Taking the Playgroup Outdoors

There are lots of ways of making nature and the outdoors a regular feature of your children’s life. Sometimes, especially considering Scotland’s weather, it takes a lot of resolve to get out, when all you can see is relentless pouring rain, wind and the cold.tree swing

Something I tell myself on such days is that a) it’s never as bad as it looks from indoors, and b) I know that once I’m out there, I’ll be glad I made the effort. Because kids generally don’t mind the weather – they see opportunities in any weather condition. And because even with the worst weather I find if I spent the day outdoors, we’re happier all around at the end of the day.

Still, it takes effort and resolve to get out prepared on dreich days. Something that may help is to find a few nature buddies – other parents with children who are like-minded. You could even make it a regular feature, say a weekly meetup. Before long, it’ll be an outdoors playgroup.

Take the Glasgow South Nurture in Nature group. Conceived by Lusi and Danny Alderslowe, who simply suggested their idea to a group of friends, it has grown from strength to strength and now has a rather large number of people coming along to the twice weekly days in Glasgow’s southside parks.

The group consists of parents who like me value the opportunities that outdoor learning gives to children. And the idea is beautiful in its simplicity. Twice a week, the parents and children meet up at 10am at an outdoor location (which incidentally is also easy to get to by public transport, thus reducing the need for a car) and the children are let loose to play. They play with each other and things they find. There may be some occasional activities that parents initiate, a theme for the day but mostly it’s the kids who with their own creativity come up with what they want to do.

Coming to Nurture in Nature costs nothing, apart from the bus/train fare to the location. Because a parent is present, there’s no need to register with the Care Commission or go through any police checks, which means there’s no complex administration. The parents just do it. It’s effectively taking a playgroup outdoors.

My children have made new friends, and I’ve made new friends. It’s been fabulous to have a set day where I know we’ll be going outdoors, and an incentive to do it even if the weather forecast is set for rain and cold. It’s a day that we always look forward to, and that is missed sorely when for some reason we can’t make it.

So why not consider making outdoor play a feature of you week with like-minded families? If you don’t know any, why not join Nurture in Nature?

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