Many looked after children are affected by trauma, caused by their experiences of abuse and neglect. This may also be combined with an increased occurrence of loss and change in the life cycle, which can be in relation to the separation of sibling groups or placement disruptions.
It is essential that the systems which underpin the provision for looked after children do not erode their right to explore and learn through play, including outdoor play in nature. There is evidence to show that children’s relationship with nature is an essential part of development which supports them in reaching their full potential.
Read the "Looked After Children and the Natural Environment" Briefing Paper for more information about the benefits and rights of looked after children to play outdoors and how it can improve their physical and mental wellbeing.
We have a number of resources available here to support foster carers and social care professionals to provide high-quality, frequent and regular activities and play outside and in the natural environment.
And for simple outdoor activity ideas please see here.
When 14-year-old Jessie came to me for her first respite visit, I just couldn’t get her to talk. In the end, I persuaded her to go down to the beach with me for a walk. We didn’t need eye contact and could chat side by side as we walked and collected materials for her to do a collage.
Denise, support foster carer