Nature Tots: how children can make the most of Kent's outdoors
PUBLISHED: 11:14 08 April 2019
Are your pre-school children getting enough outdoor play? Kent Wildlife Trust's new Nature Tots course could be just the solution
We all look back with fondness to our own experiences as children of nature. Long, endless summers, playing out from dawn until dusk; a never-ending adventure with nature as the backdrop.
A lot has changed. Phrases such as ‘Nature-deficit disorder’ have entered the language as more and more evidence leads many to believe that children today are not getting the multiple benefits that experiences in the natural world appear to offer.
To address this, at the end of November last year an intrepid group of toddlers and parents spent an afternoon in the woods at Kent Wildlife Trust’s Sevenoaks Nature Reserve.
They had lots of fun exploring, splashing in puddles and searching for bugs among the logs. They worked as a group to collect firewood and make a fire and the tots were full of wonder when it was lit, fascinated by the flames and looking at the different shapes and colours. They kept warm with a delicious hot chocolate, a plate of cookies and sang a Nature Tots song.
It is an incredibly exciting time as we launch our first Nature Tots course, initially at our Sevenoaks Nature Reserve, to give as many pre-school children as possible the chance to spend time immersed in nature and benefit from various activities outdoors.
Nature Tots sessions are based on Forest School principles and activities, but tailored specifically for pre-school age children.
It’s a wonderful opportunity for little ones to explore, discover and learn from nature and gain a sense of achievement from a variety of nature, art and craft-based activities. Children are encouraged to lead their own learning, doing as much for themselves as possible with help from accompanying adults. It’s great for problem solving, communication, creativity and physical development.
Outdoor play and contact with nature is really important for children’s development and wellbeing, encouraging them to gain a deeper knowledge of themselves, others and the world.
Growing up with fun experiences in wild spaces can help inspire a love of nature that lasts a lifetime. It’s also a great way for adults to experience the natural world through the eyes of their children, feeling the wonder of first discovery together.
Find out more
The course will run weekly on Fridays at the Sevenoaks Reserve, Bradbourne Vale Road TN13 3DH.
All dates are Fridays, two-hour sessions from 9.45am-11.45am and will be booked in blocks, running in line with school terms.
The next two sessions run over from 26 April and 3, 10, 17, 24 May and then 14, 21, 28 June and 5, 12 July 2019.
The cost is £8 per child, with a discount for a second child. Activities are held outside in all weathers, so it’s really important to be appropriately dressed and prepared to get muddy.
For more information, contact Kathryn Barton, ForestSchool@kentwildlife.org.uk or 07717 367944.