Why should young people do Bushcraft?
Our mission at Mount Cook is to provide access to the outdoors for all. However, the sad reality is children don't have the same access to nature they once did, despite many studies showing children receive uncountable benefits from interacting with nature.
Bushcraft is a popular activity at Mount Cook, and a great way to bring nature to children. It also helps improve many skills that are important for developing young people, from teamwork to fine motor skills to self-confidence.
The versatility of Bushcraft means it can be done pretty much anywhere. While many of us probably associate it with forest schools and residentials, there's no reason it can't be done on the playground or at home. Activities like fibre craft and bone tool making can even be done inside.
You're likely aware that interacting with nature is great for mental health, but how specifically does Bushcraft help? Here are just a few examples;
Increased confidence: A study from The Wildlife Trusts showed 79% of children felt more confident after engaging with nature. They may struggle to make that bone tool at first, but when they succeed, the satisfaction will have made it worth it. The confidence from these activities can encourage them to try new things and to keep trying when things go wrong.
Conflict resolution skills: A 2018 study involved teenagers on a two-week course doing nature-based activities. The study found that both adolescents and their parents exhibited improved conflict-resolution skills. Parents also reported their children seemed happier and more motivated.
One parent of a child with additional needs, who attended Mount Cook in 2021, said; "Our daughter is better regulated from a sensory and physical perspective during and after the sessions. The sessions have also provided important social interaction opportunities for our daughter in a supportive, kind and understanding environment which she has been able to transfer to school."
Improved connection to nature: Activities such as bushcraft can help children connect to nature. Connecting children to nature is a powerful tool in saving our planet. Feeling connected to nature starts dropping at around the age of 10. It starts improving at 19 but doesn't match previous levels until about 30.
A great way to tackle this is by exposing children to nature. There are many reasons why children don't get to spend time in nature. Parents are too busy, have anxieties or feel unconnected themselves. Teenagers often have busy lives, with academic stress, high amounts of homework and social influences.
Bushcraft allows children to connect with nature in multiple places. More active, hands-on activities are a great way to get more reluctant or uninterested young people involved beyond classroom learning.
We are very fortunate here in Derbyshire - The iconic Peak District is right on our doorstep, allowing access to breathtaking areas of beauty. Many children don't have access to green spaces outside of parks and gardens, so learning to engage with nature wherever possible is a great skill.
Bushcraft beyond childhood
But young people aren't the only ones who benefit! Adult mental health also improves interacting nature. Mount Cook is currently hosting local Wirksworth social enterprise Wild Roots Creative and their 'Wellness in Nature' sessions. Not only do they teach crafts to improve mental and physical health, but they have also planted 20 trees on our site (and counting!).
If you are interested in attending a bushcraft focused event for young people with Mount Cook, please get in touch via email@example.com or sign up to our newsletter for information about events.