A message from Liz, Muddy Faces founder and director.
"I hope you are staying well during this period. I, like so many others, have had to be very creative to balance work and life with two boys at home.
My children have been helping by setting up a Muddy Faces YouTube channel and creating videos in the hope of inspiring people to get busy in their gardens during lockdown, complementing all the resources we have already on our Outdoor Hub.
At home it hasn't all been harmonious by a long stretch, but as a family we are spending time together and experiencing the notion of slowliness* in our lives.
Noticing how sounds seem louder without the background traffic noise, the birds singing and the buzz of a hover fly as we sit quietly outdoors reading a book. We are amazed at how fast the broad beans are growing. The smells are amplified - the wild garlic overpowering on our morning exercise, the smell of the dry soil as it thirsts for the rain.
In April we noticed the amazing display of golden dandelions and now their seed heads are providing us with much fun. The colours have been mesmerising, the fruit blossoms, and now the blues of the forget-me-nots and the bluebells are catching our eyes from hidden corners on our walks.These little daily connections to nature are so important and it is all strengthening my already passionate belief in the restorative and beneficial powers of the outdoors.
Read on for news of our new Reasons to be Outside booklet, a collaboration with Professor Jan White exploring the benefits of being outdoors. A free copy of this booklet is included in our new Get Outdoors Pack - more below.
There are many websites that explore our connections to nature. One of note is Professor Miles Richardson’s blog Finding Nature - definitely worth a read.
The benefits to our physical and mental health of being outdoors are immense and hopefully through the free information, activities and ideas on our Outdoor Hub we can inspire you to be outside more (following guidelines) during the COVID-19 lockdown. Any information that we find that is specifically focused on this we are posting to a dedicated COVID-19 page - read on for more about that.
Take care and enjoy the slowliness Liz
* Slowliness has been coined by Professor Jan white in this lovely passage about child paced learning in our Putting Values Into Practice booklet.
“We understand that everything children take note of and want to do has value and is valuable to them. Young children must have ample time to explore, discover, create and experiment. They also need plentiful opportunities to repeat, revisit and play with their ideas. We are working with the notion of ‘slowliness’ attending to the detail and richness in everything children do.”
At Muddy Faces, we are passionate about the outdoors and especially during this time of uncertainty recognise that spending time outside will provide both mental and physical benefits.
To support you to get outdoors we have created our Get Outdoors pack, and will include one free with every single order we send.
Free Get Outdoors Pack with every order
While, stocks last, each order placed with Muddy Faces will receive a free Get Outdoors pack, which includes:
Our new booklet Reasons to be Outside, part 1 (worth £3.99) Being outdoors is good for both our physical and mental wellbeing. Reasons To Be Outside outlines many of these benefits. It is focused on early years but the information is also relevant for older children and adults
A Leaf Bashing / Hapa Zome activity card A simple activity that connects us to nature and helps us see the awe and wonder in the everyday
One of our very special UK-grown wooden discs We are starting a #CookieCraze and we’d like you to join in! Get creative with your wooden cookie and share your creations with us! Take a photo and tag us – we’ll inspire others by sharing it on social media and on our website
A copy of our 2020 Catalogue As well as products our catalogue features some interesting info about getting outdoors.
Outdoor training company Alfresco Learning have launched an online CPD programme called The Introductory Series - a collection of training videos and interactive handbooks for educators to get set up for successful outdoor learning.
The series covers ★ benefits & theory of outdoor learning ★ managing safety & establishing outdoor routines ★ preparing for outdoor learning in different weathers.
To help them celebrate, Muddy Faces are collaborating with Alfresco Learning to bring you our biggest ever giveaway!
★ Win a whole class-sized set of 30 foldable sit mats!
Our folding sit mats are a compact design that fold up neatly to pack in to a rucksack.
★ Plus Alfresco's online training module 'Preparing for Learning in Different Weather Conditions'.
Hollie from Alfresco says:
"The combination of these prizes will gift you with a winning formula for successful outdoor learning! We use these sit mats during our own workshops and highly recommend them for any educator looking to take their learning outdoors! Head over to instagram to enter!"
The series covers everything an educator needs to know to ensure that when schools return, successful and effective outdoor education can commence from the get go!
Purchasing any one of the online training videos also grants access to a private Facebook Group which offers support and advice in the form of live calls.
🐸🐸🐸 Big Frog thank you! 🐸🐸🐸
Thank you to everyone that took part in our Big Frog Comp.
And thank you to everyone that sent in suggestions for new Inspirations pages - there are loads of brilliant ideas for us to work on.
Our winner was Melanie Hooper from Devon - when we told her she had won she sent us this reply which really touched our hearts, so we're sharing it with you (with her permission).
"How very exciting and thank you for your lovely competitions and amazing website.
I use your catalogue all the time for work but the Frog House will definitely go in my garden. Since working from home I have added a bird bath, a bee motel and ladybird house to my garden so now I just need a little pond for my frogs.
I’m actually in tears of joy at this news as I have been on my own for 8 weeks and am missing my forest school children so much, I can’t wait to sing five little speckled frogs to them as soon as it’s safe to go back to the woods. The froggy resources will be loved and we will have so much fun with them.
Thank you once again, Muddy Faces has been such an inspiration to me over the years."
Our one stop shop has a diverse selection of practical, educational and inspiring products for all your forest school, outdoor play and learning requirements.
WE ARE OPEN!
Orders may take a little longer than usual to process. We are getting orders out as quickly and efficiently as possible whilst ensuring we adhere to safe working practices. See our full Covid-19 statement here.
Our Outdoor Hub is free to everyone and packed full of literally hundreds of step-by-step, photo-illustrated activities. You don't have to be out in an amazing Forest School or woodland setting, most of the activities can be done at home, in a yard or garden, many of them can be adapted and done indoors.
We really do encourage you to get outside if you can - the benefits to your health and wellbeing are huge - you can read all about them on the Outdoor Hub here.
Our activities are organised in categories so you can find what you need, or use our keyword search (scroll down the left hand menu) to follow your children's interests.
The Outdoor Hub has a wealth of inspiring activities, events and information. Each section has been designed to encourage engagement in the outdoors, connection with nature and to help spark imaginative play and creativity.
Health & wellbeing
The heartiest section of our Outdoor Hub - with research & reports, videos, guides and articles on the benefits to wellbeing of spending time outside; plus focused sections on mental health, nature connection and practicalities of health, hygiene and comfort while you're outside.
With an introduction from Coralie Hopwood of the John Muir Trust (at time of writing).
Supporting your time outdoors - whether you're home schooling, adapting your school for outdoor learning, or improving safety in your outdoor setting - boost your wellbeing by getting outside!
This information was develop during the 1st & 2nd UK lockdowns - with resources, activities and videos to help you benefit from spending time outdoors during the pandemic and gradual transition into the new normal.