Adventure. It’s a word you probably know and may often hear but how would you define it? How often do you do it? As a family, what do your adventures look like? Are you comfortable adventuring or do you tend to avoid it? How would your kids describe adventure and when did you last go on one?
If Indiana Jones-style escapades or the necessity for Bear Grylls survival is springing to mind, you’d be right in one respect but not in another. Adventure doesn’t require a journey to the jungle or a life-or-death situation, you don’t even need to get in your car.
Google the definition of ‘adventure’ and you’ll find two descriptions. The first may not come as too much of a surprise: ‘engage in daring or risky activity’ but it’s the other we’re most intrigued by, ‘an unusual and exciting or daring experience.’
An adventure can be as simple as camping out in the back garden, laying on the grass looking up into a star-filled sky, cooking on a fire, toasting marshmallows, going for a walk in the woods or playing pooh sticks in a stream. Adventures don’t need to take all day or require lots of kit, they just need to be something unusual (to what you normally do) and be a bit exciting, so the options really are endless.
Think about it, we’re all born with a sense of adventure. Babies and toddlers are curious creatures, finding even the simplest thing exciting and new from day one. If we didn’t have a sense of adventure, we’d never learn to walk, climb stairs or explore grass, sand or mud. But how do you keep this intrigue as you grow up? A sense of adventure needs to be nurtured and adventuring as a family can help to keep curiosity alive, exposing children to something new while creating memories to remember forever.
Exposing children to adventure, giving them the opportunity to do something outside their comfort zone and different to what they’re used to isn’t just fun, it can help them build confidence and resilience, readying them for what they’ll face as they grow up. Doing all this in the outdoors is even better, with an abundance of fresh air and the natural world being the greatest playground.
“The less children play outdoors, the less they learn to cope with the risks and challenges they will go on to face as adults…. Nothing can replace what children gain from the freedom and independence of thought they have when trying new things out in the open.”
– Professor Tanya Byron, child psychologist –
The government Child and Adolescent Mental Health Survey (CAMH) published in 2017 identified some serious statistics: 1 in 8 young people between the age of 5 and 19 have a clinically diagnosed mental health problem, with the research suggesting a combination of academic pressures and a change in lifestyles amongst the youth of today are a cause of these problems, with young people spending 13 hours on average each week watching TV and over 20 hours a week online.
Shockingly, a further report stated that up to 75% of young people spend less time outdoors than prison inmates and up to a fifth of children do not play outside at all on an average day. Further statistics include less than 25% of young people use a local natural space and less than 1 in 10 young people spend time in wild places.
It isn’t only mental health that is impacted by lack of exposure to the outdoors. A report into nature, childhood, health and life pathways published in 2009 by researchers at the University of Essex found that on one pathway, where children are ‘free-range’, people’s lifespan increases; while on the other, where they are kept indoors and have little or no connection with nature, they die earlier.
All this research, amongst many other reports and studies, demonstrates the importance of exposing children to nature and the outdoors. Childhood adventures and outdoor play are a great way for giving young (and older!) brains a break away from screens, schoolwork and busy schedules, making time to have fun and enjoy life in the outdoors.
“No one will protect what they don’t care about; and no one will care about what they have never experienced.”
– David Attenborough –
It isn’t just children (and their families) who benefit from regularly seeking out fresh air and nature.
Climate change and the environment are two of the most widely talked about topics in the news today, with programmes such as the BBC’s Our Planet, capturing the hearts and minds of grown ups and children alike. Adventuring is a great way to educate children about the natural world and help them to see the important role they have to play in its survival because it’s not just children that need nature, it’s nature that needs children too.
An internal report for Natural England identified that although our awareness for environmental issues is increasing, our specific knowledge of the wildlife we wish to save is decreasing. Encouraging young people to engage with nature, get outside and learn about the natural world in which they live is hugely important to increasing their knowledge and ability to help protect the planet and the wildlife around them.
If you’re a parent who even finds the idea of an adventure a little too adventurous, Camp Cool can help. The opportunity to have an adventure under canvas is what we provide, with our fully-styled indoor sleepover dens and outdoor bell tents pitched and styled so all you and your mini adventurers need to do is have fun.
We know the importance of children having adventures – and for us, camping and adventure go hand in hand – but we also know that it isn’t for everyone. Our hassle-free service is the perfect way for kids (and families) to experience an adventure close to home.
Our light and airy bell tents are the perfect space for children and grown ups to gather, grow, play and celebrate – whether that’s for a family camp and cook out or for a picnic or sleepover party. Spending the night under canvas as a family or with your best friends is the perfect place to tell stories, have the best chats and discover how snuggly you can get spending the night in a tent. Camping out in the wild (or in the back garden) is a great way for children to sleep in nature, away from the security of their bed at home.
When it gets a little too cold to sleep outside, when there’s more space inside than out or when you just want them that little bit closer for this adventure, our handcrafted indoor sleepover dens offer a cosy adventure for a most magical night.
We believe in the importance of children’s freedom to venture outdoors, to explore and have fun in the natural world. We also know the benefits it has for us as parents. Getting outside not only means the kids get some fresh air and exercise, but we do too! Most importantly for us, we get to see them exploring and spending time either with us or with their friends, building stronger friendships and having a great time.
The squeals of delight from the children as they see our tents set up ready for a party or sleepover will never get old. Even our own children, who have seen our tents set up many, many times, get excited when we pitch in our own back gardens. And it was only the other day when we popped out for a quick game of pooh sticks that we were needing a wild wee more than two hours later!
We hope our desire to adventure with our kids and to provide hassle-free options for families across East Yorkshire, inspires you to adventure more. Follow our adventure updates here and on Instagram where we’ll be sharing our own adventure stories, most of which will be right on our doorstep in beautiful East Yorkshire (a corner of God’s own country we get to call home) as well as further afield.
We’d love to see what you get up to. Make sure you use the hashtag #campcooladventures so we can follow your adventure stories.