Our children are losing their love for nature
Readers of my blog know that the issue of getting outdoors and having good old fashioned fun with my little adventurers is something very close to my heart. I wrote my most popular post about this issue as I felt there was a real need to raise this issue and the ways in which we can help get our children get outdoors and to stop this trend of couch potatoes. So as today is #EarthDay2015 I thought I would share the important issue that our children are losing their love for nature.
I saw the results of a survey done by Eco Attractions this week and it saddened me to my very core. In today’s day and age we tend to follow rules and regulations for every topic under the sun yet our attitude to getting our children outdoors and involved with nature hasn’t followed this trend. We have so much information to hand about all the good and benefits the outdoors offers to our physical and mental health however, we are heading down the route of becoming an indoor and a screen based culture. What really shocked me about the survey was the loss of simple outdoor activities that in our youth we played or did day after day. I love doing “days out” but a balance is needed which allows us to enjoy the simple, ordinary things in life and make them fun and magical for our little adventurers. Given the spiralling cost of living I would have thought parents would have loved the chance to do simple things for free. Some of the figures that are provided are worrying and to some extent unbelievable.
When I was looking for the results, I stumbled upon several additional surveys that have been conducted in the last few years and they all highlighted the same issues time and time again. The results from this survey commissioned by the Eco attractions found the following
- Two-thirds of the children in the survey had never made a daisy chain
- 40 per cent had never squelched through mud
- A third had never stayed out in the rain
- the average child spends just under five hours a week playing outside, less than half the 11 hours their parents’ enjoyed.
- Experts believe the lack of outdoor activity is having a significant impact on children’s health
- Only four in ten had planted seeds
- only a third had helped to grow fruit or vegetables.
- Seven in ten had never been blackberry picking
- two thirds had not flown a kite.
- two thirds of children saying they had never looked for birds
- only 35 per cent went searching for insects.
- More than three quarters of parents said they would like their children to spend more time outside,
- a quarter of parents saying they did not live near green spaces.
- Almost half admitted they were more concerned about letting children play outdoors than they had been in the past.
As I write this post and reflect over the above figures, I feel more disheartened then ever. I do greatly worry about the next generation of children we are raising and how this detachment with nature and the great outdoors will affect them. Not only are children losing interest in the outdoors, they are no longer are enjoy many of the outdoor pursuits that we did as children. Are we instilling a need for everything to be exciting and resulting in children losing the ability to see magic and wonderment in the ordinary moments. One of the most worrying aspects from the lack of involvement with nature is that the children will have no interest or desire to protect our environment, wildlife and nature which will only have a detrimental effect on the planet as a whole.
So what are they missing out on?
The above picture shows so many things that are following out of favour with youngsters today. Are we raising a generation who will be lost when they are in the outdoors as they will find it boring and won’t be able to enjoy mother nature and all its glory? What needs to be done to rectify this position? The onus does fall on parents but I think there needs to be a drive from the government to make nature one of the aspects that is covered through education. For us here at fiveadventurers we have made it one of our targets to try and get our little adventurers out and about as much as possible.
Ways in which we can get children outdoors
I get asked this a lot and I always think its good to share ideas with other families. My favourite ways to enjoy the outdoors and nature are:
50 things to do
One of my favourites is 50 things children should do before 11 3/4 which is launched by the National Trust. It covers a really wide range of things and I love the fact that it also caters for a wide are range of children! Here is the site where you can let your children make their own account and tick off the 50 things they have done. Each child can make their own account and its a great way of keeping track of the activities that they have been doing. The 50 things are quite simple and can easily be built into most days that families enjoy outdoors.
Woodland Organisations There are great organisations out there too who are always promoting outdoor activities such as the Forestry Commission and the woodland trust, both these sites are great in providing access to families of the nearest woodland areas to them and promoting a number of events in local areas. This year has seen some great free walks from the Gruffalo Trails to the Superworm Trails currently on in a number of forests.
Nature Detectives One of my favourite resources is the fantastic website the nature detectives who are part of the Woodland Trust. They have collated such a fantastic resource that you can download to get your outings that little bit more fun and imaginative. They have tons and tons of ideas for all types of weather conditions, seasons etc. You will never be short of ideas again
What do you think of the outdoors and children? is it something that worries you? What ways do you enjoy nature with your children?