Children need to get outside, because that is what they are hard-wired to do. These days, many ‘indoor parents’ get so frightened, that their children are hardly allowed out. Children’s nature campaigner Richard Louv writes that when he was a child ‘Nature was my Ritalin’, but today he meets zombied-out children who spend their lives playing computer games. He says a sad day was when he asked a child of his favourite place: the child replied ‘indoors, because that’s where all the sockets are’.
Obviously we don’t want children falling out of trees, but he did say that doctors say that now rather than broken bones from outdoor falls, they see children with depression and repetitive strain injury, caused from playing computer games.
For little explorers, GeoSafari Junior Binoculars (age 3+) are lightweight with a wraparound soft eye section, to block peripheral vision. Don’t let children study insects through a magnifying class, reflected sun rays can harm.
- Diary of a Young Naturalist chronicles the extraordinary story of a 15-year old boy with Asperger’s and autism, who uses nature to heal from bullying and isolation. Follow a year in his home Northern Ireland patch, as Dara spends the seasons writing. These vivid moving diary entries on his connection to the wild world, sees the world in a new way.
- Wild Child is by nature writer Patrick Barkham, who draws on his experience as parent and forest school volunteer, to explore the relationship between children and nature. Unfolding over the course of a year of snowsuits, muddy wellies and sunhats, this is the story of children finding their place in the natural world – and delight found in modest patches of green.
- Our Wild Calling is the latest book by Richard Louv, who has updated his last book and this time applied it to how wildlife can teach us and children their wisdom. We need empathy and care to survive. Learn how dogs can teach children ethical behaviour, and what role human-animal relationships play on our spiritual health.
- Backyard Playgrounds is a book on how to build amazing treehouses and swings. Children of all ages can enjoy the outdoors in their own backgrounds, with these fun projects, that also teach about building, exercise, staying in shape and working together. Learn how to build a treasure chest, a circle swing, a lemonade stand and a treehouse.
- Marmax Recycled Products makes coloured playground furniture from milk bottle jugs. The range includes cabins, boats, sand pits, wheelchair-friendly picnic benches and board games. Fresh Air Fitness makes outdoor exercise equipment for parks, including for children with special needs.