With lockdown and restrictions across the UK, at Mini First Aid we think it is absolutely vital to look after our own mental health, and that of our little people. Reconnecting with nature is one way we can do this, with autumn in our forests providing a colourful backdrop to family fun!
So who better to write our guest blog than the lovely folk at Forestry England? With their forests remaining open for outdoor recreation and exercise, and more land and trees than any other organisation in the country, Forestry England have everything you need to create a magical forest experience for all the family - here are some of their favourite family activities:
Forests for wellbeing
Spending time in forests is good for our wellbeing. A recent survey revealed that 8 in 10 children agree that being in nature makes them feel happy, while 70% of kids said they’d like to spend more time outdoors with their friends after the pandemic. And yet the same survey showed that six in ten children also reported that they have spent less time outdoors since the start of the coronavirus pandemic (Natural England’s People and Nature Survey).
It might be tempting to retreat indoors with the changing season, but with our forests displaying a breath-taking array of colours, autumn is a beautiful season to visit the forest with your family. During autumn the forests are filled with unique sensory experiences which capture our imagination and attention. Engaging with our senses and the sights, sounds, smells and textures of the forest environment can help to reduce stress and help the whole family to relax and recharge. Find your nearest forest and all the information you need to plan your family day out at www.forestryengland.uk
Top 7 things to try on your autumn walk in the forest
Encourage your family to take time to connect with the forest environment. Research suggests that the connection with nature is more important for mental wellbeing than simple exposure to nature. Collecting cones from under conifer trees, searching out fungi hiding amongst fallen leaves, or finding a quiet spot and trying out some forest bathing are all great ways to help your little ones to develop a deeper relationship with nature – whilst having lots of fun!
We’ve pulled together 7 things you can do on your autumn walk
Continuing the connection from home
Trees can help us to think about our lives and all the wonderful things in them. We can think about the nourishment that trees and people need, write down what makes us feel as strong as the supportive trunk of a tree, and picture the branches of a tree growing and spreading, just like our hopes and dreams. Use our free, downloadable Tree of Life activity which can be saved to your phone or printed out at home, to encourage your family to take some time-out and reflect on what’s good in your lives. And for more ‘forests at home’ inspiration, sign up to our monthly newsletter full of activities and free downloads to keep the children busy and to help the whole family remain connected to nature whilst staying at home.
Time out for busy parents
Feeling the need for some time out? Being calm, quiet and observing nature helps us feel more relaxed and with our virtual forest bathing gallery and videos, you can transport yourself to the heart of the forest without leaving the sofa. Sit back, take a deep breath and enjoy…