Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Thomas “Dambo” Winther

A lovely project closer to home...... street artist Thomas “Dambo” Winther's "Happy City Birds" project is about recycling trash by making them into birdhouses.

I'd love to sign my kids up for one of his workshops..... Check out Treehuggers article here.

Take Me Outside

Hats off to Colin Harris at Take Me Outside, who just finished nine months of running 4722 miles across Canada to promote the idea of getting outside.

Mission statement:

"We believe in the power of outdoor experiential learning. We believe in the countless benefits that having a relationship with nature brings. We believe in getting youth outside and active and hope to promote this message through various means of advocacy, including an apparel initiative to get students outside of the classroom.  Take Me Outside is a non profit organization whose next project is to run across Canada, encouraging youth to get outside, be active and reconnect with nature.

Join us in our mission - To get people, both young and old, outside! We are but a few, and the task is large. And so important."

This should go international.... such a great idea.

Catherine Nelson

These are beautiful. 

Catherine Nelson, from Sydney, uses hundreds of nature shots and literally "paints" these amazing ecosystems.

There are many more to see on her website. Check them out.

Beau Lotto + Amy O’Toole: Science is for everyone, kids included

LOVE IT!!!!!!

(I know it's rude to shout but you have to watch this..... it is so good.)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Open for Play seminar

The Open for Play seminar was part of Open House London 2012 and included an exciting evening of talks about child-friendly urban public spaces and neighbourhoods.

Must have been hiding in my cave when this happened. Luckily for me Tim Gill (co-organiser along with Paige Johnson from Playscapes and Alex Gilliam from Public Workshop) has posted the full programme of videos.

Worth watching, seriously.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

David Attenborough

"The truth is: the natural world is changing. And we are totally dependent on that world. It provides our food, water and air. It is the most precious thing we have and we need to defend it."

David Attenborough in a great interview over at the Guardian.

Plus, he has a new program called Attenborough: 60 Years in the Wild, coming to BBC2 on the 16 Nov..... Can't wait.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Getting kids into nature starts at home

I love the National Trust in the UK, partly because they always have lovely cafes and the most delicious cakes at all of their places, (at least the ones I've had to good fortune to visit...) but also because they are committed to protecting historic places and green spaces.

Recently they sought submissions from experts and the public for their Natural Childhood Inquiry and the results can be found here.

"Inquiry respondents said parents need more accessible child and family-friendly green and natural spaces and that opportunities for children to access and enjoy nature need to be promoted in a more joined-up fashion, and in ways that appeal more to families and children.

Much more could be made of the smaller everyday opportunities for children to play outdoors close to home to connect with nature on their doorstep and parents should look to draw more on networks of family and friends, especially grandparents, to help share the load of their children getting outdoors more.

Time learning and playing outdoors also needs to become a bigger element of the typical school day."

21 Super Kids that Will Save the World from Adults

Treehugger have put together a list of 21 fantastic kids and their achievements...... that I am personally in awe of.

From a 16-year-old scientist, who identified two strains of bacteria that work together to decompose plastic bags to a 10 year old's petition that led to Jamba Juice ditching their styrofoam cups.....

The beautiful painting to the left is by 11 year old Olivia Bouler, who partnered with the Audubon Society to sell of her original sketches to raise money for the birds most affected by the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.

Love, love, love it.

Fifth Street Farm

Every school should have one, a beautifully designed roof top farm.

From their website:
"Fifth Street Farm is a collaborative educational project serving three New York City public schools on the rooftop of the Robert Simon Complex in the East Village. Fifth Street Farm was created as a tool for providing inner-city children a greater awareness and understanding of the natural world, especially the role plants play in the food web. 

The rooftop garden allows students from pre-K through 8th grade to experience the benefits and pleasures of growing and eating fresh, whole, sustainable foods."

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Playborhood: The Book

I'm a little behind on this bit of news...... Mike Lanza, who started Playborhood, the blog and movement, has written a book.

To quote the book's description from Amazon:

"In Playborhood: Turn Your Neighborhood Into a Place for Play, you’ll find inspiring stories of innovative communities throughout the US and Canada that have successfully created vibrant neighborhood play lives for their children. You’ll also get a comprehensive set of step-by-step solutions to change your family and neighborhood cultures, so that your kids can spend less time in front of screens and in adult-supervised activities, and more time engaging in joyful neighborhood play."

Sounds wonderful. I'll have to get me a copy.

Why Creativity is the new Economy

Very interesting talk from the RSA by Richard Florida.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Cow & Gate

Cow & Gate 'Supergroup' from BETCLondon on Vimeo.

Who cares what they're selling.......... I'd buy it and my kids are too old for their products. 

Animal buildings

This is so cool. Imagine being 3 years old and going to kindergarten here.

I love the tail in the back, that doubles as a slide out to the playground.

Via apartment therapy.

Also check out some other animal buildings here, the fish one is really cool.

The Cost of a Child in the 21st Century

A report published by The Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in the UK aims to show for the first time how much it costs to provide children with a minimum level of participation in society, as well as catering for their needs in terms of food, clothes and shelter.

Key findings are:
  • It costs £143,000 in total to bring up a child to age 18 and meet their minimum needs, which is around £150 a week. 
  • The basic cost of raising children has risen faster than inflation. 
  • State support fails to ensure basic physical needs are met. 
  • A full-time job on National Minimum Wage is not enough to meet minimum costs for children.
Wonder how other countries would fare...

Via Play England.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Child-centred Neighbourhoods

I recently entered the UK's Landscape Institute competition called "A High Line for London". While I wasn't shortlisted, my topic dealt with children, nature and play and therefore thought it would be worth posting here.

Here's the proposal description:

“…........children are disappearing from the outdoors at a rate that would make the top of any conservationist’s list of endangered species if they were any other member of the animal kingdom…....” Tim Gill (2005)  

By focusing on the most vulnerable citizens on our streets today, this proposal explores tackling the public realm on a local scale, using connectivity and the renaturing of the urban environment to be more conducive with the way children navigate the neighbourhood.

Child-centred neighbourhoods, as child-centred education suggests, put the needs of the children first, requiring them to be active, responsible participants in their own development. By encouraging children to choose and make local connections within the neighbourhood it also allows them more freedom to experience, explore and be creative.

The proposal suggests making the school, the park and the home the nuclei of the local community and identifying opportunities to link these to other community spaces. Using nature as the agency of change, one can retrofit the utilitarian aspects of the public realm to promote connectivity.

This would require a city wide investment in human/nature social capital through the renaturing of the urban environment, such as through the use of childlife corridors and the renaturing of derelict and underused spaces. As this will improve the freedom, connectivity and activity of the children, it follows that the health and wellbeing of the community will also improve."

Also check out the link above for the 20 shortlisted entries. Some interesting ideas.

Childrens Eyes on Earth

Wonderful photographs by children under the age of 17 to raise awareness of environmental issues as part of "The Children's Eyes On Earth International Youth Photography Contest ". This was initiated by IDEA (International Dialogue for Environmental Action),  in collaboration with photographer Reza."

First prize went to Anastasya Vorobko, who is 8 and from Russia. Her image below is called "SOS".

The bottom image is my favourite, called "Fields of Green" by Bianca Stan, 14 from Romania, but they are all truly inspiring and worth checking out.