Wild Night Out is the fantastic ambition to get everyone out on a wild adventure this summer. Taking place on July 1st, the challenge, whatever your age and ability, is to GetOutside and enjoy all the benefits that that brings. Recent research from Ordnance Survey found that only a third of children in Britain spent more than an hour a day outdoors. Combine that with Public Health England's findings that our kids are spending an average of six hours a day in front of screens, it is clear we need to be doing more to encourage our kids outdoors.
There is something truly magical about spending a night under the stars, listening to the sounds of nature as you cosy up in a sleeping bag. With more than a third of our children here in the UK never having had the opportunity to spend the night outdoors. Here are our seven reasons why you should plan a wild night out with your families this summer.
1. You get to switch off from the pressures of modern life.
One of the best things about camping out is switching off from the pressures of modern life, and spending quality time together without the usual distractions. Forget work, the school run, the cleaning and laundry, camping is all about a slower, happier pace of life. Walking, biking, collecting wood, campfire cooking, playing in streams or even lying side by side reading a good book while you listen to the rain fall on the canvas. Activities like these provide rare opportunities in today's busy world to connect not only nature but with the wonderful friends and family in your life.
2. It gives the opportunity for exploration and imaginative play.
Kids love spending time in wild settings, it encourages exploration and imaginative play, and nature really does provide everything you need to keep you entertained. I can remember all the camping trips I went on as a kid, memories of toasting marshmallows while someone played the guitar, and peaking out of the gap between the ground and fly sheet while tucked up in my sleeping bag. It all felt like such an adventure for the simple reason that it was. Playing in nature allows us to discover and learn, test ourselves and take risks - all things that are crucial for our development and well-being.
3. You’ll work as a team.
Camping is all about teamwork. Putting up tents, cooking meals, playing ball games - they are all much more fun as a team. Camping is an activity that brings the generations together and encourages problem-solving skills. Once you are at camp, it's just you, your boot full of gear and your initiative. Forgot the tent pegs or tin opener - you'll work it out. You'll be surprised how much knowledge and good ideas are slumbering away in our brains waiting for the opportunity to present themselves. And even if you do have a couple of mishaps, just think of how you are contributing to next year's stories around the campfire!
4. You get to try out tools and traditional skills.
Camping is a great opportunity to develop your outdoor skills. Choosing the perfect place to pitch a tent really opens your eyes to the landscape around you, and if you do get it wrong the first time it's not a mistake you'll make again! Building and maintaining a fire, cooking on it, being safe around it and finally extinguishing it are all great skills to learn. Fishing, crabbing and hunting for shellfish are brilliant fun whatever your age. If you are lucky enough to catch something then cooking it on your own fire is another memory-making moment. Camping is also about learning about what you really need, and what you can do without. One thing that can really make the difference on a camping trip is having the right tent for the job. Whether you are camping in the garden or planning a trip into the wilds Halfords have a great range of tents to choose from.
5. You’ll feel like part of nature.
Sleeping outside makes you part of nature, and being part of it is the best way to learn to appreciate and respect it. Humans have evolved to be both constantly using our bodies and interacting with our environment, and being outside, in my mind, is actually where we belong. Of course, in the modern life, many of us can't be outside all the time. Camping is a great way to take ourselves back to our roots, and spend time living in a similar way as our ancestors did, interacting with our wild surroundings. Eating outside, listening to the birds, and watching the stars in the sky all help rekindle that connection.
6. Camping is healthy
Camping is healthy in so many ways. As well as the obvious benefits of exercise, fresh air and increased vitamin D production, sleeping away from artificial lights will help reset your sleep pattern, even after one night. It gives you the opportunity to relax, recharge and improves your mood as well as strengthening bonds between family and friends. It is also healthy on your bank balance - hard as they try, even my kids can't find much for me to spend my money on in the middle of a field! On top of all these great attributes spending time outside with children gives us so much more. It reminds us of how the world looks through a child's eyes and brings back those precious memories of spending time playing outside when we were young.
7. You can go just about anywhere.
The final and possibly best thing about camping is it is portable. You can camp in your garden, or throw everything onto your back or in the car, and set off to wherever the mood takes you. Whether you fancy camping by a beach, in woodland, near a town or in the wilds this fabulous Camping Guide fromHalfords has a campsite for everyone. Covering tips for wild campers, outdoor adventurers who love to challenge themselves, those who love a little luxury or even prefer a caravan, it offers something for everyone.
So whether you are a seasoned camper, or have never tried it before start planning a Wild Night Out. You can register for lots of brilliant inspiration and tips and join in on July 1st or plan for another date and start your adventure.
This is a collaborative post with Halfords