There is a myriad of organisations and things you could follow or subscribe to help you and your family get outdoors and away from iPads and the one eyed monster! Here are just a few to get you thinking.
Project Wild Thing
Stuck for ideas of what to do with the kids? Project Wild Thing is an amazing organisation trying to get kids to swap screen time for wild time. The website has a whole list of ideas that you could do with your kids outdoors.
My 3-year-old loves stories so I might try story time in the woods. I also like the idea of making a diorama in a jar at the beach as it gives walks on the beach some purpose for the kids. Go and explore the hundreds of ideas. You might see a few of them on this blog in the years to come.
The Wildlife Trust
I was at a market the other day and got collared by someone from the Avon Wildlife Trust. I was happy to be apprehended for once. I give to various organisations, but in principle I’ve stuck to people charities. I’ve come to realise, though, that environmental charities might be the best way to help people in the future.
I joined up and in no time got an amazing magazine through with lists of events and wild spaces. So, not just philanthropy. They also sent an amazing magazine for the kids, which my 3yo really got stuck into. Our trust is the Avon Wildlife Trust, but you can find a trust near you at Wildlife Trusts. I can’t wait to do some volunteering on some of the projects in the near future.
We’re really looking forward to visiting Stonehenge sometime. My wife loves castles and I love historical novels and battles so English Heritage membership might be a good option. We’re home educating our daughters, so some of these heritage sites, and great looking events are going to be fantastic educational resources. There are also loads of sites around the place that are free to visit. We’re thinking we might visit a few places to break up journeys.
There are loads of community farms around Bristol, but the one we’ve visited is The Community Farm. I plan to head down to the next community farm day with my 3yo, to volunteer, meet people, learn and get outdoors. I believe we all have to invest in local food and get people away from supermarkets. Buying from a farmer might just help pay their mortgage but for the supermarkets your money is a drop in the ocean, so support your local farm. It just might keep you out of hospital too.
We’re going on a holiday in the Spring. A slightly different holiday. We’re going wwoofing! It stands for World Wide Opportunities in Organic Farming. You sign up to the country where you want to wwoof, about £30 a year, then you find a farm you want to volunteer on in exchange for bed and board. It’ll be hard work, but I can’t wait to spend a week outdoors with the kids and see a different part of the country.
This is a network of groups for kids to meet, learn how to value the planet through outings and camps. They have a few campsites and centres around the country. I’ve just come across this website and not yet attended any events – when I have I’ll report back. You can search for Woodcraft groups on their site.
This is a neat social media type project. Currently in beta. Much like Project Wild Thing it’s full of ideas of things to do on the beach, in woodland, hills, fields, parks… And you can collect badges as you go from explorer badge, nature badge to soil, waste and story teller badges. Maybe my kids will start pestering me to take them outside to get their badges?
These guys are really on it. My wife was signed up with them for a while and they sent some amazing worksheets and inspiring activities for the kids. Recently we took one of their worksheets out to a local woodland. Their site is great and very inspiring, they also have some lovely competitions and initiatives. One of my favourites was the hunt for England’s best loved tree. The site will also help you find some woodland you might not have discovered yet.
We all know about the National Trust. We’re not members yet but it’s worth the membership as far, as I’m concerned, just to get free parking at Godrevy car park, near Gwithian.
If you’re a fan of treasure hunts and perhaps want a bit of the Pirates of the Caribbean action without the rum and, well, let’s face it, the sun, then try Geocaching. When I was younger I used to do a bit of letter boxing on Dartmoor, I did it a bit while I was at school in Tavistock but my Mum quickly realised it was a way to get us outside in a fun way.
There are caches everywhere. In fact there is one just 2 minutes from where I’m sitting. You can find caches through the app or you can get hardcore and use a proper GPS. Apparently it’s good to become a member if you really get into it, as it makes finding the caches easier. It’s basically a game… And it sounds fun.
Surfers Against Sewage
I joined SAS years ago because you had to be a member to go to their annual ball. I also felt like it was a good thing to do as a surfer. I always get their literature through and flick through it, but recently I’ve been been reading it with more interest. I want to take the family to one of their beach cleans soon, I think this could be quite fun for the children but more importantly it will teach them about the environment though action. Action speaks louder than words.
Want free entry to hundreds of nature reserves? Then join the RSPB. It’s quite cheap and there are some amazing child friendly places. There are a whole load of wetlands really close to where we live that I’ve never heard of. I’m excited…
Other websites and organisations that I’ve not dived into in any great detail get…
Please comment if you think there is any more that should be on the list?