Many parents take their children to playgroups and there is plenty of evidence that not only is it helpful for children to socialise but it’s also good for the parents to make connections with other parents in their area. But a recent trend in play is incorporating nature more often and there are many nature or forest based playgroups becoming available in all areas.
We participate in one in a country town about 30 mins drive away. One of the reasons I chose this location is because not only is it a beautiful place, and I’d love to live there one day, but it has a real country and bush location with peace and quiet. The wonderful organiser and teacher of this playgroup, Bec, does a wonderful job catering to all of the individual children’s needs.
Lots of blogs and studies show the importance of connecting with nature for physical and mental health, but sometimes as parents, we can be too busy or too tired to take our children outdoors. The benefit of an organised nature playgroup is that you don’t need to think about or plan the activities, just show up.
I have found personally that Ripley gets so much from the environment, he isn’t overstimulated and overwhelmed due to the immense space, and the focus is on each child’s individual needs and interests, which caters for children at every developmental stage.
Another great benefit is the confidence you get as a parent watching your child explore at some length from you. As Ripley becomes more regulated and I’m able to trust he won’t run off, I am able to let him roam a bit more while I keep an eye on him (at all times!). The confidence makes me feel excited at future possibilities of hiking or camping without being afraid. Just six months ago, these activities were next to impossible for us, as Ripley was so overwhelmed and overstimulated ALL of the time (due to sensory processing disorder) that he would just run away and not want to look at anything that was available to him.
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