Inspiring kids to get outdoors
I grew up on a farm in the mountains by a lake. Though it was annoying when my friends lived 20 miles away during my teen years, it was a great place to be when I was small to the ground.
After school, my mum would take us to the 'cement bridge' to race sticks and catch minnows. I'd stand watch when the gate was open so the cows wouldn't get out. We'd count the cows and check on new baby calves. I loved looking at animal tracks and catching dragonflies. Mine was a magical childhood.
Now, raising my own children in London, I struggle to replicate that lovely small farm life--one where lessons find children rather than being found in books. Now with a 5 and 3 year old of my own, I've found ways to bring nature to the big city and mix it up. We're that family you see with a couple little ones on the train to the South Downs or the New Forest. We go for day trips to Broadstairs to catch crabs and go rock-pooling. We build gigantic sand forts at the beach. We race sticks at Peckham Rye. We go cycling in the countryside and sit still to watch the cows. We watch Blue Tits from he window and try and figure out which bird's song we hear. We go horseback riding on a little-known farm in the suburbs. We pick strawberries fresh from the vine. And, of course, we race snails and smell the roses.
So far, my children are very nature-aware. Long may it be so!
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