Edible Estates provide Natural Play sessions led by play workers who encourage and support children and young people to interact with the natural world, learn to play outdoor games, using loose materials to create dens or props for story telling or a play. We seek to encourage ‘free play’ outdoors – children playing without adult interaction and using their own imaginations to have fun.
Our Natural Play workshops encourage children & young people to explore local woodlands and greenspaces. The workshops build positive memories and encourage them to take on ‘risk and challenge’, be more physical in terms of climbing trees and walking longer.
Woodlands and greenspaces can be a wonderland for children, providing a whole array of things to engage their imagination, curiosity, sense of playfulness and wonder at all things new and unusual. It allows them to use their bodies naturally i.e. rolling, jumping, climbing, stretching. Supporting physical and mental well being. We encourage children to help protect and maintain their local wildlife habitats, educating them about biodiversity and how they can play a part in this.
Play allows children to use up physical energy in a more positive way. Play is also a way for children to express emotion and shows up developmental delays. Play is an integral part of children developing social skills, emotional stability, learning to negotiate and enhance fine motor skills and verbal communication skills. It allows children to ‘act out’ scenarios and mimic positive and negative behaviour and builds confidence and self esteem. It is an important part of a child’s learning and often plays a role in them making sense of their world.
Some of the children we have worked with have developmental delays and have had very little opportunity to experience play in a safe space or have had no opportunity for play at all due to poverty, drug, alcohol or mental health issues within their family setting. This means we often see children with poorly developed social or communication skills, low self confidence, depression, anxiety and anger issues. We use play as a way to explore these emotions and difficulties and support them to build resilience and positive behaviours through play.
However, it is also important to remember that the main focus of play is about having fun.