Back in January, I learned of the Love Outdoor Play campaign. I wanted to add my voice to the campaign because I am a huge fan of the outdoors and feel that modern children are losing out on opportunities to explore freely outside, so when Daniel (Mission:Explore / The Geography Collective), one of the organisers behind the campaign, asked me to write a guest blog I was delighted!
January 14, 2011
Romany Greatrex is a mum, addicted to camping, kids, outdoors, fun, play, music and laughter. An ideal mix for setting up the brand new Festival Kidz website which was “born out of loving taking our kids to festivals (unbeatable combination of music, camping, workshops and being outdoors all day!) and wanting to be all evangelical about getting other parents to discover the joys that festivals bring – it’s such a great way for a family to spend a weekend together”. I know this feeling all to well having taking our son to a raft of festivals. In the Green Kidz field at Glastonbury last year our boy went ‘free range’ and had a stunning time. Here Romany describes why she loves outdoor play:
Romany Greatrex: I love outdoor play because…
An education in the natural laws of our environment and our society
It is an honour to be asked to contribute to the Love Outdoor Play blog site, and being such a fan of outdoor play I jumped at the chance. There are so many things I would love to rant on about when I think about how good it feels to be outdoors with your kids that it is hard to know where to start… so I’ll go back to the very beginning…
It starts with my earliest memories, and try as I might, I just can’t recollect anything memorable happening indoors! My happiest memories are the simplest sweetest moments that I have carried with me my entire life. It is these same moments that make me passionate about making sure my children have the same opportunity to create similar memories.
I recall hazy summer days learning how to make daisy chains with my mum… watching in awe as the early sun sparkled in the dew drops… understanding gravity by watching conkers falling all around my buggy… making dams and redirecting the waterflows in the streams… planting my first seeds with granny and watching them grow… eating peas from the pod in the vegetable patch until I could eat no more… patiently racing snails along the garden wall… feeling the rain on my face and jumping in puddles… building dens and sleeping under stars… oh! Happy Days!
But all this nostalgia is more than just a rose-tinted recollection of unrelated moments in time. Over the years I have realised that these moments are actually the point at which the world around you begins to make sense. When you are taught the whys and hows and wheres, if you can relate it to your own personal experiences then you can understand it. And as we all know: when you understand, you know – and I mean really know, deep inside. No need to challenge your memory by storing snippets and facts, true knowledge and inner wisdom comes from understanding and direct experience…
So when your children are out playing they are not wasting their hours in indulgent childhood bohemia – they are busy exploring and making sense of their world and educating themselves in the natural laws of our environment and our society. Understanding that we are part of a much wider world full of interconnected elements and beings give a deeper respect for ourselves, other beings and our earth.
Of course my kids don’t get my ulterior ‘education education education’ motives for letting them play so freely – they’re just too busy having fun and making memories of their own!
The Love Outdoor Play Manifesto
- Having the freedom to play outdoors improves the well-being of children and their communities.
- Together, we are building a visible community to support reasonably safe exploration, adventure and play.
- Wherever you see a Love Outdoor Play sticker or symbol, you’ll find people who welcome play and are looking out for young people.