Nature Play, the antidote to all

Living without TV or radio, and while not quite as bad as dial-up, but I do have to plug my laptop in to a LAN cable each time I want to access the internet, it is always a very conscious decision for me to connect to the outside world.  Yesterday, I must have been one of the few to be totally unaware of the Taoiseach’s announcement until late afternoon, by which stage the supermarket shelves were cleared of fresh and tinned foods, and every form of social media was hopping with news of school closures and cancelled events.

Speaking with my sister yesterday I was surprised to hear that her children, whom she thought would be delighted with an unexpected two weeks off school, were actually quite unsettled by the news.  The constant coverage is not helping with anxiety levels among children and adults.  A certain level of calm is needed in order for all of us to weather these challenging times, while not downplaying the seriousness of the situation either.

Limiting social contact and interaction seems to be the way to slow down or indeed stop the spread of the virus, and while children are being discouraged from getting together over the coming weeks, there is an importance in ensuring that people are not completely isolated while also protecting themselves and others.  Spending time in nature helps us to self regulate as we are not bombarded with sensory overload.  It lowers stress and anxiety levels, and removes us from the constant stream of news around the virus.  It is full of natural antibacterial and antiviral elements, and is probably the best environment for us to be in, for both our physical health and our mental wellbeing.

So within our family/home units, however they might look, try and make the most of time outdoors, connecting with nature together, experiencing the healing benefits of time among the trees, or beside the seashore, in the back garden or any open space that is easily accessible to you.  Reconnecting with nature, and nature play, are the antidotes to the stress and social isolation that accompany these challenging times.

Below are some links to previous blog posts that have ideas of games or activities to help you to get outside and make the most of all that nature has to offer us.

Woodlands or green spaces:

Create your own Treasure Maps

Build a Bug Hotel

Giant Nests

Design a Miniature Playground

You’re Only Safe (game)

Seashore or rivers/streams:

Beach Creations

Build Dams, Bridges, Rafts


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