Smiling like Sunshine: Project Wild Thing:Reconnecting Kids with Nature

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Project Wild Thing:Reconnecting Kids with Nature

It is a beautiful autumn day today and my kids have just gone to the park nearby with their grandma.  It is half term holiday here and this half term marks the second anniversary of my son's time without television.
I don't know how you feel about young children watching television but personally I think children younger than three should not watch TV, not at all. After the age of three, it should be very limited with a careful selection of what they watch. With our first child, Defne (almost 7 yo) we were pretty good at it. She only started watching TV when she was just about to turn 3 and she was good at switching it off when we asked her to do so. However with my son Derin (almost 4yo) things did not go according to the plan. Because he had an older sister, he started watching it much earlier. Having two kids, it is much easier to give in, as I had some uninterrupted time for myself or to catch up with the housework. But at some point, things got pretty bad. Derin used to have huge meltdowns when we wanted to switch it off.
Then one night, together with my husband, we decided that it was enough.  We decided to tell them the TV is out of order and that was it! No tears, no tantrums at all. It was not a big deal. In time, Derin learnt playing more with his toys, reading more books,spending more time in the garden or resting, without doing anything. For the last 3-4 months, we have started letting him watch a DVD on the computer or watch some cartoons or songs on Youtube or Cbeebies Iplayer. He is now good at switching it off after half an hour or so. I am so happy that we have been able to reach to this point where screens are not an important part of their lives.They know  about all about the computers and ipads,can use them independently  but they have learnt to turn them off and get back to their play, to their books,into the garden, the things that are soo important at this period of their lives.
I know there is still room for improvement to spend more time in the great outdoors.
The newly formed Wild Network is launching the biggest ever campaign to reconnect kids with nature and outdoor play. Their goal is to get parents to swap their kids’ screen time for ‘wild time’: playing outdoors and spending time in the natural world. The Wild Network is made up of more than 370 organisations, including RSPB, the NHS, Wildlife Trust, Scout Association and The National Trust, whose fabulous ’50 Things to do Before You’re 11 3/4’ campaign, was a great project as well.
1$_AW_Project Wild Thing

The centrepiece of the  campaign is  the Project Wild Thing: A film directed by David Bond. He is the father of two young children and like us, he is not happy that his children spend a huge amount of their time in front of a screen,watching TV, or playing with Ipad. He tries to find out why his daughter finds it so relaxing.In a bid to get his daughter and son off the sofa and outdoors, filmmaker and father David Bond appoints himself as the Marketing Director for Nature.  He wants his brand – nature – to stand out from the crowd of brands competing for their attention.  I have just watched this moving documentary. 

The film is now available at selected cinemas with an option to stage your own screen. You can also read about it on Project Wild Thing or you can download their app to get inspired by ideas to do outdoors. 

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