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Muddy Faces

Nick Couzens. Mission: Wild Adventure

Nominated by Helen Parsons, Emma May Harrison, Paula Smith, Jo Webb, Liz Couzens. Nominates Muddy Boots Nursery.

Nick couzens

Nick Couzens
Mission: Wild Adventure
Crediton, Devon

Chosen as a Mud Champion because:
an inspiring, enthusiastic leader

Insta missionwildadventure
TikTok missionwildadventure

Nomination highlights

"He inspires and guides children to love the environment we live in, to notice and respect nature. Whilst having a muddy good time, always! Children absolutely love their time at Mission: Wild Adventure because of Nick’s passion for the outdoors. He is inspiring the next generation and it is wonderful to see!"

"Their enthusiasm for all things outdoors truly enthuses children."

"My son has been attending this group in the evening once a week. He absolutely loves it, he told me Nick is the best teacher he's ever had. He usually returns muddy and often wet as they get in the stream, cook on open fires, build shelters, forage etc."

"Outstanding and incredibly creative outdoor leader. Inventive and highly engaged, focused on children having a wonderful time and reaching their muddy potential. Children encouraged to be wonderfully muddy and engage with their surroundings through inventive and hands on play. My child has the most fantastic experience and always wants to participate when Mission Adventure happens. I completely trust Nick with the safety of my child but also that my child will have the most tremendous fun."

Tell us a bit about what you do at your project / your role

My aim is to simply get children playing outside. Playing in mixed groups of all ages, just as children have done for millennia. I love seeing the older children include the younger ones and the younger ones taking charge. Getting muddy is vital to this. Coming home with mud on your clothes, slightly out of breath is a huge indicator that you’ve had an adventure - and that is what childhood should be about, a non stop series of adventures, punctuated with a bath now and again. At Mission: Wild Adventure the children strive to solve a series of missions and challenges while playing and having fun.

What do you love about your work?

I love seeing children laugh and play together, getting experiences in the outdoors and developing more and more each day.

What are the benefits – why is muddy, outdoor, nature play so important?

Children aren’t designed to sit still and listen. Children’s natural state is running around holding a stick with mud on their knees. Children need to get wet, muddy and challenged by the outdoors occasionally. It helps them grow into adults that can protect nature and pass on these views and beliefs.

Top tip for muddy/messy/nature play

Don’t be afraid of it. Give children the chance to stick their hands in a muddy puddle and watch them smile.

Resource recommendation

A paddling pool filled with soil and mix in some water.

I’ve written jokes on waterproof cards and the kids can rummage around, pick one and read it out.

Pay it Forward – who would you nominate as your Mud Champion?

Muddy Boots Nursery.

How will you spend your Muddy Faces voucher?

Buying resources that will get children’s imaginations running wild.

Anything else you would like to say?

This is honestly one of the proudest moments of my career! I aim to offer children the type of childhood I had and am so grateful I can do that. Thanks to Muddy Faces and to everyone who nominated me for this. You’ve made me very happy 😃

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