Do you ever wonder why games areas have to be so devoid of nature? Did the flat expanse of the school sports field strike terror into your chilly legs?
In Burgess Park, Southwark, to give just one of many examples, hundreds of mature trees have been felled to create a BMX track and other ‘hardstanding’ for play, leaving a denuded and grim landscape. There must be other ways to play that don’t require the felling of trees.
In Tree Play Month, throughout March, we’re celebrating all the games you can play in trees and in woods. Throwing balls between trees? Hide and seek? Games that involve planting and caring for trees, or spreading seeds? Co-operative games? We need your imagination. As the weather warms up, it’s time to get out walking and playing in woods. Tell us what you play.
If you’re a pro-tree organisation (forest school, tree charity, a woodland, for example) or a play organisation, why not put on an event or link what you’re doing already to Tree Play Month?
Climbing trees will come to mind but this isn’t ALL about climbing trees. Bear in mind some organisations may not want you to climb their trees, and if you take risks you must always also take care.
For some ideas behind games in the woods, read this paper by Clive Adams, Director of the Centre for Contemporary Art in the Natural World related to their exhibition Games People Play.
More inspiration can be found on the Children & Nature Network, founded by Richard Louv. Outdoor play is not just for children, of course, but it’s very important that they have access to it.
To share your Tree Play ideas, put photos or blogposts or videos on your own profiles, then share on Twitter with the hashtag #treeplay or post your links on the Facebook event page https://www.facebook.com/events/271727842957676/
Note that if you want to hang activities around a key date, March 21st has just been named the International Day of Forests.