Like many others across the country, we are getting ready for the National Garden SleepOut event that is taking place tonight kindly sponsored by Primrose. I love the idea of this and as a family we will be keen to take part in this every year.
As I am sure you know one of the key drivers behind this is to help reconnect people of all ages (but particularly the young) with Nature. A recent report by the National Trust has revealed that children in the UK are losing contact with nature at an alarming rate – foregoing outdoor activities for the lure of video screens. Couple this with parents’ anxieties about the numerous big bad wolves and we are hell-bent on create a generation of kids who won’t know the simple pleasure of “playing or sleeping out”.
Our allotment and our garden are both places where our little boy loves to spend his time. He is happy to have TV time, as most children are – but he comes alive when he plays in the garden and helps on the allotment. One of the biggest reasons we got the allotment was for the benefits we hoped it would bring our young one. He feeds the chickens and duck, is keen to help with weeding and is the first to find any fruit we have growing.
We are going to make a day and night of it. We hope to involve some friends and neighbours, stoke up the outdoor cooking device (it is bad luck in our house to say the B-B-Q word as it curses any gathering with rain) and will be sharing hotdogs, burgers and beers – in the true spirit of any outdoor event.
I believe there is truth and credibility in the report. Another allotment keeper on our patch was having numerous problems with his son, who had been diagnosed with ADHD. For the sake of this piece we shall call him Ryan. Ryan was struggling at school and as one of three boys being brought up by a single father added to his burdens. Ryan’s dad took the allotment out of desperation and hoped that this would provide all his boys with something more to do other than watch TV and play video games.
From the word go Ryan was involved in everything from raising the poultry, to planting out, keep the ferrets, cleaning out the pens. Within 3 months of this, Ryan was a transformed young lad. His ADHD symptoms had calmed down to the point whereby he was back in mainstream classes and whilst he may never been the most academic of children, he demonstrates willingness and aptitude towards a number of task hitherto unheard of.
If getting our kids outside, in tents, in gardens, playing, laughing and most of all doing is going to have long term benefits on their mental and physical well being – then sign me up! I hope this inspires you to buy a cheap tent, get some lights and sleeping bags and hit the hay – or at least the grass.
More updates soon. Have a good one everyone!