50 Things: #1, #4 & #34 (Country Kids)

Children in the UK are the unhappiest kids in the western world.

Really?! Here in the UK?

Sadly, I'm not surprised. As a teacher I'm privy to a great deal of information about the interventions which have to be put into place for vulnerable or depressed children. Depression in children is on the increase, and I think as parent we need to ask ourselves why? Personally I believe that it's because they are more aware of the world around them, they're told of too many problems that exist before they're emotionally capable of dealing with them, and because society is too busy for their needs.

When was the last time you went screen-free for any substantial amount of time and simply played?

Tuesday of this week saw the day going pear-shaped before it had even really started. I was groggy and grumpy, the drone of the fridge, washing machine, dehumidifier and even the turned-off Sky box was getting to me. I stood on one side of the stairgate looking at my screaming and sobbing child stood on the other side, wondering where my rational brain had gone and why I was having an argument with him.

Fifty Things - Tree Climbing

Twenty minutes later.

We had pulled into the car park of the country park with my head still buzzing from the electricity. Having donned our wellies and grabbed our bag of bread for the swans and ducks, we set off in search of the important stuff; fun and happiness. Encircled by hungry swans trying to take bread directly from the bag, I shared the provisions out while The Boy fed the white ducks directly from his hand.

He was cycling around the edge of the lake and towards the park when we found some tracks in the mud.

fifty things - track an animal

This is how we ended up in the woods above, practising our tree climbing. We tracked the horse into the woods, where the ground turned harder and the leaves covered the tracks, however there was a magnificent sweeping bough begging to be straddled! And yes, I climbed the trees to, and it was liberating.

Despite not being able to find any spruce branches, we still managed to build a cracking den, putting into practise the wonderful advice from Rob Cowen of the Natural Childhood campaign. I'm not sure that The Boy understands the concept of twigs though.

Fifty Things - Building a Den

I can't have my child ending up as one of the unhappiest, I just can't. This is why we've signed the pledge to spend as much time outdoors as we do in front of the screen with Project Wild Thing.

Fifty Things To Do Before You're 11 & ¾

  • #1 – Climb a tree
  • #4 – Build a den
  • #34 – Track an animal

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Learning for Life
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Comments

  1. says

    I think the problem is kids expect to much and want want want constantly, never happy unless they have the newest/latest/most up to date phone/trainers/toys. To many parents throw money at their kids instead of time and simple everyday fun – like playing in the woods.

    • TheBoyAndMe says

      I think that's true from a certain age but I don't think that preschoolers are capable of thinking that without having been taught it, so again that's down to parenting. And why do parents shower their children with material goods? Because they're feeling guilty of not spending enough time playing with them, and that's all that children want; to play with their parents.

    • TheBoyAndMe says

      You have to go and have a look, there's a checklist and you can add photos of them doing the 50 things. It's us that doesn't want to go out, not them, and it's not really fair on them. And trust me, I'm guilty of doing this!

  2. says

    3 things ticked off in one outing, nice one! The statisitics are shocking, I too have sighed the pledge in support. To be fair it will be no change for my kids but I am thrilled to see sizable organisations taking on the challenge and pushing the same message I have been for the last 17 months with the statistics and resources to make a difference. I bet you both felt much better and calmer from your adventure to the woods?

    • TheBoyAndMe says

      There were actually four things, the other one was #30 feeding a bird by hand. The Boy handfed the ducks but I didn't get a photo of it!

      I hope you know that I'm still banging the Country Kids drum? It's just now we can use the big organisations to help promote it, and at the end of it we all want our children having fresh air and happiness.

  3. says

    The statistics are very sad. My girls would go stir crazy if they didn't get outside every day. They could live outdoors in all weathers, so we do spend a lot of time outside.

    It looks like you had a brilliant day out in the woods, I love just abandoning the house to go and do fun stuff instead.

    • TheBoyAndMe says

      Aren't they heartbreaking? To me it seems incomprehensible that people would fabricate excuses like 'it's raining and my children don't like the rain' (utter nonsense, all children love getting wet) or 'I don't know where to go'. That's so very sad.

      Thanks for commenting.

    • TheBoyAndMe says

      My pleasure, it amazed me the way our mood changed instantly the moment we were outside. So much better to be outside away from electricity and reconnecting with our world.

  4. says

    Thank you for introducing me to 50 things, I used to do so much as a child i was never indoors, but then there wasn't anything to do indoors (apart from playing with my Barbie doll) even the tv had children's programs at lunch time and for an hour after school only. Me and my cousins used to make some fantastic dens and rope swings in the park.

    • TheBoyAndMe says

      I used to spend all my spare hours outside playing in the garden, even by myself, as a child. Before now The Boy was too little to play independently in the garden, but I think he's old enough now to be supervised from the other end of the garden etc. so he can play unrestricted.

  5. says

    Whoop we have climbed a tree! Granted with a little help from daddy but hey he is only 2! This is such a great cause to promote. I have had that once, the misery and tears and after a bit of fight to get him out once at the park he was a different boy!

    • TheBoyAndMe says

      Oh that's brilliant that you've done that already. And two is very little so there's plenty of time. It was more me that needed to be a different person, rather than him. The fresh air is like a mgic cure.

  6. says

    I love getting out and about with the kids although sometimes it can be hard to get motivated to actually go out. Lovely photos of what looks like a really fun day in the woods.

    • TheBoyAndMe says

      Sometimes the last thing I want to do is go out and about, I just want to curl up on the sofa and watch telly. However, it's always better to go and get in the fresh air, always makes me feel better.

  7. Emma @mummymummymum says

    Fantastic post. We made a den last week too…and sometimes you just have to get out, don't you?

  8. says

    Children and depression are two words I would hope never have to go together, sadly its not true. Well done you for getting out, we try to every day but the better the weather the easier it gets. Loved the den building and thanks for stopping the Outdoor Play Party

  9. Xandi @ The Mummy Scripts says

    That is shocking stuff and so sad to know. I couldn't agree with you more though, sometimes being in the house, TV blaring, washing machine buzzing, children screaming – there really is no better solution to clear all of that out of your ahead that heading outdoors. Looks like you had a wonderful time together x

  10. Alison Johnson says

    It's so true – spending plenty of time in the great outdoors truly is what makes us and our children happy. We need to be a part of a nature, and it's got nothing to do with being a hippy or whatever – it's just a fact! Kids who sit indoors too much, playing games or watching rubbish on TV will not be producing the high levels of "happy chemicals" in the brain that they would do if they played outside (WHATEVER the weather!!!!). The same goes for us adults! How much better, healthier and happier do you feel after exercising outdoors compared to sitting in front of the TV or computer? Sure you can do that stuff – but make sure you've happily exhausted yourself doing your fair share of daily exercise/playing outdoors first!!!!!

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