A new community group has been set up to run a “forest school” in Strathclyde Park and it is already proving a big success.
Muddy Adventures is the brainchild of Bellshill woman Melissa Bell who wanted to bring children together to play and engage in nature.
Melissa, who has a qualification in Child Care and works in education at Amazonia, feels too many children are denied the opportunity to have fun outside.
After successfully applying for a grant of £8,000 to the National Lottery’s Awards for All Muddy Adventures was born.
Melissa said: “When I was young our parents thought nothing of us being out all day, but we now live in a very different world where there is a lot more concern about children’s welfare.
“We should of course be absolutely concerned about their welfare, but it does mean many children don’t get much opportunity to play outside.
“I decided that since we had the facilities here at Strathclyde Park to allow youngsters to connect with nature in a safe environment I would set up a “forest school”.
“The response has been phenomenal, we are already running three sessions on a Saturday and if demand continues to grow may have to look at Sundays too.”
At Muddy Adventures children aged 4-12 are firstly encouraged to have fun, but also learn about using tools, teamwork and the nature around them ... and if they get messy doing it, then all the better.
Melissa said: “The kids love the rain, they love to explore the woods and get filthy, I’m not sure some of the parents are too thrilled, but then we are called Muddy Adventures.
“We do try to teach them about the life of the forest, but the most important thing is that they can use their imagination and have the kind of fun they want to have.
“It is wonderful seeing children who are shy at first quickly come out of their shell and join in with the group and I think that is the power of playing outside. “
For more information find Muddy Adventures on Facebook.