Suited and Booted is an initiative to connect children, families, and communities to nature through exploration and play outdoors.
While nature play has long been an interest of founder Shannon Sveda, the story of Suited & Booted begins with a trip "across the pond" to Glasgow, Scotland. While on an outdoor play study tour, Shannon was struck by the similarities between Glasgow and Hamilton, ON. Both cities are of similar size, community oriented, and have an abundance of green space. Seeing the outdoor and nature play based initiatives that have been started in Glasgow, Shannon couldn't help but ask "Why not Hamilton?"
“Opportunities to experience nature enhance children's sense of wonder and joy in the world around them... connecting to the natural world contributes to children's mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health and well-being.”
It was also on this trip that Shannon learned the term "suited and booted", which was frequently used by Scottish educators to describe the children's outdoor play clothing. This brought to mind the Norwegian proverb "Det finnes ikke dårlig vær, bare dårlige klær" (There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing). Hamilton has the green space (and all kinds of weather), and Ontario has an early years framework to support nature play, all that was needed was some boots and an opportunity to use them.
Suited & Booted wants to ensure that every child has an opportunity for unstructured outdoor play in their early years.
We work with communities to provide opportunities for children and their families to explore their local green spaces, and we work with educators to provide resources and training to support nature play in early learning and child care settings.
minutes of daily physical activity recommended for Canadian children aged 1-4 years (CSEP , 2018)
acres of municipally-owned parkland in Hamilton, ON