Great news, the Farmyard’s hugely popular children’s summer camps are coming soon. But before we fill you in on all the fantastic farm activities and fun your kids can enjoy, do us a favour. Take a moment to think back to your own childhood summers. No really. Close your eyes and think about summer time when you were 8 or 9. We’re betting the outdoors played a big part in those memories, right? And no matter what part of the country you grew up in, be it urban or rural, playing outside was most likely a big part of your childhood. You might have climbed trees, ran around in the green in your housing estate, been lucky enough to have a huge back garden you could play football in with your friends, or just had fun riding your bikes.
Whatever way you spent your playtime, it’s safe to assume lots of it was done outside and in nature. But today, as a parent you probably find that your young kids are spending more and more time inside as the lure of tablets, smartphones, video games and streaming services looms large in their lives. And while allowing them to become adept at technology is not a bad thing, there needs to be a balance.
Numerous studies continue to show the incredible benefits playing outside and in nature can have on children’s development, health and behaviour. There’s the obvious health benefits, from being more active, to natural exposure to Vitamin D, but playing outside and enjoying nature and wildlife can have much deeper and lasting benefits for young people. Indeed playing and learning about nature and wildlife can allow children to connect to the natural world in a very real way, improving their capacity for creativity and imagination. Playing outdoors allows kids a greater level of freedom to move, make noise and engage their creative side; they can be messier, more imaginative and less confined, all of which are really good for development.
According to children’s charity Barnardos, research has shown ‘that movement and thinking skills are powerfully connected,’ and thankfully lots of movement and activity are part and parcel of outdoor play. What’s interesting though is that they assert that, ‘movement and activity encourages brain growth and improves children’s attention and their memory. Plus a study by Taylor and Kuo found that children with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) concentrated better after a 20 minute walk in the park than after the same walk in an urban or downtown setting.
But just how do you encourage your children to go outside and appreciate the benefits of the outdoors, nature and wildlife without seeming like a nagging or annoying mother or father? Well the Farmyard’s summer camps is one way in which you can immerse you son or daughter into all the wonderful virtues of the outdoors in a safe, encouraging and creating environment. Running through July and August, our summer camps are packed full of fun and adventure. Activities include: animal feeding and grooming, pizza making, archery, milk a cow and churn butter, obstacle courses, mini farm competitions, shear a sheep, arts and crafts and much more.