DO and RECIPE Bare Footing
A simple wander through a summer meadow, insects buzzing, butterflies flitting, grass underfoot is a pleasure every child should indulge in. Use this Saturday’s National Meadows Day as a nudge to get you over the fence and into the long grass. Find a wonderful list of the country’s top fifty meadows here or find out how to make your own mini-meadow here. Don’t forget your picnic; there’s a list of very clever outdoor lockdown lunch tips from experts here (we can’t wait to try a paratha stuffed with kimchi and cheddar!
MAKE Treetop Palaces
Most children dream of their own treehouse; a place to dream, to read, or even to sleep in. At a time when many families are crying out for more space, they can make a valuable retreat for every generation. Off-the-shelf versions can be expensive and samey, so, this locked-down summer, why not build your own? These eleven plans range from the traditional to the modernist – you’re bound to find one that takes your fancy, and, if you don’t have a tree, many work as free-standing buildings. There are more home-made houses and decks here and here. Or be inspired by some of the most spectacularly beautiful treehouses from around the world.
DO and LEARN Explore Your Hood
The last few months have seen us exploring our neighbourhood more deeply than ever. We’ve found nature reserves we didn’t know existed, pockets of wildness filled with butterflies, flowers and plants to forage and eat. We’ve scoured large-scale maps for new pathways and cycle routes, and looked at this historical map overlay site to find long-forgotten ancient monuments and quirky historical sites nearby to explore. Why not try looking for some secret history near you? Atlas Obscura compiles local oddities from a tree trail across Hackney to whirlpools conjured up by witches and trees growing in a mandala of tombstones laid by a famous writer. Find the whole glorious global map of curiosities here and explore this weird world from your desktop.
EVENT and DO War on Waste
Plastic Free July is under way! Originating in Australia, this waste-reducing challenge has now been taken up by families across the globe. Those taking part choose to refuse single-use plastics in order to cut pollution and conserve resources. Sign up to take on the challenge and you’ll get weekly emails with tips and tricks, stories from other participants and inspiration for greener living to take beyond these 31 days. Read inspiring stories here. To help you on your way, use this online zero waste shop finder to track down refill stores and more near you. Green Parent writer, Kathryn Hould took on the challenge two years ago, find how she fared, and her hints and tips here.
DO and MAKE Pavement Gallery
Interactive chalk drawings make the ideal lockdown activity; you’ll flex your creative muscles, get outside, play and have fun across generations, and end up with a fistful of lovely portraits. Be inspired by this American mum who plopped her offspring into seascapes, walking a tightrope over shark-filled waters and into outer space. Scroll down for an excellent sidewalk chalk recipe too. Over at Mother Natured, things get wilder, with some animal-inspired pictures, while you’ll find lots more inspiration here, and a video about the phenomenon here.
What we’ve been listening to this week:
“More time and money is being spent on children than ever before. And it’s a global trend. Professor Tina Miller, who has studied how parenting styles have changed over several decades, considers what this investment in our sons and daughters tells us about the modern world. She considers whether the gold standard of educational achievement goes hand in hand with rising inequality and individualism. What might the unintended consequences be and how difficult is it for parents to opt out?” Listen online here
Found something inspirational to read that you’d like to share? Want to share your lockdown creations with us? Have an idea for things to do? We’d love to hear from you. Email Kate