Basically it’s impossible but this then presents a challenge to designers and educators as to how we can turn around people’s fears of the outdoors and associated insects, etc. When I was young, we spent heaps of time outdoors and got to know a diverse range of insects – some just observed and others collected. These days with computers, playstations and the additional fear of letting children play outside, the interactions between adults and insects are decreasing. Watching children being bewitched by ants for 2 hours is amazing to watch and these experiences need to continue and not disappear!
To attract birds is to attract bees which also brings insects and that’s part of a natural and evolving playspace – as educators embracing these additions to the outdoor environment rather than avoiding them and seeing them constantly as a risk will ensure that children are provided with opportunities to experience the natural world at its best.
Having said that, bees can potentially be a fatal risk for some children, so part of letting them play outdoors freely may involve strategies including – long sleeved tops and pants when flowering plants are in full bloom, awareness by staff and other children about bees so that the child can be observed and protected during outdoor play and discussing what to do when you see a bee with the child so that they have some personal control over their environment.
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