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Outdoor Family Camping 2022

camping, Camping gear, Camping hacks, families, GetOutdoors, Green Farm Kent, Hackney Today, Love Outdoor Play, Outdoor Family Camping -

Outdoor Family Camping 2022

Want your children to love being outdoors? Then get them outdoors!

"This is the best thing I've done with my kids all year"

"I loved the night walk. Scary. But fun"

"I love the swings!"

In 2022 we had two glorious weeks camping in a woodland in Kent. Perfect for families to spread their camping wings, for children to be explorers, for parents to relax. 

For half of the families, it was their first time camping, creating memories that will last a lifetime. Other families were returning for their second or third trip. Their task was to help the new families settle in, while reliving their own memories and honing their camping skills!

On arrival Farmers Martin and Maryann introduced us to Green Farm, our home for the next five days. It's an organic, small farm with cows, chickens and pigs.

Feeding the animals was something we all enjoyed, learning more about the delights and challenges of farming in ways that are in harmony with the planet.

The various types of poo turned out to be an important topic - what kind of animals created it, and how it fertilised the land...!

On Tuesday evening we finally brought out the marshmallows to roast over flames...for most families, it was their first experience of cooking over fire! 

Over the week, there would be plenty of opportunities to have a go at cooking over an open fire, or on a gas-fuelled cooker. 

Plurenden Manor Dairy gave us delicious milk from their dairy farm (as sustainable as possible) from cows who are outdoors and grass-fed.

For most of us it was the first time we found out about how milk arrives at our breakfast table! 

On the Wednesday we went on a night walk... we walked into the forest to listen, smell, sense our way through. We faced our fears and then celebrated with a massive howl to the moon!

Getting more opportunities for outdoor play is one of the main reasons to join our Family Camping week. All the children have hours to make dens, share stories, make music, dig in dirt...

No-one telling them what to do, just called together when its time to eat or share their day's adventures.

For parents and carers the week was a big adventure, a chance to let go and watch how much their children loved just being in nature.

Every night we gathered around the fire to share our journeys, stories and fears, to learn from each other and just relax.

Learning to put up tents, cook over fires and make cosy nests can be an incredibly empowering experience. By the end of the week everyone felt more capable and confident about going outdoors. 

We ate together most evenings making meals in a big communal kitchen.

For breakfasts and lunches, families could cook for themselves, with a range of meal options - from vegetables and noodles to fire roasted potatoes; toast and jam and boiled eggs. The last evening is always pizza night - all made by us, from scratch with vegetables from the community garden! 


And then pack down... Green Farm has dedicated secure storage for our gear,  donated over the years by our partner organisations - Marmot, Thermarest and Vango. We literally couldn't have done this without them!

We also couldn't have got here without grants from the National Lottery, It's Great Out There, Arcteryx and Hackney Council, with ongoing financial support from Green Farm themselves, donations through our crowdfunder and of course from every sale in our shop.

Our partnership with Pearce Coggan/Green Farm has been pivotal, giving us the perfect campground and all the pieces that make a semi-wild camp like this possible, from wood for the fires to running water. They hold weekly coffee mornings and fundraise in so many ways to support these inner-city families enjoy outdoor family camping. 

And lastly, and definitely not least, huge thanks to the volunteers - the families that came back to help new families; the experienced campers who shared their knowledge; Claire who drives the minibus and is a total rock; the playworkers who give parents a break and look after the fire.; the cooks, quartermasters and volunteers that help us recycle meticulously! We really could not do this without you all!

But mostly to the mums, dads, aunts and carers who have trusted us to take them to a farm in Kent and thrown themselves into laying down amazing memories with their kids...

Thank you!

The woods have stilled and the sound of children's laughter is only an echo on the wind. Fairyland returns to the birds, the frogs, the cattle and insects.. and maybe a few fairies come back out to play.

Until next time!


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