Part of our work over 2018 is looking at the importance of outdoor learning and connections to nature for every child. Our own personal experiences as lovers of adventurous activities, combined with the work we have done over the years with organisations that work in this field, has shown us the value of this work on well-being and happiness.
And – given the intractable environmental difficulties that the world is facing – the case for creating a generation of children and young people with a respect for nature seems well made.
One of our particular areas of interest is in adventure learning. The Education Endowment Foundation shows some promising evidence of the impact of outdoor adventure learning on educational progress and this is something we are working with Institute of Outdoor Learning and colleagues on over the year ahead.
But to have an impact children must first know that adventurous activities are even an option.
And as stories are the window to the world developing a list of books from early days to teens seemed a practical step to introducing adventure.
A favourite book in our home is Quest for Adventure – a collection of the greatest real life adventures on (and off) the planet. The book’s author Chris Bonnington did many of his first climbs within a stone’s throw of our home – the same rocks our youngest two are clambering over here. But while there are a number of technical ‘how to’ books, when trying to think of fiction books for our younger children that championed the adventures of climbing, canoeing and adventure we struggled.
There are lots of fabulous books on nature – including the beautiful The Lost Words but less on how to abseil or paddle, climb or ski.
So we turned to the wonderful world of twitter and as ever the clever folk did not disappoint.
From the adventures of Going on A Bear Hunt to Hatchett, on a teen surviving in the wild. Coot – part of the Swallows and Amazons series with working class kids in Norfolk; anything by Bear Grylls.
If you have others please do share. As part of our work we want to build up as many resources as possible that show being outdoors and having adventures – as something for everyone. We are particularly interested in fiction books that reflect urban adventures (Parkour anyone??) and those that include children with a broad range of experiences and backgrounds.
Adventure starts in the mind and – while not everyone will climb Everest, sail alone around the world, explore the Nile, the Arctic, and the Antarctic, or land on the moon like the protagonists in Quest for Adventure – everybody who does those thing starts off with a spark in their imagination.