and to go at their own pace. ¬†The great outdoors provides the perfectly balanced sensory environment that at the same time has a calming effect (on the grown ups too – I am often able to cope better and be more patient outdoors with a trio who are less frustrated with each other, as there is the space to escape a situation if required). ¬†Outdoor play is also naturally more unstructured, and this in turn lends itself to more curiosity and exploration.

Exposure to outdoor play is vital for children’s health and development, and a lack of it can lead to increased emotional problems, increased health problems, and a lack of concentration. ¬†Recently, general awareness of children needing be outdoors has started to increase. ¬†However, it still needs a bit more of a push. ¬†You may or may not be aware of¬†https://outdoorclassroomday.com/. ¬†They try and help give schools that extra impetus to get outdoors for the day and experience for themselves the theory in practice. ¬†They describe it as

“Outdoor Classroom Day is a day to celebrate and inspire outdoor learning and play. On Thursday 18 May 2017, thousands of schools around the world will take lessons outside and prioritise playtime.”

So, if you are a teacher, use that day to try it out. ¬†If you are a parent, make them aware of the date and offer support to help them provide this valuable resource for your child. ¬†Visit their website for more details on the when, where, and why fores ūüôā ¬†The effort of getting the children outdoors might sometimes seem like a step too far if they put up resistance or if we as parents are tired, but the rewards once you are out there are limitless. ¬†I urge you to go for it and experience for yourself what the outdoors can do for your children, and you as parents. ¬†I don’t mean you need to climb Mt. Everest, what I do mean is children need an outdoor space to play in, and if possible, left to their own devices for a good chunk of time!

Outdoor play why children need outdoor play importance of outdoor play www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

Tiny Trolls Of Norway – There is No Such Thing As Bad Weather, Just Poor Clothing.

Tiny Trolls of Norway children's outdoor clothing www.mammasschool.co.ukTiny Trolls of Norway is a high quality children’s outdoor clothing company for ages 1-8 years. ¬†The main aim of the business is to motivate and encourage families and their children out into the great outdoors. So, you can see similarities between my blog ethos and their’s already! ¬†Our trio spend a huge amount of time in the great outdoors, and living in Sweden, this is pretty much in every kind of weather there is! ¬†When Tiny Trolls of Norway contacted me and asked if my twins would like to put some of their clothing to the test, we felt we could certainly put it through its paces in our normal everyday life. ¬†Not only is this the type of clothing we need for our lifestyle, this is the sort of clothing my double act need to turn up to f√∂rskola in to ensure they are dressed appropriately for that too.

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