Identifying Where Nature Can Improve Your Mental Health #30DaysWild

Well, the best laid plans, and all that! I’d intended to post every day for 30 days, sharing our #30dayswild journey, but yeah, life happens, doesn’t it. Never mind, new goal: post when  I can! So far so good!

Last year the girls and I spent some time on Feelings And Emotions, learning about different emotions, what they feel like, how they make us act and so on. It was a very good series of activities, and they still refer back to it.  I decided for one of last week’s #30dayswild activities to go back to one of those activities, a printout of leading questions I designed to make the girls identify how being in specific places makes them feel. (Find that activity and printout here.)Nature Can Improve Mental Health

As they change and grow, I think it’s useful to revisit some activities because it shows them and me how much they have developed on the inside too.

The questions on this sheet of paper are leading questions, about how we feel in different places:

“On the beach, with the waves at my feet, my toes in the sand, I feel…. ”

“In the forest, with the trees overhead, and the birds chirping, I feel…”

and then there are questions about a shopping centre and their own bedroom.

(Words on the actual page vary a bit, but you get the idea.

Using these questions on the printed sheet gave us the opportunity for some quiet reflection. In the forest, for example, we closed our eyes, described what we could feel on our skins, smell in the air, taste on the air, hear… and the same on the beach.

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I was pleased to find that Ameli’s questions have grown from ‘makes me want ice cream’ to something along the lines of “On the beach I feel refreshed and happy. Its a good place to come when I’m feeling blue”. Similarly, her response to the forest was “In the forest I feel at home.”

I think it’s really valuable to be able to identify how specific places feel, so that they can use their environment to help manage their emotions.

I know I’m feeling really irritable and ‘scratchy’ at the moment, so we’ve decided to camp at a local campsite this week. I know that waking under canvas for a few days will improve the way I feel. I hope that my children can identify where nature contributes to their general mental health too.

Life Lessons Learned From Foraging For Elderflowers {30DaysWild}

Foraging with kids is always fun, and as far as I see it, always educational.

Today we went foraging for 20 Elderflower heads so that I can try to make some Elderflower champagne. I’ve meant to for years, even bought all the kit a few years ago, but I had to dig it out of the attic and give it a good wash today, as it’s never been used before. We’ll see how it goes!

But this post is about foraging, and why I take my children foraging when I know grownups who still won’t venture beyond blackberries, maybe, out of fear of picking something wrong and poisoning themselves and others.

There are two things that I believe foraging teaches children, beyond the obvious point of plant identification and learning what’s edible or not.

The first is risk management and the second is attention to detailRead more: Life Lessons Learned From Foraging For Elderflowers {30DaysWild}

Going On An Adventure {#30DaysWild}

Today is the first day of the 30 Days Wild challenge, and while I’m not 100% sure what we’ll be doing every day, we are going to try to do something outdoors every day. This isn’t normally too hard for us as we’re out fairly frequently anyway, but I’m going to try to be focused with it, and throw out short little posts about it each day.

Today we visited the Garlic Farm on the Isle of Wight with friends who’ve come over for a little half term break. One of the things I love about going to the woods with the children is that there’s something freeing there for them. It’s why Aviya’s Trolls party was in the woods – they didn’t need any formal entertainers! It was the girls climbing trees at the Garlic Farm that inspired the post about Girls Who Climb Trees and also that led me to thinking about the value in climbing treesGoing on an adventureRead more: Going On An Adventure {#30DaysWild}