Parents encouraged to let their children explore the great outdoors

Feb 24, 2018 by

Photo by Rene Bernal on Unsplash

Andrew Denholm –

CHILDREN like nothing more than playing in the mud, climbing trees and exploring the great outdoors.

But in the last 30 years or more the popularity of computer games and parental worries over safety and “stranger danger” have drastically reduced the time children spend playing in parks, woods and fields.

According to a recent survey three quarters of UK children spend less time outside than prison inmates – with the consequence that families are losing contact with nature.

Research has also shown children have a largely screen-based lifestyle, with just 21 per cent regularly playing outside compared with 71 per cent of their parents.

Now the Inspiring Scotland charity – set up to tackle social problems – is calling for a new drive to encourage parents to get their children playing outdoors.

Writing in The Herald, Celia Tennant, chief executive of Inspiring Scotland, said: “Children need to play outside. They want to and they don’t care if it’s wet or windy or snowing. It is us, the adults, who do.

“We don’t want our kids to catch a cold, get muddy or hurt themselves and we worry about strangers and road traffic.

“But children are stronger than we think and playing outside makes them tougher. They need exposed to the elements and they need to test themselves.

“If they don’t learn about risks and dangers, they will continue to be imperilled by them.”

Dr Catherine Calderwood, Scotland’s chief medical officer, said the benefits of outdoor learning, exercise and play were well documented.

She said: “Playing, learning and having fun outdoors helps improve wellbeing and resilience, increases physical activity and allows children to use the natural world to develop curiosity and science skills.

“There is also a growing body of research that shows children with higher levels of active outdoor play have improved cognition, which can result in better academic performance and contribute to closing the attainment gap.”

Source: Parents encouraged to let their children explore the great outdoors | HeraldScotland

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