29 January 2014

ARE YOU WILD ENOUGH? // PROJECT WILD THING


Last week I was fortunate enough to be invited to an event hosted by Yeo Valley HQ, situated in the rolling hills of North Somerset. This was something I had been eagerly looking forward to all week, a screening of Project Wild Thing with Director's Q&A. Over the last month or so I had seen the trailer being shot around various social media sites and with The Guardian stating 'This film will change your life' and I was keen to see if this was true.

'Children in the UK spend less than 5% of their time outdoors - less than ever before.'

That line is hard to swallow, less than 5%. Project Wild Thing is a film led movement to get kids and adults back outside and reconnecting with nature – despite how that sounds, it's not a a hippy movement, but more a concerned look at what extensive screen time and indoor play is doing to our children and future generations. This brilliant and witty feature length documentary follows front man David Bond, as he appoints himself the Marketing Director of Nature, to try and prise his two children from their love of the screen and explore ways to reignite our passion for the great outdoors.

Welcomed by the wonderful hosts at Yeo Valley, I sat through the private screening with moments of laughter, inspiration, acknowledgement, wonderment, appreciation and pangs of guilt. As I watched the facts weigh in heavily at the detrimental effects extensive screen time and indoor play has on a child, I wonder how much damage I'd already done? Thankfully this film doesn't preach, but instead carves a place in your heart using a fantastic cast of children, each telling their own story, while David leads you by the hand through his crusade. There is nothing more effective to a mama than hearing it from the mouths of babes.

Project Wild Thing doesn't ask you to throw your ipad out the window and become a recluse in the woods, but rather invigorates you to make a pledge to #wildtime, swapping screen for green and step outside the box. The campaign cleverly uses current technology to help you plan your time spent outdoors through the use of their free downloadable app, with fun ideas ranging from Grass Blade Whistles – remember those? – to Dinosaur Beach Hunts. All you need to do is put in the amount of time you have to spend outside and the app will give you ideas in return. Simple as that.

Recently I wrote a post about enjoying our urban playground, with the idea that slowing down allows us to see more beauty in our everyday surroundings. Moving away from the idea that nature has to be woodlands, meadows and mountains, I will be posting some ideas around mindfulness and how changing our perception can change the way we engage with our surroundings on our doorstep.

Project Wild Thing is more than just a film, it is a growing movement led by organisations and individuals who care deeply about engaging with nature and the benefits your kids will get from playing outdoors. With organisations such as The National Trust, RSPB, Woodland Trusts, NHS, Play England and many more backing this campaign, Project Wild Thing is forging the way forward for happy, healthy kids in the 21st Century. So please help spread the word, share a story, pledge your support on the website and make this campaign be heard in every school yard, parents group, planning office, city hall, with friends and family. Head over to their website and pledge your support by clicking on the join button and register as a Wild Thing.

This weekend I'm hoping to get wild with the lovely Oyster & Pearl, Little Green Shed and Bristol Parenting Cafe as part of our pledge to get out into nature.

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38 comments

  1. I have seen the trailers and I hope that the film is aired on television at some point to reach an even wider audience. We get outside every day, in all weathers, and we walk to school. If for some reason we miss that outside time I notice a change in behaviour which shows me that persevering with some wild time is very important. Enjoy your wild times at the weekend.

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    1. The film is definitely worth watching, you can also stream it from your computer. If you click the link under the frog picture it should take you to a site that lets you stream the film. I'm glad to hear you get outside whatever the weather, F certainly goes a bit loopy of he hasn't had any time outdoors x

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  2. What a lovely initiative. We do try to spend as much time outside as possible but I am guilty of wanting to hibernate when it's a bit rainy. I love the idea of the dinosaur beach hunt, my 3 would love that! (that first picture made me shriek slightly!!)

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    1. haha yes the picture does make me feel a bit squeamish :) I think any campaign that gets people back outside and into nature is a good one. x

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  3. Such an important post. Children have so much less time to "be", to dream, think, invent, imagine, play - we book up their every minute and plan each and every day. This coming summer I have decided to do so much less - from boredom comes initiative ;)

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    1. Your so right, a lot of kids time these days is being rushed around from here to there, fitting in with parents busy schedules. I love the idea of being able to go away for the whole summer where is it warm and the kids can just explore. x

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  4. I still need to see this - was ill when it was showing at my local art cinema - as it seems like such a beautiful and inspiring film and outdoor play is huge in our house and very important to all our wellbeing

    Laura x

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    1. You can stream this online and all the proceeds go direct to the campaign which is great! I hope you get a chance to see it, I found it very inspiring and has certainly made me plan in some more outdoor time x

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  5. That is a worrying statistic. Such a great idea to get everyone out and about exploring the 'wild'!

