Connecting to nature & slowliness with Muddy Faces
This news item was originally written in May 2020 - two months into the UK pandemic lockdown.
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.
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.”
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 developed during the 1st & 2nd UK lockdowns in 2020 and 2021 - with resources, activities and videos to help you benefit from spending time outdoors during the pandemic and gradual transition into the new normal.