Teacher gets back to nature with new job

Fun-loving Stephen Atkins in Worden Park, Leyland, where he is launching new outdoor parties for children
Fun-loving Stephen Atkins in Worden Park, Leyland, where he is launching new outdoor parties for children
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Nerf wars, slacklining and shelter building – it’s all in a day’s work for 30-year-old Stephen Atkins.

After eight years as a primary school teacher, Stephen has made the move to resign and throw himself into running his own outdoor activities and parties company.

He has recently struck up a deal with South Ribble Council allowing him to use their parks for his activities, and there’s a possibility of him taking on a unit in Worden Park too, where he could sell outdoor equipment and children’s clothing such as wellies and waterproofs.

“A big part of my childhood was playing in the street and making dens - stuff that children don’t do anymore”, he said.

“But I think real life experience, learning something first hand, is so important.

“I have a 19-month-old boy, and I guess he has been the inspiration for wanting to improve the opportunities for all children in getting out and exploring more, rather than watching TV and playing on video games.

“It’s also a well-researched fact that children learn more, and communicate more when learning outside.

“It can be particularly good for engaging children with behavioural issues.”

His company, Wild Things Outdoors, concentrates on two main areas – schools and children’s parties.

He runs after-school clubs focusing on different areas of the curriculum outside the classroom.

“The children’s parties are completely different though, and it’s these he is hoping will be popular in Leyland’s Worden Park and other places across South Ribble.

Tailor-made, they can be themed, taking place in a variety of locations and include tent making, muddy team building games, nature activities and survival skills.

Stephen has also developed an outdoor pamper day in a tipi, and traditional picnics are also an option.

“It’s perfect for the girly girls who may not want to get too muddy,” he said.

The dad, from Hutton, added: “It’s giving children an opportunity to play outdoors safely.

“Many parents are keen that their kids go outside more.

“But they themselves are not sure how to do it properly.

“This is where I come in. I’m CRB checked, I have personal liability insurance, I’m a first aider, and I have experience of working with kids and taking them on trips.”

Visit www.wildthingsoutdoors.co.uk to find out more.