At NHSG we are gifted with the most beautiful grounds. Because of this, we are lucky to be able to take our teaching and learning outside where abstract concepts become real and relevant in our outdoor classroom. The girls thrive when spending time in the open air. Both confidence and creativity are built when children are able to play and navigate the outdoors, without the structure and formality of indoor play.
Researchers have also found that spending time in nature reduces the stress that comes with having to live, work and play in frenetic urban environments overloaded with sensory stimuli that fatigue children’s brains.
Unstructured time outdoors allows children to explore their own passions. If we keep them constantly busy with routine activity, or if they are allowed to fill their time with screen entertainment, they will never learn to respond to the stirrings of their own imagination. Being outside with time to fill might lead them to build a den in the garden, organise and write a play performed with friends, skip, run or simply collect leaves and flowers to press, or garden snails to make a trail. These individual passions, when found, make life meaningful – only when children are given time and space to explore can these sparks be lit.
Summer holidays give children the time they need to stop, put down their homework, take a break from clubs, after-school activities and most of all, their hand held devices. It allows them just to breathe in the fresh air and appreciate what is around them.
Necessity is the mother of all invention – so let your child be bored. Boredom isn’t necessarily a bad thing! Let them discover what makes them happy and choose how to fill their time.
When I was a child my favourite boredom-busting activities were;
- Playing barefoot in the garden, jumping in and out of a tiny paddling pool.
- Making picnics and going off on an adventure with my friends – we would walk for miles and never get lost
- Swinging on those tippy metal swings people used to have in their backyards before safety-at-all-costs led to their demise
- Riding my bike for miles to see a friend (without a helmet!) because it was the only means of transportation available
- Climbing trees, because there was no parent with their health-and-safety hat on to say no
- Camping in the back garden pretending we were miles away from home
It is a worrying fact that today children spend half the time outside as their parents did as children. In school, we are redressing the balance because girls thrive outside. Please let’s continue this in the holidays and get them outside.
Of course, the best way to get your daughter outside is to go with them. Plant a garden together; look at the stars at night; go for a long walk with something beautiful, or breath-taking, as your journey’s end. The possibilities are endless.
I found this wonderful list of things to do – put them all in a jar on a piece of paper and pull them out when boredom sets in…