National Children’s Day 2013: let children’s imagination run wild

Today, 15th May, is National Children’s Day UK. The day celebrates childhood and right of all children to be able to develop – naturally and happily – to their full potential.

In a piece on the Trust’s Outdoor Nation blog earlier this week, Hattie Garlick, director of the Save Childhood Movement, wrote of the importance of giving children the freedom to let their imaginations run wild and their creativity flourish. Adults, Hattie claims, need to recognise and value children’s creative instinct.

‘National Children’s Day, she writes, ‘is about making sure that, at least one day a year, we stop to appreciate and liberate that instinct in our kids’.

‘It’s the easiest call to arms ever issued to adults’, she adds. ‘On May 15th, simply step back and let them take the creative lead, wherever that ends up.’

Children playing in the garden at Penrhyn Castle, Gwynedd, Wales.

Children playing in the garden at Penrhyn Castle, Gwynedd, Wales. ©National Trust Images/Arnhel de Serra

National Children’s Day UK is a new initiative of the Save Childhood Movement, a partnership created to address fears that currently exist about poor child wellbeing in the UK. The National Trust is one of the organisations supporting the movement.

The National Trust is fully supportive of National Children’s Day UK’s aim to get children outside and into their neighbourhoods. We are working to try and enable children to get outside and forge a strong bond with nature. We are deeply concerned about the growing trend described in last year’s Natural Childhood report of children spending less time outdoors in nature than their forebears.

Earlier this month the National Trust re-launched its list of 50 things to do before you’re 11¾. A list of fifty outdoor mini-adventures, it aims to get children active outside and spark an interest in nature. From making a mud pie to searching for creatures in a rock-pool, there a plenty of things to fire children’s imagination and creativity.

We are proud to be part of The Wild Network. Founded by the RSPB, AMV BBDO, BritDoc Foundation, National Trust, NHS Sustainable Development Unit, Play England, Play Wales, Play Scotland, Playboard Northern Ireland and Green Lions, the Wild Network is a new partnership of organisations committed to creating a movement to connect children with nature. Over the next three years The Wild Network will be supporting a series of projects and campaigns aimed at ensuring children in the UK have the opportunity to forge a close bond with nature. The Network’s first project is a new, feature-length documentary film, Project Wild Thing. Released this summer, the film follows director David Bond as he investigates whether children in this country are becoming disconnected from their natural environment and, if so, what can be done about it. You can follow his progress through his weekly blog on Outdoor Nation.

To celebrate imagination and creativity this National Children’s Day, why not share your childhood memories of playing in nature. We’d love to hear from you via twitter (@NTExtAffairs).

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