The 21st century often feels like a fast paced, technological world. A world that revolves around social media, the internet and gadgets.
It feels quite far removed from my childhood in the 90’s where my sister and I would climb trees, ride our bikes, go camping and stay out until dark.
Most parents nowadays get the impression that children would much rather stay indoors watching Netflix than go outdoors. Teenagers in particular would probably prefer to chat to their friends on their mobile phones, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Millets, the outdoor retailer, are just as keen as I am to get children outdoors. I personally think that it’s really important for future generations that we do all we can to encourage our children to explore the outdoors.
Yes, I think technology can be good, but it shouldn’t consume our every waking moment. After all, the real world is so much more interesting than the virtual one.
Last Saturday we ventured into our garden for a mini adventure. We were going to spend the night camping in our garden! Here’s a short video of our wild night out.
Our twin girls, R and M, were very excited which just goes to show that you don’t need to venture far from home or spend lots of money to create your own adventures and fun!
R and M have never spent the night in a tent before. Come to think of it, neither has my husband so it really was something new for them all to experience together!
I have very fond memories of camping when I was a child and I’m keen to replicate this experience for my own children.
Nigel, (my husband), and I woke up pretty early Saturday morning, and after a quick breakfast we set to work on putting our amazing Eurohike Hampton 6 Person Tent up.
Having never erected a tent before we were a little nervous about how long it would take us! Thankfully, one hour later we had a tent standing upright, pride of place in our garden. Of course, R and M helped us to put the tent up too. They had lots of fun connecting the poles, reading the instructions out loud to mummy and daddy, and handing us pegs when we needed them!
When the tent was up, R and M ran straight inside it to explore! They immediately ran in and then out of the side door, before dashing back in via the front door and unzipping the doors to the bedroom!
They quickly grabbed their sleeping bags and started to take them out of the bags before setting them up where they wanted them! Naturally this meant they had to ‘test out’ their sleeping bags too!
They had lots of fun rolling around in them and pretending to be ‘mermaids’ as they flicked their ‘tails’ in the air!
R and M then decided it was time to have a rest after the hard work of putting the tent up! They each grabbed their headphones and listened to some music whilst mummy and daddy made lunch.
R and M then helped to set up the picnic table in front of the tent and we all sat down to eat lunch together. It was a lovely, warm sunny day!
After lunch we decided to go on a bug hunt around our garden. We’re quite lucky that we have lots of animal visitors. First thing in the morning we usually have a pair of pigeons searching the lawn for breakfast, and later in the day a squirrel can usually be spotted running along our fence before clambering down it into one of our plant pots to bury food!
R and M decided to investigate the flowers in our garden and before long we came across a busy bumblebee. Can you spot her in the picture below?
We also spotted a beautiful white butterfly fluttering overhead.
Inspired by our bug hunt, R and M decided that they’d like to draw a picture of the bumblebee they spotted. They started out using chalk and drawing on the paving slabs, before progressing onto paper with pencils and crayons. I think they did a wonderful job with their bumblebee pictures. What do you think?
We spent the rest of our day playing games such as football and tag which are always firm favourites of ours!
As the evening drew closer we decided to have a barbecue. We cooked chicken burgers on our portable grill and then toasted marshmallows. This is becoming a pretty regular occurrence for us! Just last week the girls toasted marshmallows at their local Beavers group and made s’mores – toasted marshmallow between two digestive biscuits.
R had great pleasure in showing me how to make them and M really enjoyed the sticky mess they created!
Before bed we relaxed in our camping chairs in front of the fire and stared up at the clouds. M asked me what I thought the clouds looked like and so a game of cloud spotting started! We saw clouds that we thought looked like dinosaurs, spaceships and slides!
As the night grew darker, R used her telescope to do some star gazing. We managed to get a pretty good view of some stars and this sparked a conversation about space.
R and M are currently learning about space in school and that’s because this year marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission and the first moonwalk by Neil Armstrong. It was really nice to just sit outdoors in front of the warmth of the fire and talk.
Before long it was time for bed. We all climbed into our sleeping bags with lantern to hand and settled down for the night.
I think all of the fresh air and excitement of our wild night out had worn everyone out as we all slept like logs that night! We woke up to the sounds of birds singing, feeling refreshed and ready to start a new adventure!
Our wild night out was so much more fun than any of us could ever have imagined. Even though we were in our own garden, it really could have been anywhere in the world. We had lots of fun playing games, bug hunting, drawing, toasting marshmallows and star gazing! R and M asked if we could have another wild night out and both my husband and I have said yes because we really did enjoy it!
Has our wild night out inspired you to have a wild night out of your own?
Here are a few ideas for your own mini adventure or wild night out:
- Camping in your garden
- Bug hunting
- Star gazing
- Wild art – use sticks as paint brushes, do some leaf or bark rubbings, draw outside with pavement chalks
- Toast marshmallows
- Set up an obstacle course
- Go on a treasure hunt
If you’re thinking about going camping, I recommend taking a look at this camping must-haves checklist article.
*Millets provided us with a tent, two camping chairs and a lantern so that we could have our own Wild Night Out.