OUTDOOR PLAY SESSIONS
Reconnecting parents and their children to the natural environment
The Benefits of Being Outdoors
Spending time outdoors in green natural environments or with views of water is proven to bring a wealth of health and wellbeing benefits to children and adults. As children's free time has become increasingly mapped out, competition from screen time, organised activities and concerns about personally safety have resulted in significantly reduced roaming radius for children and a growing disconnect between themselves and the surrounding environment. In fact a 5 year study published by the RSPB in 2013 concluded that 4 out of 5 children ion the +UK are not adequately 'connected to nature' (The Guardian, 25 March 2016).
According to research by Natural England (2016) more than one in nine children in England had not set foot in a park, forest, beach or any other natural environment for at least 12 months over the previous 2 years. An alarming figure which includes children that live a stones throw from a beach or rural environment.
With 10 minutes time spent in a green space equivalent to a dose of Ritalin for a child with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and the post operation recovery of hospital patients significantly quicker for those with a view of a natural environment from a window or even a picture, the physical health benefits of spending time outdoors is clear. For brain health too, exercise and spending time in nature are great for developing mindfulness and allowing the brain to literally 'take a break'. These can also be the most time effective ways of bringing focus to a challenge or problem that has been evading you.
Parent and Child Sessions
An experienced trainer and educationalist, Sue provides fun and engaging parent child sessions to support re-connection with the natural environment. Using the Stables Outdoor Therapy space as a base offers opportunities for children and carers to notice changes in the environment, use their senses, problem solve, develop mastery, practice mindfulness and develop a connection with Mother Nature. Although therapy is not the focus, adults and children will benefit from the multitude of health, wellbeing and mindfulness benefits of spending time outdoors.
Using a combination of hands-on adult and child-led activities, parents will benefit from their reconnection and greater confidence in the natural environment, as they discover fun no and low cost activities and approaches to try, experience strategies for introducing reassuring structure, and remind themselves of the joys of being and exploring outdoors: be it watching the frogs in the pond; venturing down the woodland walk; picking daisies; enjoying the view from the treehouse; going on a nature trail; collecting natural treasures to explore and make pictures with; transforming messy materials; bouncing on the trampoline; swinging on a rope swing; playing hide and seek; and noticing the sounds and sights of the natural environment.