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Father and son on a Forest Holidays break

Wild ways to encourage natural play in the forest

Wild ways to encourage natural play in the forest

With the recent success of books such as 100 Things to do in The Forest and The Natural Health Service, it’s clear that nature connectedness is a way of life that’s here to stay. But how can we strengthen our lifelong bond with the natural world? And what can we do to make it fun? 

In this post we delve into the wonderful world of natural play and offer tips on how you can try it out. We also reveal how we’re bringing natural play to our brand new location, Delamere Forest in Cheshire. 

Child on a Forest Ranger activity at Forest Holidays

Why natural play matters

In these ever-changing times, our love of green spaces has grown. 

If you turn to nature when your wellbeing needs a boost or if you’ve been spending more time outside recently, then you certainly aren’t alone. In fact, GP’s in the UK will soon be recommending walks in the park and gardening sessions in a new £4million ‘green prescription’ initiative. 

We’ve written before about how the forest can be healing, and our partners at Forestry England have done a beautiful job of capturing how the forest makes people feel. But it’s when that meaningful relationship with nature begins in childhood, that the most impact is made. 

Scientists say when children spend more time outdoors, it opens up a world of creativity and curiosity. This in turn leads to children feeling more confident, being more active and becoming more passionate about caring for our planet. Amazing stuff.

Family walking through the Autumn forest on a Forest Holiday

Natural play ideas

If you’re looking to add more outdoor time to your weekly routine, natural play is a brilliant place to start. You can experience natural play in the back garden, the local park or at a Forestry England location near you. Plus, most activities are suitable for all weathers and are totally free. 

Some of our favourite natural play activities include stargazing, wildlife watching and splashing in muddy puddles. But you can also add natural play elements to weekend family favourites like bike rides, picnics and Gruffalo Spotting, simply by choosing the forest as your setting. 

Natural play isn’t just for mini-explorers. Older kids (and adults who still wish they were kids) can get their natural play fix by soaring above the treetops on a zipwire or soaking up epic views onboard a super-cool segway. Find out more by exploring Go Ape locations across the UK. 

The best thing about natural play is that it’s multigenerational, connecting different age groups through group activities like den building, tree climbing and outdoor cooking. This means it’s easy to get everyone from grandparents to little ones joining in the fun. 

Father and son on a Forest Holidays break

Natural play: coming soon to Delamere Forest 

Our newest location in Cheshire will be home to two brand new natural playgrounds, inspired by the design of our cabins and crafted using natural materials. These tactile playscapes are great for letting  children of all ages run wild within the spectacular setting of Delamere Forest. 

Near the Forest Retreat, children aged 0 to 4 years can enjoy a fun playscape (perfectly situated in the fresh forest air) while you have a well-earned pit stop. If your little ones are more into ‘pretend play’, there’s a mini cabin and play kitchen too. Perfect for tea parties, teddy bear picnics and whatever else they can imagine. 

Our second playground is for children 6+ (this includes any adults who fancy a go). Find this playground deeper in the forest, positioned around the existing trees. Parkour ropes, wobble bridges and monkey bars provide a more ‘grown up’ route into natural play. Handy if they need to burn off some extra energy before bed time. 

Delamere Forest

Be the first to stay at Delamere Forest in 2021

Plan ahead and snap up a staycation at our newest location before cabins sell out. Enjoy spending time outdoors, cosying up in our collection of new-look cabins and discovering the power of natural play. Book breaks in Delamere Forest today. 


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