Updated 27th March
With the rules changing, one thing is certain - you CAN go outdoors!
As spring goes into overdrive spot the tiny changes happening every day.
We recommend listening to this podcast: https://melissaharrison.co.uk/podcast/
Take a listen to this and see if you can hear any of these birds near you yet...
From 29th March
- Keep staying Local
- People will be allowed to meet outside, either with one other household or within the "rule of six", including in private gardens
- Outdoor sport facilities will reopen, including golf courses and tennis and basketball courts
- Parents and children groups can return but are capped at 15 and must be outdoors - so our Wild walks recommence
Now is the to be getting involved in #Springwatch, take a look at Springwatch 2020 to get a headstart on knowing what to look out for...
From 12th April fingers crossed
- Travel restrictions lifted within the UK, but no overnight stays in other people's houses
- Educational visits back on!
- More places to visit open up, and we can exlore a bit further
We recommend listening to Sam Lee's compilation of the highlights of Singing With Nightingales. That series of online concerts really kept us connected last year. The nightingales should be starting to sing wherever there is coppiced blackthorn.
From 17th May more fingers crossed
- People can meet in groups of up to 30 outdoors (so we stop needing bookings for Wild Walks)
- Six people or two households can meet indoors - coffee mornings can start!
- CAMPING SEASON OPENS! Outdoor People team are VERY excited about this.
Find Campsites to book:
Or just decide where and use Google Maps or OS Maps to find camp sites (search 'camping') which should take you to sites individual websites, often the best place to go, especially if you have time to do the research...
Many websites will have pre-pitched bell tents or 'glamping pods', but if you want to buy a tent or hammock set up do go check out our Camping gear.
But for now, below are our 5 top tips for connecting to the outdoors.
So how do I get quality outside time?
The ongoing measures mean the tough job of keeping children healthy and happy, learning, playing, is hard. We’re adding new suggestions to our blogs to keep yourself calm, active and connected to nature every day, as well as some ideas for homeschooling. Hopefully, they contain some useful ideas and strategies to keep you, your family and friends safe and sane over the coming weeks. However, with over 20% of the world’s population in lockdown and over 80% of children not at school, you know you are not alone.
Even when you are stuck inside, battling boredom and a low mood, the tiniest connection with nature (just tending a pot plant) can help with your mental wellbeing. And, for children, playing becomes even more important.
Nature can bring balance and calm. It can be a resource for renewal and respite.
Please ask everyone you know to pay heed to the social distancing message. Social distancing will help limit the spread of the virus, and will mean the most vulnerable among us are not put at risk. It will take some adjusting to this new reality, but the reality is that following these guidelines will save lives and protect the NHS.
Take a break from the media. Keeping up-to-date on developments is important, as the situation is changing daily, but overloading yourself with news and rumours will only increase your anxiety. Turn off your phone and look at ways to connect with nature.
Go for a walk; take your shoes off; stand on some grass; breathe deeply; gaze at a tree for a minute or two and lift your face to the sun.
A hop/walk/skip around the block can give you the calming moments you need, and a chance to notice nature either alone or with your children. Perhaps there's a tree just coming into leaf; a verge that's home to flowers, some native, some which may have escaped from a nearby garden. Explore the streets near to your home, and the pocket parks - you should still be able to take a walk and respect the social distancing rules. Ordnance Survey's Greenspace Map is FREE and we can almost guarantee you can use it to find a green space within 20 minutes of your house that you didn't know was there. A bit of space, a good run around, explore and play is always a good thing, and even more important just now.
Take a look at this blog from BBC News: What to do if you go for a walk and it's crowded?
If you're going outside every day (and we'd suggest it's essential that you do), you'll need some inspiration. You'll probably be familiar with Google Maps and Google Earth (fun learning resources in their own right), but also check out the GoJauntly app, which has hundreds of suggestions for walks, or Plot A Route, which allows you to invent your own.
If you're going to commit part of your day to help with your children's learning, make sure you make time for play – and make sure children know which part of their day is 'their time'. Children need time to process and assimilate learning, have fun, and let off steam.
For children, play can be a way of processing stress and working things through, in a way that is non-threatening (hence the emergence of the 'coronavirus' game in playgrounds, a somewhat darker version of kiss-chase).
You'll want them to keep up with their learning, but when they're playing, they don't need (or necessarily want) an adult to play with. Playing games together is great, but most of the time hanging back is the best thing to do.
The great thing about outdoor play is, all the play resources you need are right there, and they're all free. Logs to leap from; sticks to turn into wands or horses; bugs to watch and birds to spot.
Learning Through Landscapes has created two groups on Facebook, and are starting weekly newsletters with sections aimed at those with children at home or educators setting activities and work for children. Resources, advice, inspiration, support: free to join, just go to ltl.org.uk for more information.
We've moved all the information we've found around homeschooling to our blog post Homeschooling tips to make the indoors easy. There's more and more every day, so we'll update it regularly if you need further inspiration.
5. Thinking about silver linings
We're enjoying such a beautiful spring, warm sunshine, blue skies. The birds are in song, the flowers are beginning to emerge.
What's more, community spirit seems very much alive... in a country that had seemed irrevocably divided only a year ago.
We know it may be weeks before things begin to return to normal, but in other countries the lockdown seems to be having an effect, which gives us hope that in the not too distant future, the situation here will similarly improve.
If you have any questions or feel there's a subject you'd like us to cover in future posts ... please leave a comment and we'll try and find you an answer. Also note, this blog is written from the perspective of a UK-based organisation, if you're visiting us from elsewhere, please follow the appropriate public health guidance within your own state or country.
We'll be updating this blog regularly. Lots of ideas to bring the outdoors indoors to come...