Imagination and the great outdoors
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Imagination and the great outdoors

When you think of imagination and the natural world, few names spring to mind more prominently than Beatrix Potter.

Often isolated from children of her own age, young Beatrix had to find other ways to entertain herself. Alongside her brother Bertram, Beatrix turned to a plethora of household pets and the natural world to fuel her curious mind. What started as observation and documentation soon blossomed into imagination and creativity. Inspired by nothing but the world around her, Beatrix Potter went on to create some of the world’s most beloved children’s characters.

Whilst advances in technology have given us hundreds of new exciting ways to keep our children entertained, the natural world still has the power to enthral, just like it did for Beatrix Potter 150 years ago. Here are our top three tips for using the great outdoors as a catalyst for your child’s imagination.

Take your time getting from a to b

If you can afford not to rush, then don’t. A walk to the shops can be an adventure for an inquisitive mind! Use Google maps, to plan new routes to and from nursery, school and friends’ houses. Take time to stop and read information signs in parks and woodlands. Most of all, take advantage of the good weather and the long evenings. A walk before bed can be just as engaging as a bedtime story for a growing mind.

Take advantage of what’s around you

Maybe you’ve exhausted the local parks and play groups near to where you live, but are there other local attractions that might inspire your little ones? It could be as simple as finding a wild blackberry bush and having an impromptu feast! For more elaborate days out, The National Trust have family membership deals that offer discounted entry into some of the UK’s most beautiful parks, stately homes and gardens.

Look up and down and all around

As adults we’re conditioned to ignore the peripheral, but the sky and the ground are treasure troves of information that our children will already be exploring. Use a net and a magnifying glass to go insect hunting, or organise a late night treat and introduce your children to the stars. Consider what the world looks like from your child’s (slightly smaller!) perspective.

So there we have it - our top three ways to encourage the naturalist in your little ones. Have you got anything to add? We’d love to hear from you if you do. Get in touch via Twitter (@brainboxgames) or email us ( And remember, as the Spanish philosopher George Santayana once put it, “The earth has music for those who listen.”

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