We live in England, so of course as a gift to all parents, and a bit of a tradition, the first day of half-term (mid-term holiday) it started to rain – in epic fashion. On days like this we normally prefer to stay indoors, play with arts ‘n’ crafts, read some stories and try to resist putting on the TV for as long as possible, so I was incredibly glad that we had been invited to take part on a day with the Outdoors Project, an after-school/holiday club organisation that promotes play outdoors.
If you have an outdoors-y or adventurous child, or if you think your child could do with being outside a bit more then this is for you. Have a read and see if our experiences match your expectation, and if so, do give it a go – this is a great company.
OUR EXPERIENCE WITH THE OUTDOORS PROJECT HOLIDAY CLUB
OUR MORNING BEGAN BRIGHT AND EARLY. My son, eager to begin his holiday activity, was dressed and ready to go by 8am – slightly unusual! He was excited, anxious and curious to see what this was all about.
We arrived at the meeting place at 10am, to find a group of excited kids (and parents!) who despite the rain were all geared-up for the day ahead. My son was one of the youngest, visibly a tad apprehensive and shy, and not quite sure what he should be doing (have a look at the photo below). I felt a bit sorry for him – it’s never easy to do this sort of thing as a child (well, not even as an adult!) and I imagine his stomach was filled with butterflies, even if he didn’t say anything to me.
We signed some forms, put his packed lunch and change of clothes under the tarpaulin, and waved goodbye, although I actually got to watch from a distance for a little bit whilst taking some photos.
TIP: Pack some wellies, just in case. I had to dash home to pick some up for the kiddo as his trainers, socks and feet were soaked within minutes!
The instructors got all the children in the mood, playing zombie games and tag. The kids started making friends, and played along full of energy and laughter. I’m not quite sure what happened next, but it looked fun from where I was standing hiding from the rain. They were spending time wandering around the park, looking at the leaves on trees, the squirrels, the pond, and shouting out answers to questions, so there was clearly an educational aspect to the day beyond playing zombies.
When I returned to the park after lunch, they were playing nerf games, and quite honestly having the time of their lives. They all seemed to be absolutely loving it in spite of the weather. They were attuned to their surroundings, exploring the park, playing in mud – probably rather cold, but most importantly to me as a parent, the kids were all smiling, as were the instructors. Positive energy despite what I imagine was quite a tough (physically) day with the rain and mud – awesome.
By the end of the day, my little boy wasn’t so little anymore. He was being all chummy with the grown-up instructors, cracking jokes with the other kids, and full of beans. His confidence grew tremendously in the course of one day, something I didn’t really expect. And he truly had one of his best days out ever. When I asked him how it went he shouted: ‘Can we come EVERYDAY?!’ I wish buddy, I wish.WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT BOOKING A HOLIDAY CLUB WITH THE OUTDOORS PROJECT
The Outdoors Project holiday club has a range activities throughout the holidays which you can choose from, including nerf games and a ninja warriors assault course, which is what we chose to do on our rainy half-term day.
.1: It’s going to be awesome and your kid will want to do it every holiday, or after-school, or at the weekend, or on their birthday, all of which you can actually do!
.2: The clubs run for children between the ages of 5 and 12 years old. They run in all weathers (clearly!) and of course are all outdoors. Local to us in Brighton and Hove are St Ann’s Well Gardens, Hove Park and Queens Park, but clubs run in West Sussex and Bristol too.
.3: You’ll need to give your child a packed lunch, and a change of clothes. If it’s raining heavily, do pack wellies and a good raincoat.
.4: Did I hear you say Fundays? Yes, the Outdoors Project run a Sunday club in Mac Farm in Ditchling, an organic farm in the South Downs National Park.
.5: Not only will your child have the time of their life, it’s wonderful to see their self confidence grow, as well as their love and understanding of nature.
.6: Sessions need to be pre-booked and pre-paid, which you can do online.
nb: This post has been written in collaboration with the Outdoors Project. I received a day’s activity in exchange for this post, but as always all opinions, muddy shoes, wet hair and grin are my child’s and my own.