Make a ‘wild time’ resolution to last a lifetime

Tuesday 31st December 2013

cpt ChrisTaylorPhotography.com

Families are being encouraged to revolutionise their New Year’s resolutions by swapping some of their daily screen time for wild time.

The Wildlife Trusts, one of a thousand member organisations in The Wild Network [1], is urging people to get behind this new campaign. The Network, aims to reconnect kids with nature and outdoor play, echoing The Wildlife Trusts’ work to help children discover nature, outdoor learning and play.

With the average resolution lasting just nine days [2], the Wild Network has created five free and fun ‘Wild Time resolutions’ to keep your family’s mind and body healthy throughout the year.

David Bond, Director of the documentary film, Project Wild Thing, which focuses on the increasingly fragile connection between children and nature, said:  “This campaign is all about a fresh approach to the most common New Year’s resolutions. 

“Why make promises that you can’t or don’t really want to keep when you can develop your own ‘Wild Time’ resolutions that are fun, free and will make the whole family feel good?

“Resolutions can be positive, simple promises that you can stick to. Start by swapping 30 minutes of your children’s daily screen time for 30 minutes of wild time or coming up with ideas that you can do together every weekend.”

To help families stick to their promises, the Wild Network has developed a free Smartphone app. The ‘Wild Time’ app is packed with fun and easy suggestions of how to get your 30 minutes of wild time a day [3].  The Wildlife Trusts also has an app, called Nature Finder, a fabulous guide to thousands of nature reserves and wildlife across the UK.

The Wild Network’s top five ‘wild time’ resolutions have been designed to help families reconnect with nature in the New Year.  The list of free activities is based on the most commonly made (and broken) resolutions, using simple ideas that can be developed throughout the year. 

The Wild Network’s list of New Year’s resolutions

1. SPEND MORE TIME WITH FAMILY: When making Project Wild Thing, David Bond spoke to hundreds of children about what they liked doing. Overwhelmingly they wanted to spend time outdoors with their family [5]. Why not have a Smartphone or tablet computer amnesty once a week when you can turn them off, lock them away and take the ‘wild-time’ pledge to spend more time outdoors?

2. SAVE MONEY: Time outdoors is fun, free and good for you. Going to the park costs nothing and is guaranteed to make you feel a lot better than spending the afternoon in front of the telly. There are loads of ideas of how to get your wild time on the free wild time app and you can download the free Wild Time voucher to give to your kids from http://projectwildthing.com/wildtime.

3. EXERCISE MORE: Why go to the gym when there’s a perfectly good park down the road? Kids who play outdoors are fitter, calmer and happier than those stuck indoors. You could join a local green gym and work out whilst saving the environment! [6]

4. READ MORE BOOKS: This is the most commonly made New Year’s resolution [7]. Make your reading more interesting by taking your books outside! Check out the ‘Read Out’ activity on the Wild Time App to feel inspired.

5. BE MORE CURIOUS: Look up and rediscover the nature around you. Why not write a nature journal as a family, keeping a diary of what you see and do during the year; keep a memory tin of the best things you discover along the way.

To take part in the online debate and to tell us your New Year’s resolutions, head over to the Facebook page or use the hashtag #wildtime. 

[1] The Wild Network was launched on 25 Sept 2013.  A thousand organisations, large and small, and thousands of individuals, have come together to create a movement whose aim is to reconnect kids with nature and outdoor play. Details on how to get involved can be found here and you can also see a list of organisations involved here.   Members include the Woodland Trust, The Wildlife Trusts, National Trust, RSPB, Play England, Scouts Association, Swarm and the NHS Sustainable Development Unit.

[2] In 2012, a survey by allabouthealth.org found that most British adults give up their Resolutions only nine days into the New Year.

[3] The free Wild Time App can be downloaded on the App and Google Play Stores. Details of how to download the app can be found here

[4] Project Wild Thing is available to download or buy on DVD.  More information is available at: http://projectwildthing.com/film.

[5] UNICEF researchers looked at factors affecting child wellbeing in the United Kingdom, Spain and Sweden. Across the three countries, wellbeing ‘centres on time with a happy, stable family, having good friends and plenty of things to do, especially outdoors.’ (Ipsos MORI and Dr Agnes Nairn, Children’s Well-being in the UK, Sweden and Spain: the role of inequality and materialism, 2011) 

[6] The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) charity runs green gym sessions nationwide. These offer people physical activities (like digging, lifting and weeding) that also help improve the local environment.  The TCV website lists local groups. 

[7] Reading more books came out top in LA Fitness’s 2012 poll of people’s New Year’s Resolutions

Tagged with: Wildlife Watch, Outdoor learning, The WildNetwork