Encouraging youngsters to enjoy the outdoors

odav

Guest
Given the pull of tv and computers, children have so many things to drag them into a sedentary lifestyle. I loved getting out into the country, escaping from the concrete boxes of our estate, as a kid. I worry that the younger urban generation will completely loose touch with the natural world. The health implications are alarming but also awareness of environmental issues will surely suffer.

Whilst shivering under a tarpaulin on a wild camp might be a step too far to begin with, there are lots of great places that encourage kids to enjoy the outdoors.

I love Greenwood Forest Park in Gwynedd. Camp on Shell Island, nice and comfy for the kids, then have a great day at Greenwood. Tons of things to do and play on. Also close to us is The Crocky Trail, in Cheshire. Absolutely brilliant rough and ready slides and rides that look like they were built by a demented farmer! Then the actual trail through the countryside. Loads of rickety bridges, rope swings over streams and mazes.
Places like this are great and a brilliant way to encourage kids into the countryside.

I've fully converted my two lads and they want to do their first wild camp in the summer. Struggling with my daughter though, she likes a bit of mud and stuff, but refuses to camp!
 

Rocky

Regular
Staff member
Location
On the sofa
Our lads are 25 and 28 years old. We’ve always encouraged them to walk and explore the outdoors. In 2008 we walked the Pennine Way with Gravel the younger son. Rob did the Yorkshire 3 Peaks when he was three months old (albeit in a snuggly rucksack on my front). They still walk and explore whenever they can and are currently walking in Slovakia.
 
OP
odav

odav

Guest
Our lads are 25 and 28 years old. We’ve always encouraged them to walk and explore the outdoors. In 2008 we walked the Pennine Way with Gravel the younger son. Rob did the Yorkshire 3 Peaks when he was three months old (albeit in a snuggly rucksack on my front). They still walk and explore whenever they can and are currently walking in Slovakia.
That's brilliant. 3 months old, why did you leave it so long!
I hope my kids continue.
I took my oldest boys friend with us camping in Gwynedd last year, he spent the whole time rubbing hand sanitizer gel on and trying to get a phone signal. He was genuinely scared of soggy leaves and branches. He hated it so much! Think you have to catch them while they're still little!
 
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Andy_R

Of dubious origin....
Staff member
Location
Durham
That's brilliant. 3 months old, why did you leave it so long!
I hope my kids continue.
I took my oldest boys friend with us camping in Gwynedd last year, he spent the whole time rubbing hand sanitizer gel on and trying to get a phone signal. He was genuinely scared of soggy leaves and branches. He hated it so much! Think you have to catch them while their still little!
This is why organisations like the Scouts are making such a big comeback - more parents are recognising that their children need to be out and about, but the parents don't necessarily have the right skill set do do it safely and in an engaging way. I try to make sure we have at least 4 back to basics camps each year - 1 in each season - along with our summer camp. Back to basics camps are under canvas (in the summer and sometimes the autumn we use tarps instead of tents), cooking on campfires with no electronic devices allowed. The young people actually end up talking to people who are there, and being sociable, instead of using social media and being anti-social.
 
OP
odav

odav

Guest
Sounds excellent, All my kids are in Boys Brigade and Brownies. Despite my total lack of christian faith, I was asked to help out at Anchors, BB for kids under 8, all good old fashioned fun.

Do people think that some form of bushcraft training should be part of the curriculum? Basic navigation skills, shelter building, first aid and fire lighting techniques. These could prove invaluable in an emergency and could help foster a real interest in the outdoors for city kids. My lot went to "forest school," in the summer holidays, came back with mallets they made from fallen timber with little machetes and had to start their own fire to toast marshmallows.
 

Andy_R

Of dubious origin....
Staff member
Location
Durham
Quite a lot of primary schools in our area have peripatetic "forest instructors" going in to teach basic outdoor skills, but they are rather limited as to what they can deliver. Strangely, not many head teachers like the idea of campfires on school grounds. One instructor I was talking to made the point that whilst she was able to show the year 5and 6 groups how build a campfire from fallen dead wood, she wasn't allowed to actually light it! Bonkers!
 

ColinJ

Regular Member
Location
Todmorden
I have been living in the South Pennines for 31 years and have done a lot of walking and cycling in this area in that time. I very rarely see young people out on the local hills. The occasional young mountain biker or horse rider, but very few young walkers or road cyclists.

I don't really understand why kids are happy to hang around the local parks and streets doing not very much but don't seem interested in spending even 30 minutes walking up onto one of our fine local hills.

I would have loved to have grown up in this area rather than where I did in Coventry. I did my best to escape from the city whenever I could by cycling or walking out into the lanes and fields round the Corley area to the north.
 

Hill Wimp

Regular Member
We have a few Forest Schools in the South East. I don't have kids but all I hear are good reports from parents who have kids there. The outdoor woodland space is used in someway for all lessons from reading to science experiments. They do daily weather reporting experiments, have chickens and pigs to look after and even get to do woodwork using their own wood. My boss is just about to send his son to one .
 
OP
odav

odav

Guest
We have a few Forest Schools in the South East. I don't have kids but all I hear are good reports from parents who have kids there. The outdoor woodland space is used in someway for all lessons from reading to science experiments. They do daily weather reporting experiments, have chickens and pigs to look after and even get to do woodwork using their own wood. My boss is just about to send his son to one .
Sounds like the one my kids went to. The only downside is trying to clean them afterwards. A combination of sticky marshmallow and caked in mud can only be removed by shot blasting.
 

Summerdays

Regular Member
Location
Bristol
Quite a lot of primary schools in our area have peripatetic "forest instructors" going in to teach basic outdoor skills, but they are rather limited as to what they can deliver. Strangely, not many head teachers like the idea of campfires on school grounds. One instructor I was talking to made the point that whilst she was able to show the year 5and 6 groups how build a campfire from fallen dead wood, she wasn't allowed to actually light it! Bonkers!
My middle child is training to become a teacher and she has chosen Forest schools as her specialist subject to investigate. It wasn't available to mine when they were in primary school.
 
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