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Friday, 18 July 2014

Underestimating Children; how good is bushcraft for children.

Check out the video I posted on the Bushcraft Education Facebook page of my son Michael demonstrating his fire lighting skills and don't forget there is still a free friction firelighting kit for someone when the page reaches 100 likes. 

It amazes me just how much children can accomplish, i was first inspired to look at the potential of using using knives in a project to see whether prolonged use of a knife could help children develop fine motor skills and dexterity when I saw a young Sami boy with a knife on his belt expertly twirling a lasso to catch reindeer on one of Lars Monsens television programmes. This interest was only increased when I saw a picture of a  very young child cutting up fruit with a machete in a 2003 book by Barbara Rogoff titled The Cultural History of Human Development. I have since tried to give my children every opportunity to get involved in all sorts of activities particularly bushcraft. 

Here my daughter Lillie is cutting tomatoes without help.

Here my son Michael is practicing his whittling on a lump of wax.

I makes me wonder how much more our children could achieve if we gave them a chance and if we were willing and able to support them. Michael and Lillie join me on foraging trips, pick stinging nettles, edible flowers and even help forage for fungi, last autumn Michael made me throw away some mushrooms with white gills because he remembered me saying that another type with white gills was poisonous, once he was shown how the flesh of the shaggy parasols I had collected turned orange when squeezed he was satisfied that they were safe and now remembers what to look for himself. 

This isn't a boast, although I'm certainly proud and please at what my children can do, but it concerns me that craft activities in schools are dummed down to avoid even the use of scissors with young children and lessons about nature are limited to looking at pictures and putting sticks in a flower pot so that wood lice might live there. I think we need to give children a chance, yes they might cut themselves occasionally or get stung by stinging nettles but it will be worth it. 

Besides everyone knows that showing off a few scars is part of growing up. 

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