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    1. I know I couldn't believe it when I first saw the statistic, quite shocking really. x

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  6. What a great post a shocking statistic. Puts me in even more of a determined state of mind regarding a recent big decision we made.

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    1. Such a shocking statistic. It definitely is making me rethink how we spend out time. I'm glad you found it useful, good luck in your big decision! x

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  7. oh i used to love spending time outdoors as a child, even if it was just in the back garden. it's worrying that not enough kids get out these days! so much more fun than just sitting at a computer or playing video games!

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    1. I know what you mean, I used to love playing outside all day when I was a kid. We mainly used to play in the garages down by my nanna's house and even that was a fun filled day with friends x

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  8. Love the trailer and it has got me thinking about our own effort as a family to get out. I'm going out tomorrow now :)

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    1. As soon as I saw it I made a mental note of what outdoor activity we could do that weekend. can't wait to go and explore x

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  9. I watched the film a little while ago and agree its an inspiring piece. I often wonder though if these films are preaching to the converted? For example I watch a lot of films about natural parenting, birth etc and I always go away feeling like we can really change things, but then I wonder that the only people who are going to see the films are people who have that point of view anyway! That's not to say that they aren't great pieces though, I guess I'm just musing about these things in general! xx

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    1. It's very true that to begin with only parents who have an interest in the outdoors, nature or even child development might want to watch this, I suppose that's the hope of the campaign growing and gaining momentum, so it eventually becomes mainstream viewing or goes nationally into schools. I know a few people who think that 5 hours of TV for there three year old is fine. I think small steps with this and the hopes that it changes one person's view at a time. xx

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  10. I'm so excited to see this next week, ever since the trailer came out! Think it's such an important message and one that I think we're trying to live by so far, especially taking the time to go out for walks as a family. Can't wait to see it!

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    1. I'm excited for you to see it and hear what you think! I've been loving some of the walks you guys have been doing recently x

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  11. I need to see this too. I do try to get my kids outdoors often - although it can be hard when the weather's rubbish. Will be planning for more wild time.

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    1. So true that it's hard to make the effort when it's pouring down, although I did try to go out even when it's drizzling. I love the scandinavian outlook that 'there is no bad weather, only bad clothes'. Here's to more outdoor time in 2014! x

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  12. Outdoor time is so important. Thankfully I have a little boy who demands it so we are out often xx

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    1. It's great to hear you get outdoors, my boy is the same he goes a bit loopy if he's kept in all day x

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  13. This is such a motivating post. I am guilty of using 'urban' as an excuse to not get out more. This has inspired me already.

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    1. I'm so pleased it has inspired you to spend more time outdoor, I think everyone can benefit from some outdoor play. Felix loves being outside too x

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  14. This is such a great initiative - I just wish more public open spaces would have wheelchair accessible routes so we could enjoy them too. Look forward to seeing what everyone else gets up to though :-)

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    1. It is so true that more outdoor areas should have wheelchair access, I hope you manage to find some fun places to go and explore in your area x

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  15. 5% is shocking and sad, but I know our percentage would be quite low during winter although in summer we spend loads of time outdoors. The film sounds interesting, would like to have a watch of it

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    1. You can stream the film online and all proceeds go to the campaign.The link under the main picture can take you a site to download the film. It is such a sad statistic, but they do provide a good message of not labelling weather with negative connotations. Like 'what a miserable day' I used to do that all the time but now I'm starting to use my words more carefully as I know it's programming F for when he's older. Summer is the best time for outdoor play though x

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  16. Wow that is scary - I was lucky enough to grow up in a cul-de-sac where we had a little park at the bottom and as it didn't have anything more than a see-saw baby swing and climbing frame as equipment no one from out of the road unless friends with one the kids I couldn't image it being anyway else. x

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    1. It's great to have had a defined play space even in built up areas. I used to love playing around my nanna's streets when I was a kid x

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  17. 5% wow, that's just shocking!
    I guess all the modern technology is to blame... and of course lazy parents :-(

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    1. Crazy ay! I think modern technology has a huge part to play and people finding it hard to get a balance between the convenience of technology and time away from the screen x

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  18. 5% such a shame.....I am trying to get the girls outdoor more but must admit I do start hibernating a bit in winter

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    1. It's so easy to do when it's wet and grey, I struggle with the rain but still try to do outdoor time in any other weather x

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  19. Outdoor play is something I am passionate about. Plus it is good fun too! :)

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    1. It is so much fun isn't it! It makes you feel like a kid again x

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