Jan White Natural Play

Natural Play, Natural Growth, in the Early Years


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Mudlark Finds *10: When I Was Born

When I was born Isabel Minhos Martins & Madalena Matoso

Mudlark Find Number 10 is a really delightful book that needs to be shared outdoors whilst comfortably surrounded by nature, especially now that Spring is really here. This book nicely supports the National Children’s Day (11th May) campaign this year to swap screen-time for Wild Time.

“When I was born, I had never played with stones or got muddy hands.  I had never made tunnels in the sand.  My hands had never touched anything except each other.  When I was born I did not know there was a sky or that the sky could change or that clouds were so beautiful.  When I was born everything was new. Everything was about to start.”

What a way to trigger a discussion about children’s experiences and loves about being in their world, and also to consider what they would like to do next: “But one thing is certain. Each day I discover something new. And that is the most wonderful thing of all!”  A book with an amazing amount of potential for conversation, sharing, reminiscing and doing… and for deepening connections and a sense of belonging to the Earth.

With this section of my website, I share some of the many wonderful treasures I dig up while researching and supporting outdoor play for children from birth to seven. I hope they inspire you too, and help you to create motivational, meaningful and satisfying outdoor play experiences for all the children you work with.

Mudlarking is the ancient practice of digging in the mud of the Thames to find treasures.  It still goes on today, uncovering and recovering some amazing artefacts from the life of London city through the centuries.  Click on this link for more information about mudlarking.

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Mudlark Finds *3: A First Book of Nature

Mudlarking is the ancient practice of digging in the mud of the Thames to find treasures.  It still goes on today, uncovering and recovering some amazing artefacts from the life of London city through the centuries.  Click on this link for more information about mudlarking.

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Futurelab – Projects Archive – Mudlarking in Deptford

With this section of my website, I want to share some of the many wonderful treasures I dig up while researching and supporting outdoor play for children from birth to seven. I hope they inspire you too, and help you to create motivational, meaningful and satisfying outdoor play experiences for all the children you work with.  Mudlark posts will be brief and to the point.

Mudlark Find number 3 is a truly beautiful collaboration between children’s author and biologist, Nicola Davies, and natural history artist and illustrator, Mark Hearld.  In writing the book, which presents many lovely aspects of our natural world by each season, Nicola says that ” I cast off my grown-up self, and found the me I was at five or six.  Inside that younger self I could see the world as I saw it first – not just the sights and sounds of nature, but the feelings and thoughts about it that ran through me, strong as the tide.  This book comes to you from that little girl who stood in a barely field at dusk and felt the world turning.”

A first book of nature

Make sure that you linger over the images created by Mark Hearld and let the way he has caught so much of what nature feels like grow on you.  Although it’s hard to choose, I think my favourite pages are both of birds in winter: starlings (such a common bird while I was small and now a struggling species here) and ‘patchwork pigeons’.  For me, he has really captured feelings and thoughts – and the movements and characters of his animals.  If, like me and my daughter, you are captivated by this artist’s work, you might also be interested in Mark Hearld’s Work Book, also available on Amazon.