Summer holidays are a time of magic. With any luck the unpredictable British Weather will smile for most of those long lazy days and the sun will shine. My childhood summers stretched endlessly in front of me, filled with possibilities. There were no summer holidays that you have in the UK: when you live on a Mediterranean island, you don’t really need to go anywhere. Every day I would leave the house with friends and wander the “wilderness”, play games, create adventures. There was no need for parental supervision: we were all perfectly safe. My Swallows and Amazons childhood.
It was the gift both DH and I wanted to give our children. Freedom. A chance to be children. We moved from an urban centre to a country location to give them that space. They grow up surrounded by trees and a never-ending trail of wildlife, some good- we love seeing the deer, even if they keep eating my peas, and the Pollinators drifting from plant to plant- and some less good- the foxes that took our chickens, the spiders that exploit every crevice and entry point to the house and cause one of my girls to scream in terror whenever she sees one. But from the moment the weather warms in the spring, if we are home, the front door is open. Toys spill out from the hallway and onto the lawn, dropped by children stampeding out to play on the trampoline or the tree swing.
They stay out until dusk calls, coming in for food and random items from the house that I find myself hauling back inside, dusting off grass as I go, after they are in bed. As they grow, they get bolder, explore farther from the house. The woods don’t hold the fear they did when we first moved. They happily head up there when we find DH has gone AWOL, knowing exactly where to find him. Sometimes, we take the camping table and chairs, cook and eat under the tree canopy, sprayed liberally with Bug Off! to keep away the bug bites. They have grasped the idea of adventure and are embracing the brilliance of imaginative play on a far bigger scale than they do playing with Barbies in their bedrooms.
This summer GLTC sent a Red Star Wigwam which has been a great tool for encouraging more outside time, as well as more imaginative play. The advantage of the fabric teepee is that, much like the nomadic Native American Indians who first used such temporary dwellings, it can be moved to suit. I can bring it in at night to prevent it getting soaked by dew and overnight rain- it stands propped up against the wall in the hallway, a sentry awaiting it’s next mission. It sits squarely on the lawn with friends and visitors: a bright red beacon welcoming people, the fabric base littered with cushions and rugs. It tucks into the tree line for secretive play, spy missions or “camping”, the perfect spot if you need some alone time to think (and not just for kids….). It sits up behind the house, on the top of Everest, a Piratical Crow’s Nest, to allow clear visibility of approaching marauders or exotic lands. And, if the British Weather does what the British Weather does best, it fits in the sitting room, or bedroom: a reading nook or animal hospital.
If summer is about adventure then the Red Star Wigwam is playtime with added value. And it’s currently discounted on the Great Little Trading Company Website- £72.25 instead of £85- along with other wigwams in an array of colours to suit every adventurer.