Project Wildthing…

Last night I was invited to a screening of the Project Wildthing at Yeo Valley HQ.  I’d already heard good things about the film and the message behind it.  To encourage children and adults to swap screen time for Wildtime.
The film was wonderful.  Well written with a cast of fantastic kids.  It features David Bond and is crusade to get his own children and kids in the UK to stop watching so much TV and playing computer games and to step outside into nature.  David was increasingly worried about his own children’s love of the screen and how he battled with them to go outside.  So David set about the task to market Nature. To have a go at selling it to the country like any other brand would, such as Cocacola or VW. 
A tough job.  David wants kids to not just go for a walk, although this would help!, but to ‘get’ nature, really ‘get it’.  Get into it.  Enjoy it.  Choose it over Angry Birds or Grand Theft Auto.
Now as a mum of two boys, I that some days it is hard encouraging them (and me) off the sofa.  Especially when it is cold and raining outside.  But I know once we are out roaming the woods or fields we feel alive, connected and happy.  
After the film, we had a little Q&A with David and discovered the talented team behind the project.  Project Wildthing is a growing movement of organisations and individuals who care deeply about the need for nature connected, free-range kids in the 21st Century.  Organisations such as the National Trust, RSPB, Woodland Trust, NHS, Play England and many many more.  All dedicated to the project by donating huge amounts of time and money to get the project off the ground.  A full list of the people who are committed can be found here.
Project Wildthing are asking us all to make the pledge.  To swap a percentage of screen time to #Wildtime.  By joining us and pledging anything from 10 minutes to 2 hours a day.  On the website there are useful links and apps to encourage wild play.  
My head is spinning with the possibilities of #Wildtime.  I am determined to make sure my boys are connected with nature and spend a good chunk of their week outside.  We have renewed our allotment for another year, and plan to make a pizza oven up there. To encourage a longer time spent there with fuller bellies.  I’ve also made a pact with friends, Oyster & Pearl, Bristol Parenting Cafe and Wild & Grizzly, to have a Saturday once a month in the woods.  Build dens and let our collective kids go wild.  I am exploring the opportunity for Forest School in half term.  Full days in the woods learning wood craft and fire building.  What better way to spend a day! 
But not just big activities, small daily tasks which will encourage them.  I’ve download the app which has great tips on things to do if you are time short.  I just put in 10 mins and was given over 20 things to do.  One of which was Bird Talk.  It says:
Take 10 minutes to be still and listen to the chorus of birds outside your house.  How many birds can you hear?  Try to imitate them.   
Then there is a link through to the BBC radio 4 website to hear British bird calls.  How amazing is that!  This is just one of the many cool things to encourage your kids to play outside.
So come on, will you make the pledge?

  • This is an awesome movement. I have read about Forest Schools in a British parenting magazine. Made me consider moving to the UK just so my little babe can attend – they sound like such fun learning experience!

  • I work with the Wildlife Trust here in Cornwall and everyone is buzzing about this film, another friend mentioned that she downloaded a geocaching app for a fiver and now she and her kids are out treasure hunting every weekend. It’s all about adapting, once you’ve got them outside they often make their own fun. I’ll be following your adventures, Antonia x

  • we have the dvd but haven’t got round to watching it yet. will do it! my friend is opening an outdoor nursery soon, the first in london i think. so exciting. x

  • What a great idea. Have downloaded the app and am looking forward to trying out some new ideas with the kids!

  • This is such a fantastic project, I read about it before in your blog a few months ago. My son is only two years old, as you mentioned it’s sometimes a hard task to get out of the couch when the weather is so miserable. We have a big garden and we try to go “worms hunting” if weather is too horrible to go out (I hate worms but my son loves them and I don’t want him to be afraid so I put my brave face and let him explore). I think is so important these days children to understand, care and get involved with nature.

    I grew up in the beach and all my memories of my childhood somehow involves getting dirty and messy, but happy. Thanks for sharing Lou, looking forward to see more pics of your kids in the woods x
    Happy weekend x

  • Hey Lou,

    I have signed up for Project Wildthing. I am making a little film about it, and documenting our wild time together. Getting Olly outside is never a problem, but the pre-teen needs some convincing (I have given up with the teen – he is nearly 17, and it’s not worth the stress of trying to shift him). We live in such a fantastic place with an abundance of natural resources. This weekend we are dolphin watching in the harbour (I know, how lucky) and joining in Birdwatch. I envy you the allotment, which has endless possibilities for families.

    Have a great weekend Lou.

    Leanne xx

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