The Wolseley Centre, part of Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, is on our doorstep and has some wonderful activites and events that the whole family can enjoy. They've just launched a fantastic new outdoor play group called 'Wildlings', which is all about getting outdoors with your little one come rain or shine!
As Alexis, Senior Learning Officer, says 'Wildlings is aimed at babies aged 6+ months to children about 5 years old – and their grown-ups. We market it as being “like soft play” where the adults can come along for a cuppa and a chat while the children are in a large outdoor area and let loose in the wild.
Each session is an hour and a half long, which seems just the right amount of time for children of this age. Parents and carers have come well prepared, dressing children in head-to-toe waterproofs when necessary, appropriate footwear, and baby wipes or cloths to wipe those runny noses. Hand-washing facilities are available in the visitor centre, a five minute (maybe 10 minutes with a toddler in tow!) walk from our base, but not a single parent has mentioned the sticky dirty hands and faces.
We offer a craft or campfire snack the kids can cook, but there is zero pressure for them to take part. They can carry on doing what they’re doing – because we know that’s how very young children learn.
These sessions are just as important to the adults. Maternity leave or being a stay at home parent can be incredibly isolating. Mental health can suffer; physical health can suffer. Have you ever sat in a room by yourself with a crying baby? Or a teething toddler? Or both at the same time?! We’re getting parents and grandparents out of their houses, into the fresh air, and they see for themselves what a difference the outdoors makes to both their child and themselves.'
To find out more, Alexis has written an article on the sessions, and the benefits of outdoor play - attached
(Article shared with permission from Link Magazine, Spring 2018 / Issue 170. Link is The Wildlife Trusts' magazine for outdoor educators. More information can be found at www.wildlifewatch.org.uk)