Nature Play During Lockdown

Autumn has arrived, bringing its wild weather and fiery colours. It’s been a very strange year for us all. Back in March as the pandemic swept into our lives, our My Wild Child sessions came to an abrupt halt, like so many other extra-curricular and social activities. Aware that many families were stuck indoors with little outlet to play, we adapted quickly to create our first series of My Wild Child nature connection videos, spreading the message that spring can’t be cancelled!

It was fantastic to see families engaging with the videos and sharing their experiences, from planting seeds to making toilet-roll binoculars to watch the birds through. If you haven’t seen our popular pond dipping video yet you can head to our YouTube channel to marvel at tadpoles, dragonfly nymphs and water snails.

Since then we’ve launched our My Wild Child nature connection kits, available to families in the communities around our three usual sites - The Bommie, St George Park and Grow Wilder. Our autumn series of video sessions link to an activity in the kit each fortnight, incorporating something for every kind of learner - so far we’ve learned about the importance of trees, looked leaf shape and colour, followed a magical story about rainbows, made our own pair of owl eyes, and met Crinkle the friendly leaf. There is so much just waiting out there for us to explore, and it’s more important than ever to get outside and connect with nature during this time of uncertainty.

A week into this new lockdown, I’m really feeling the need for time out in nature. Working at home in my new (temporary!) role as videographer and children’s TV presenter has meant some long hours sitting at a screen. I miss the sound of children splashing in the stream at the Bommie, and the shouts of excitement at finding the longest worm in St George Park. I make sure to get out for a walk somewhere green every day and take time to be mindful in nature, listening to the birdsong and enjoying the autumn sun on my face. I always feel better for it!

Children learn through play, and the natural world offers abundant opportunity. We hope that our video sessions offer simple ways to spark children’s imagination outdoors, to invite them to use their senses to find the wonder all around us. It’s well documented that children benefit from regular time in nature physically, emotionally and intellectually, and at such a difficult time we hope our videos offer some support to parents in the form of activities and ideas to keep your little ones happy, active and connected to the world around them. Now more than ever we need to be nurturing the next generation to take care of our wildlife for years to come. In our children’s memories, the adventures we’ve had together in nature will always exist, and will continue to nourish them whatever life throws at us next.

Thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery, we’ve been able to develop our video sessions and nature connection kits for families during lockdown. You can find our video sessions and information about our kits on our My Wild Child Facebook group, our website and Youtube. Over the coming weeks we’ll be looking for tracks and signs of wildlife, making mini dens and collecting tiny treasures. We are hopeful that the spring will bring new opportunities to gather once again at our My Wild Child sites, for bug-hunting, story-time and singing. Until then we hope you’ll come with us on some virtual adventures, and use the videos as a springboard to get out into your local park, garden or green space for some wild play.

This week we've launching a competition for little nature lovers to enjoy over lockdown and help take action for insects. Families can enter on our Facebook group!

My Wild Child autumn 2020 competition

To find out more about Avon Wildlife Trust’s My Wild Child project and to join our Facebook group for families visit our My Wild Child page