What we're about
If you are a parent with young children and are looking to rekindle your family's relationship with nature and have great fun whilst at it, then you have come to the right place. You can sign up for our meetups and come along with your kids, without the stress of organizing and entertaining the children all day by yourselves.
If you are already an outdoor-focused parent, brimming with ideas of things to do outdoors with kids and would love to pass the bug on to other families, you have come to the right place. We are always looking for parents like you to join the team.
If you are an outdoor professional in any outdoors activities such as hiking, climbing, sailing, kayaking, biking etc. and think, your values and mission resonates with ours, and would like to team up with us in creating more outdoor opportunities for families, then if you have come to the right place. We compensate appropriately for all qualified professionals, including parents of the club.
We are the only family outdoors meetup group in UK.
We are passionate about getting all kids and their parents outside. The secret mantra behind our existence is : Children need Children. By hosting organised outdoor activities and days out, families can come together, make friends, have more fun and less stress, and also avail of discounts and benefits that are available for groups.
We are essentially a platform for parents and outdoors professionals, where they can propose ideas, create meetups and participate in outdoor activities.
What do we do
To achieve our mission to get kids and their parents outdoors more, we :
- Organise fun outdoor family days out over the weekends and school holidays, with focus on spending as much time as possible outdoors. They are planned with great consideration to ensure most of the logistics is taken care of in advance for busy parents, so you just turn up and have an adventure with your children.
- Encourage and support other parents around the UK to host similar meetups in their area - Provide a forum for parents to discuss and get ideas, tips, reviews about outdoor places to explore not just in UK, but also away on their holidays
- Provide a platform for outdoor professionals around the UK to host family-friendly outdoor workshops/events, so that parents can go to one place to find opportunities to take their kids outdoors
Who we are
We are a a group of families who like to spend more time outdoors and have fun whilst at it.
We were walking, hiking and spending time outdoors as part of various hiking groups. We were acutely aware of how being outdoors makes one feel calmer, at peace and also bestows a sense of achievement. As a parent, when you experience something so enriching, you want to pass it on to your children too.
The crispness of the air, the clarity of the water, the vastness of the space, the sheer beauty of the landscape - we wanted these to be part of our children's childhood. We knew with personal experience that being with nature will aid them to find a joy within - a precious life skill that will help make their lives happier in the long run.
More we digged into it, we found years of research worldwide, resonating with our own experience - Experts and scholars proving that not only being outdoors benefits young kids in many different ways, but also the current lack of time outdoors is said to be a cause of a number of growing concerns in young children - stress, anxiety, lack of focus, obesity, low cardio-respiratory fitness, vitamin D deficiency and even ADHD.
We are a non-profit initiative and 100% of the payments go towards the expenses of organising meetups, such as : Tickets, entrance fees, guide fees, meetup fees and so on. We strive to keep our costs to minimal to that we make our meetups more affordable.
You can also follow us on facebook : http://www.facebook.com/groups/takekidsoutdoors
Why are families not able to spend enough time outdoors?
If we look back at our childhood, I am sure most of us will have memories of outdoors. Unfortunately, this is one thing that our generation has benefitted from, that we are not able to pass on to the next generation.
As per research commissioned by Planet Ark, in 2011, in Australia, 73% respondents reported playing outdoors more often than indoors when they were young as compared to only 13% of their children. 64% reported climbing trees when they were children as compared to less than 20% of their children.
There were several such studies conducted worldwide, telling a very similar story.
As per National trust study in 2013,called Natural Childhood, less than one in 10 children regularly played in wild spaces, it said, compared to half of children a generation ago
In 2016, as per the research conducted by National trust found that children were playing outside for just over four hours a week, compared to 8.2 hours a week when the adults questioned were children.
So nothing much has changed in last 5-6 years, other than increase in the screen time in children, which has further declined the time spent outdoors. Three-quarters of UK children now spend less time outside than prison inmates!
National trust research also revealed that nine out of 10 parents would prefer their children to spend their childhood outdoors, developing a connection with nature! So while so many of us would want to take our kids outdoors, why are we not doing it?
Here are some of the reasons, we have collated :
• Living in and around cities like London, means, getting to the countryside is less accessible
• With all the extra-curricular activities and clubs for kids on the weekends mean even less time for families to spend together
• It becomes even more difficult for both the parents to find time together. And for a single parent, the idea of taking the child out walking for hours may seem overwhelming.
• Families with younger children find it stressful to go out walking, worrying when the little one will give up and rest of the day might turn out to be exhausting
• Going on your own with the little one in woodlands and open spaces in new locations, away from civilization may sound daunting and even unsafe.
• The famous british weather is not exactly encouraging either! Parents worry about getting their children ill.
Why go with take kids outdoors
Take kids outdoors is your answer to most of these challenges, making it very easy to take your kids outdoors.
• We know the best bits of natural Britain that are still easy to get to from London, and that are fun for both children and adults.
• We do the organizing, take care of most of the logistics, so that you and your kids can just turn up
• We strive to include some time on our days out of unstructured play, where children can just roam, run, explore and play freely
• Having fun is important. And we have found that engaging with nature in its elements is almost always fun, with some age appropriate activities kids to do. Each of our meetup includes a mission. Every child completing the mission, earns a badge. When a child wins five badges, they get a prize.
• Children need children. With other children of similar age group, seemingly boring days out become the most memorable and fun. On our meetups, we have seen that the children just keep on going, when they have other children and no boundaries of time and space....sometimes its the adults who struggle to keep up!
