The world has become a faster and far more intense place and our children are growing up way too fast. They are posing like models, wearing make-up, pretending to drive and even speaking like adults before they have even hit the double figures in their ages. So how can we slow this down and let them just be crazy little kids with mad imaginations? Well, here are some brilliant ideas that I found online and hopefully some of them will resonate with you.
The Forestry Commission has recently done a survey where they found that 90% of the parents surveyed felt that their children were losing their imaginations by the age of ten. The same survey also found that three quarters of parents felt that today’s children play less outdoors than they did when they were kids. Over half of these parents also said that the rise of technology is responsible for this issue and the drop in imagination.
I have always thought that playing make believe and reading fairy tales are so important to children. Being able to disappear into worlds of your own and creating stories that totally enthral you for hours is such a gift and I really do wish that I could still do that as easily as I did when I was a child. I would be gutted if my daughter lost this precious gift and I must admit that some of the ideas presented by the Forestry Commission on how to fix this are rather brilliant.
They have launched a campaign called Forest Fairy Tales that will run across the entire summer and country and has been designed to stimulate kids and help them to develop vital skills to aid in their development.
Stepping back a moment to the research done in this survey, they found that a lack of outdoor play and spending too much time on computers and game consoles were part of the problem when it came to a child’s ability to enjoy imaginative play.
In our house we noticed that our daughter was noticeably less involved in the world around her and more closed off when she was allowed to watch TV. So we banned it completely during the week about three years ago and we have never looked back. She is not allowed on computers (except for school research) or consoles or TV during school days. On weekends she is given two hours a day maximum. The change in her personality and ability to engage with her imagination has been astonishing and I highly recommend it.
Going back to the Forestry Commission, I reckon that your kids will love the events that they have in store. Especially if you are worried about them not engaging with the world enough. The survey also said that 37% of the parents admitted that their children don’t create their own games using their imaginations and 28% said that their kids rarely, if ever, made up stories. That’s unbelievably sad.
Albert Einstein wrote about the importance of fairy tales in boosting children’s intelligence and as well as providing important moral lessons, fairy tales create a space where children can vent complicated feelings, explore their wildest dreams and confront their fears about the big bad monster, finding a way to decipher good from evil and resolve conflicts.
Activities will be taking place throughout the year at a number of Forestry Commission sites. To find out more and download free online activity sheets visit their site or take note of the events below.
Follow the self-led family trail to discover mysterious characters set amongst the old arboretum. Collect natural items along the way ready to create your own goblin when you arrive back at the classroom! Free event. No booking required.
Drop in for a fun filled day of fairy themed activities from 10am to 2pm, visit the newly refurbished fairy trees and follow the self-led trail. Free event. No booking required.
Are there fairies (or pixies) in the forest? Follow a trail, look for their homes, and join us for some craft activities. Cost £3 per child. No booking required. Family activity - all children to be accompanied by an adult. For further information phone 01299 266929.
Join storyteller Gordon the Toad for a lively adventure through the woods. Become absorbed in tales, find clues and make your own little fairies, goblins and trolls using forest materials. Come along at 10:30 or 2pm. Booking is essential. Cost £6 per child.
Step into the enchanting world of fairytales at the Bolderwood Unit. Join the ranger team for fun filled activities and a magical adventure this bank holiday weekend. Drop in any time between 11am-4pm. Cost is £2 per child. Suitable for all. No booking required.