Being out and amongst nature seemed an essential part of growing up – when we were kids anyway. Whether that was simply being out on the streets with your friends, going down the local woods, or even a couple of hours at the park, we found a way of making fun with what we had around us. However, the new generation seem to have it far too easy; too often do I hear ‘I’m bored’ or ‘There’s nothing to do’ – do you remember saying this as a kid and moaning? I didn’t. In fact it usually ended up in me knocking on for my friends and asking if they are coming out to play. Nowadays, kids seem to whip out their brand new iPhone and text, play games or just scroll through social media.
This is becoming a big issue, and outdoor play seems to be gradually fading away; it’s as though technology and a sedentary lifestyle is stealing the treasures of grass-stained jeans and muddy T-shirts. How often do you hear your child talk about the adventures of their day and what happened? How high of a tree they climbed? How many goals they scored? Or how many new friends that they made?
You cannot necessarily blame technology, though. Some of the blame has to be put on parents, after all, it is you that supply your kids with all this technology and settle for the easy life of letting them sitting around instead of pushing them to go outside. We need to help the young generation realise the qualities and golden memories that are created outside, as these help us develop and nurture us into adults.
Outdoor play is full of fun experiences to help us develop, particularly in our early years, in a variety of ways. Such benefits consist of: improved physical fitness, self-esteem, confidence, social skills and motor skills, as well greater emotional-wellbeing. Although you may not believe it, children also get stressed, yet the calming influence of the outdoors soothes their stress and gives them enjoyment in their free time.
Love Outdoor Play is a Campaign led by Play England, who believe it is every child’s and teenager’s right to play outside throughout childhood years. The campaign involves funding for projects and workshops that encourage children to connect with wildlife, such as The Wild Network. The Wild Network ran several free events around the country hosted by members of the Wild Local volunteers involving hands-on activities such as scavenger hunts, challenges which test your science skills and other craft activities – a great day of fun! For information on other free events and activities to get involved in for the whole family, visit: http://www.thewildnetwork.com/ or http://www.playengland.net/
Children are the future, we need to prioritise their upbringing and ensure that they develop essential skills so they have the best life they can.