Leave Less Trace Nature Play Principles
(adapted from Matthew Browning's work)
Prepare to Play
- Play in small groups – avoid large numbers on a site or break into smaller groups.
- Wear sensible outdoor clothes.
- Avoid littering – go for litter-free snacks and take home all scraps of food waste.
- Go to the toilet in the designated space and follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.
Build and Dig with Care
- Build dens in places that aren't really fragile - for example, in sand, rock, gravel, grass, and snow.
- Build with sticks found on the ground - not on trees.
- Dig holes - but fill them in afterwards.
- Remember that trees are alive - hugs are great but cuts and breaks are painful!
Respect Things you Find in Nature
- Ask adults what's safe to handle.
- Start a small nature collection - bring a favourite object home and leave the rest. Not everything is okay to take.
- Build a large "virtual" collection - take photos of lots of objects!
- Climb trees branches bigger than your wrist
- Find which trees are okay to climb. Some are more fragile than others.
- Let plants stay at home – avoid moving them and their seeds from one area to another.
- Try to only pick common wildflowers, berries and fungi. Only pick one or two even if there is a lot around.
- Find out if there are any invasive plant species which are safe to pick and play with.
- Find out if there's any plants you can help grow.
Be Nice to Animals
- Gently catch minibeasts, frogs and toads with hands or nets.
- Keep hands wet when handling toads and other amphibians.
- Return captured animals to where you found them.
- Remember that people food is not good for animals.
- Make homes for wildlife and then leave them in peace so the animals move in.
Remember You're Playing in A Special Place
- Treat others as you would like to be treated.
- Return rocks, logs, and moss to where you found them – they are plant and animal homes!
- Remove any mud clods from wellies before paddling in a stream.
- Use scarves other protection to minimise bark damage from use of ropes or hammocks.
- Agree the boundary of the main area to be used.