• Children make new friends and adults do too. Meeting other parents of the kids of similar age group means grownups are share the pain and feel connected.
• Parents can relax and enjoy as well, as children are able to enjoy with other children without needing a parent constantly engaged. Single parent families, single child families, families with children with large age gap, particularly find the Take kids outdoors meetups as an opportunity to breathe easy.
• Our events give an opportunity to parents to introduce outdoors in their lives as well. Our members often talk about how the meetup re-energises them and makes them feel calm and peaceful for many weeks afterwards
• We take safety seriously. All our meetups have a qualified first-aider on. Sadly, the outdoors always presents risks but through our experience, training and careful planning, we do our best to minimise those. Refer to our Safeguarding policy (https://www.meetup.com/Takekidsoutdoors/pages/25848638/Terms_and_conditions/) and safeguarding guide (https://www.meetup.com/Takekidsoutdoors/pages/25848610/Safeguarding_guide_for_group_members/) for group members to know more.
• We are able to negotiate special benefits such as guided talks or private tours with our partners, which will be difficult get in the same price, if you were to go on your own.
• We strive to keep our costs down and make the meetups affordable for everyone. Our meetups are probably the most cost effective across all outdoor oriented meetups in the area, even in comparison to the adult meetups
• On our journey, we have built partnerships with so many inspirational people and organisations, with vast knowledge of the local area, love for British countryside and passion for outdoors. We use these partnerships to create creative itineraries that make our days out even more irresistible.
Why it is so great to take your kid outdoors
The American writer Richard Louv, author of the bestseller Last Child in the Woods, has defined the phenomenon as "nature deficit disorder". Something "very profound" has happened to children's relationship with nature over the last couple of decades, he says, for a number of reasons.
A growing body of evidence is starting to show that it's not so much what children know about nature that's important, as what happens to them when they are in nature. Respectable scientists – doctors, mental health experts, educationalists, sociologists – are beginning to suggest that when kids stop going out into the natural world to play, it can affect not just their development as individuals, but society as a whole
Children who spend more time outdoors
Have more fun
• Going on an adventure with mum and dad and finding the wonder in the little things along the way is a wonderful way to create lasting memories.
Are Physically fitter
• Walking and playing outside helps to build strong bones and good fitness levels. The varied terrain helps to develop motor skills such as agility, balance and coordination.
• Being in the sunshine, even in winter, means children naturally absorb vital vitamin D, which helps build strong bones, improves immunity and is proven to help improve moods and create a positive mental attitude.
Are mentally stronger and happier
• Being in nature help decrease children’s stress levels by offering them an escape from life's daily routine. Their mind remembers how to manage stress better even when they grow up.
• Attention Restoration Theory (http://positivepsychologyprogram.com/attention-restoration-theory-nature-lets-solve-problems/) poses that urban environments require “directed attention”, which forces us to ignore distractions and exhausts our brain. In natural environments, we practice an easy type of attention known as “soft fascination” that is relaxing.
• Playing outdoors helps kids feel happier and calmer and encourages children to get rid of built up energy, particularly if they tend to be fidgety when sitting for long periods of time.
• Even five minutes' "green exercise" can produce rapid improvements in mental wellbeing and self-esteem, with the greatest benefits experienced by the young, according to a study at the University of Essex(2010)
Are more confident
• Children gain experience in dealing with new situations, and those situations turn out to be fun! This helps them develop the confidence to approach other new situations in life and will help them feel confident in their own ability to handle the unknown.
• Outdoor activities can help children to learn to push their boundaries and become good at risk assessment. It also teaches them to explore new games and become confident in learning to try new things without being guided by adults.
Academically better performanant
•The combination of release of built up energy and inner calmness, by being outdoors, has proved to improve focus. Children with ADHD concentrate better after a walk in the park.
• Playing outside encourages children to think of learning as an ongoing fun process instead of just something done in the classroom. Being out in nature fosters a sense of curiousness, as well as improving attention spans.
• Free and unstructured play outdoors boosts problem-solving skills and self-discipline
• Nature activates all the senses—you can see, hear, smell, and touch (and dare we say taste) outdoor environments.
• Playing outdoors encourages children’s creativity. They can think more freely, invent their own games, and approach the world in inventive ways.
"For some people, a stick is just a stick. But for a stick found in the wild by a child, the possibilities are endless. It can be a pen, a sword, a witch’s broom, a dragon’s bone ... Anything"
-- Musician and Game Of Thrones star, Raleigh Ritchie
Better at social skills, more positive and self-aware
• As outdoor spaces are usually less crowded than indoors, it is less intimidating and helps children to naturally come out of their shells and be more social. This means that children will be more willing to join in games and activities, and they will also be more likely to talk to different children and make new friends.
• Children who play outside engage in more imaginative games, which naturally leads them to communicate with each other more. This helps children learn how to work in groups, including learning how to share, how to negotiate and how to resolve conflicts. It is known to boost co-operation, flexibility and self-awareness.
In love with nature and agents for preserving it for future generations
• Children who spend time outdoors, learn to appreciate the importance of it. They build a genuine connection and affinity with nature and therefore more likely to protect the environment when the grow up.
If you are interested in finding out more, here are several resources including videos, articles, blogs and research from around the world, where more and more people and organisations are screaming loudly about taking our kids outdoors.
PROJECT WILD THING - Official Trailer (https://youtu.be/0JuT43kaoUg)