PARENTS

Great Ways To Get Your Kids Outdoors And Active

21/04/2015 16:42 | Updated 21 June 2015

Getting children outdoors

Too often these days, children default to sitting in front of screens to interact with the virtual world rather than getting outside and experiencing it for real.

Of course, there's nothing wrong with playing on the computer or video console, but there needs to be a balance.

Sadly, the passive ease with which our children now choose to spend their time seems to have robbed them of the attribute we parents were forced to develop by dint of there being no computer or video games to mindlessly play when we were growing up: imagination!

So there's now a campaign urging children to take back their 'wild time' by swapping 30 minutes of screen use for outdoor activities, such as conkers and camping.

The Wild Network's Andy Simpson said: "The tragic truth is that kids have lost touch with nature and the outdoors in just one generation.

"Time spent outdoors is down, roaming ranges have fallen drastically, activity levels are declining and the ability to identify common species has been lost.

"With many more parents becoming concerned about the dominance of screen time in their children's lives, and growing scientific evidence that a decline in active time is bad news for the health and happiness of our children, we all need to become marketing directors for nature.

"An extra 30 minutes of wild time every day for all under 12-year-olds in the UK would be the equivalent of just three months of their childhood spent outdoors.

"We want parents to see what this magical wonder product does for their kids' development, independence and creativity, by giving wild time a go."

David Bond, who made the film Project Wild Thing, added: "I wanted to understand why my children's childhood is so different from mine, whether this matters and, if it does, what I can do about it.

"The reasons why kids, whether they live in cities or the countryside, have become disconnected from nature and the outdoors are complex.

"Project Wild Thing isn't some misty-eyed nostalgia for the past. We need to make more space for wild time in children's daily routine, freeing this generation of kids to have the sort of experiences that many of us took for granted.

"It's all about finding wildness on your doorstep and discovering the sights, sounds and smells of nature, whether in a back garden, local park or green space at the end of the road."

Sarah Blackwell, from Get Children Outdoors, said: "I've made it my mission to to help children establish and grow in confidence, self-esteem and emotional awareness through activity in the outdoors."

Sounds like a good idea, yes? So why not start with these nostalgic memories from our own childhoods as featured on the Wild Thing Project and Get Children Outdoors?

• Create some landscape art – draw or write names with twigs, stones or leaves, and then take photographs.

• Dig the garden/allotment together.

• Go collecting – pebbles, shells, pottery, hazelnuts, fungi, kindling for the fire.

• Go on a 'blindfold walk' to use sound and touch rather than sight.

• Climb the highest hill near where you live – race to see who can get to the top first.

• Go out in the rain.

• Roll down a really big hill.

• Camp out in the wild.

• Skim a stone.

• Run around in the rain.

• Fly a kite.

• Catch a fish with a net.

• Take a bag to collect wild treasures, and a notebook to write or draw in.

• Take your kids outside with a camera or phone, and see how many different types of wildlife you can find – for identification help go to iSpot.

• Eat an apple straight from a tree.

• Play conkers.

• Go on a really long bike ride.

• Make a trail with sticks.

• Make mud pies.

• Dam a stream.

• Play nature eye spy on the journey to school.

• Make a daisy chain.

• Set up a snail race.

• Create some wild art.

• Play Pooh sticks.

• Jump over waves.

• Pick blackberries growing in the wild.

• Snail watching – count the number of snails that you see on the walk home from school.

• Visit a farm.

• Go on a walk barefoot.

• Make a grass trumpet.

• Hunt for fossils and bones.

• Go star gazing.

• Climb a huge hill.

• Explore inside a tree.

• Explore a cave.

• Hold a scary beast.

• Hunt for bugs.

• Find some frog spawn.

• Catch a falling leaf.

• Track wild animals.

• Discover what's in a pond.

• Make a home for a wild animal.

• Check out the crazy creatures in a rock pool.

• Bring up a butterfly.

• Catch a crab.

• Go on a nature walk at night.

• Plant it, grow it, eat it.

• Go swimming in the sea.

• Build a raft.

• Go bird watching.

• Find your way with a map and compass.

• Climb a rock.

• Cook on a campfire.

• Learn to ride a horse.

• Canoe down a river.

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Going Out
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