Developing imagination, confidence and responsibility with My Wild Child

Spending time in nature from a young age can positively influence children as they grow older. Our My Wild Child sessions offer families with toddlers in Bristol the opportunity to connect with the natural world through wild play, nature-based crafts and activities, storytelling and music. We hear from Emma about what her experiences are having attended the sessions over the last year with her son Syd.

Emma and her son Syd have been attending My Wild Child at Feed Bristol throughout 2019. Luckily it's right on their doorstep and there aren't many other activities like it in the neighbourhood so they've become regulars! 

Having grown up at the beach in Torquay, Emma's always spent time camping and going for walks. A lot of her own childhood was spent exploring, even without adults - running freely and playing in the wild. Living in the city is a different experience, so she tries to take Syd to local parks, green spaces, camping and farms so they can enjoy times in the outdoors together and be more connected to nature and Syd also get a chance to run around and explore.

The joy and wonder that a child can experience when spending time in nature is a wonderful thing that, in turn, can have a positive impact on health and wellbeing and also improve creativity and imagination. When outdoors, Syd loves collecting sticks and turning them into magic wands and stones to pop into the river. They look for bugs, paddle in the stream and say hello to dogs.  

Syd is excited to go to My Wild Child every week at Feed Bristol. The beautiful wildlife-rich site offers a wonderful playground for young nature-lovers to learn, create and play. Emma enjoys that the sessions often have an craft activity, resulting in Syd coming home with clay hedgehogs, pinecone mice and flags dyed with the greens, browns, yellows and purples from grasses, earth, leaves and wildflowers. 

When Emma and Syd first started attending the sessions, Syd was 21 months, but now he's 32 months and as he grows older he definitely has started to get a lot more out of them. They both love the fact that My Wild Child has a theme every week, structured around the seasons so there's a focus on what everyone will be learning about or what wildlife they'll be looking out for. They also try and keep the conversations going after the sessions when they are home, and throughout the week. 

When asked why it's important children are able to play outside, Emma said: 

"I think it develops their imagination, confidence and responsibility. Teaching toddlers to be kind to bugs etc and not squash them! To look after flowers and not pick the petals off! And to feel safe in nature. It also gets them moving and used to different terrains in all weather.

It’s definitely exciting for Syd, being around other children and it
gives me inspiration too. Like I said, we spend a lot of time outdoors but there is far more creativity in these sessions than a walk in the woods with me. I’m so grateful that we live so close!"

Part of their journey with My Wild Child has included roping a few friends to come along and they've loved it too. Syd also loves the hot chocolate at the end - treat at our Feed Bristol session and a cosy way to wrap up, with a lovely nature-themed story to listen to around the fire. 

Thanks to players of People's Postcode Lottery, we're able to run My Wild Child sessions in green spaces around Bristol where there otherwise might not be similar activities. We love getting to know families who attend and it's always great when they become regular My Wild Child nature-champions.