Who let the kids out?

We had a holiday last week in the north western Lake District.  We stayed in a superb old cottage, in a remote area next to a small wood.  The cottage was semi detached, and our neighbours were the owners (a family with 3 boys similar in age to our boys). There was no WiFi signal, and hardly any phone signal, and the tv didn’t work all that well; all good news to my ears. So, aside from the walks we did in ferocious winds, hail, rain, sun and a touch of snow, and bike rides with freezing feet, entertainment was reading books, or playing with the boys next door. The boys went off into the fields next to us and the wood beyond, finding their own fun with sticks, moss, mud and stones.  One day they were gone for a couple of hours at a stretch, and when we went looking for them, they were safe and sound of course, busy saving injured crows and building a nest for them, throwing stones in a pond, planting hazelnuts, running around with their puppy, and visiting a windmill. It was heartening to see that children have the sense and ability to create exciting ways of passing time, given the space and rein to do so. If we give our children the chance to get out and play with some independence if possible, then we can trust they will gain meaningful experience and become more handy, resourceful and active. It is also good for them to realise that life away from ‘screens’ is rewarding, invigorating and a whole bunch of fun.