Posted tagged ‘free range kids’

Where are the kids?

February 10, 2016

How much freedom do you give your kids? I didn’t give mine enough when they were little according to a smart-thinking dad and geographer, Daniel Raven Ellison, who is deeply concerned about the lack of free range children. For more ideas about thrifty, creative and eco-friendly ways to raise children follow this blog or get my book Homemade Kids, out of the library. This post is by Nicola Baird, also see

Exploring London with dad and dog isn't the same as playing out in your nearest bit of woodland. Find out more by reading research by Daniel Raven Ellison

Exploring London with dad and dog isn’t the same as playing out in your nearest bit of woodland. Find out more by reading research by Daniel Raven Ellison

“Where have all the children gone?” sang Cat Stevens.

Or rather “where are the kids?’ as my husband might say… Mine have come home from school and are making some pasta before homework. They got to school on their own, and back again, but they haven’t done any exploring today.

OK, it’s February and cold, but what if it was a warm, long summer holiday day with light until late evening? where would they be then? Would they be out and about? Probably not.

Daniel Raven Ellison, a fascinating explorer and campaigner, has done research about children playing out and his work is published in London Essays at this link I totally recommend reading it.

It’s sad research, but he has a positive outlook arguing:

London is full of great childhoods, so let’s let children out to enjoy them.

Can parents do that? Let me know what you think.





Is your child free range?

March 7, 2011

Warning: this is not a food fad! Post by Nicola Baird, with some ideas loosely adapted from Homemade Kids: thrifty, creative and eco-friendly ways to raise children.

My favourite cartoon currently pinned to the fridge has two women indoors looking out at a garden where 2 kids play. “I see that even your children are free range!” says one quite shocked to the other, coffee cup dropping (I kind of imagine my sister in this exchange for some reason).

I like the idea of “playing out” although appreciate it is hard to do so in areas beset by traffic. So it was a shock to read Orange prizewinner Andrea Levy’s amazing recall of growing up on a north London council estate, Every Light in the House Burnin’, and find that kids not that long ago (1950s and 60s) would use the whole of Highbury as their area for hide and seek.

Imagine how fun that would be – my children often use just one room for hide and seek, which really can’t be that good. But for most families living in Highbury now, I suspect such a vast game is simply not going to be allowed to happen.

Tackling the way we increasingly cage our children is Daniel over at Love Outdoor Play. He’s made a cunningly short film (less than 2 mins) to help us think about whether the caged life is the one we want for our kids – and whether this is good for the kids. I recommend you watch it,  see here.

Now, if you’ve got any tips for getting your children’s friends playing out share them here. Thank you.

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