I am delighted to be able to introduce fellow Ordnance Survey #GetOutside Champion Sarah Whiting, of Craft Invaders, who has used her child related crafty skills to produce a great guest post for our blog. With half term coming very soon followed by the usual gambit of school holidays, this contribution is perfect for those Grand Parents on ‘child-sitting‘ duties and stuck for something to do outdoors .
Spending Time Outside With The Grandchildren by Sarah Whiting
If you have ever watched your grandchildren and wondered if there is any reason for all their running, spinning and climbing, then the quick answer is yes there is – research now shows that all that rushing about, and spinning in particular is actually crucial for their brain development. Research is all well and good, but sometimes we don’t want kids running and dancing around our home, treating it like a giant adventure playground, so here are some simple ideas for getting kids outside and keeping them entertained.
In my experience, suggesting ‘a really long walk to tire you out’ is not the best way to entice children outside, even if that is your ultimate aim. Going on a Nature Treasure Hunt sounds much more exciting, and there are plenty of resources online that can be printed off and used. We particularly love the fabulous range of Spotter Sheets on the Wildlife Trusts website that covers everything from a Wild Picnic Spotter to being a Spiky Wildlife Detective. Children do still love the simple childhood activities that we all did as kids, such as playing pooh sticks, messing about in streams, searching for insects and climbing trees.
Kids love being creative, so using natural materials to create art is a great way to get them exploring and using their imagination. Try making natural paintbrushes out of twigs, stick double-sided tape on to card and use it to make a mosaic picture out of flower petals, or explore a tree by taking bark rubbings and making leaf imprints. You can even make your art outside and leave it for others to find – Use twigs, bark and leaves to make a giant picture, make a pebble sculpture on a beach, or use chalk to draw on a pavement.
Foraging for food is another fabulous way to spend time outside with your grandchildren. Foraging is simply searching for, and collecting wild food. There are many good reasons to forage; wild foods are far more nutrient dense than commercially produced crops, the foods in our hedgerows are what our ancestors evolved to eat, and foraging with children allows us to pass on the knowledge that we learned when we were young, as well as giving
us all a closer connection with the natural world around us. There is nothing nicer than sitting down to a crumble made from fruit you collected yourself, or why not collect Dandelions and make some fabulous biscuits.
There is no doubt that fresh air and exercise is beneficial to us all, but spending time outside with children gives us so much more. It reminds us of how the world looks through a child’s eyes, and brings back those precious memories of spending time playing outside
when we were young.
Sarah Whiting is passionate about both children and adults spending more time outside exploring, learning and getting creative. Sarah loves nothing more than to pass on her knowledge to anyone who asks, so why not visit her on Twitter.
It was this passion that led her to create the Craft Invaders blog with her family, where she shares family orientated craft tutorials (which have a strong focus on nature-based and recycled craft), recipes, foraging, wildlife, and their visits to UK wildlife and historic sites.
You can find out about Sarah and her family’s adventures at http://craftinvaders.co.uk