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  • The return of outdoor play

    Outdoor play is making a come back as cash-strapped parents swap spending on DVDs and the cinema for free days out in the park, research suggests.

    A poll of 1,250 UK parents of school-age children suggests 44% of youngsters are now spending more time playing outside than they did two years ago.

    Many parents recognise that trips to local parks and open spaces can be cost-effective days out.


    Most parents recognised that play outdoors could be fun and educational

    But time and the weather are the greatest obstacles, the survey adds.

    The research for food manufacturer Arla's Kids Closer to Nature campaign, suggested 70% of parents are spending less on entertaining their children than they did two years ago.

    And three-quarters of the parents surveyed said they knew they could have a cheap day out visiting parks and green spaces. Four out of 10 opted for a budget trip to the seaside.

    Author and children's play campaigner Tim Gill said: "Times are hard, so parents have to make savings.
    "But the good news is that families are realising that fresh air costs nothing.

    "Getting under the open sky - whether in a local park or the great British countryside - is the perfect way for kids to explore, have adventures and feed their curiosity and imagination."

    Tree climbingAnd most parents appeared to understand how playing and exploring outdoors could be fun and educational.
    But the survey also suggested that children are still missing out on some traditional outdoor childhood activities.

    Just 55% of parents polled said their child had climbed a tree, compared to 65% who said their child owned a television or DVD player.

    And while the research suggested 68% own a computer games console, only 59% have ever flown a kite.

    About half of children have never built a den and just under half can play a skipping rope game, it added.

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    Comments 6 Comments
    1. roger-uk's Avatar
      roger-uk -
      So true I've even had other Cub Leaders horrified because i let my Cubs climb trees within limits - no further than certain branch etc etc.
      We wrap our kids in too much cotton wool these days
    1. Tony's Avatar
      Tony -
      Absolutely, the youngsters need to play to get to know their limitations, overcome things (like streams and hills, mud and insects), make things, stay fit and healthy etc. We're very lucky living where we are in the country as the kids are out a lot.
    1. Dornorn's Avatar
      Dornorn -
      I found it really hard to get my kids involved in nature and wanting to go outdoors. That changed in a huge way when we discovered geocaching now the kids are asking to go on long walks around the countryside so they get the chance to find the "treasure" at the end of it. If you've not tried it have a look at www.geocaching.com/map/default.aspx and stick your postcode in to see what is in your local area.
    1. keith alan's Avatar
      keith alan -
      It can only be a good thing back to outdoor activities
    1. Paddytray's Avatar
      Paddytray -
      Quote Originally Posted by Dornorn View Post
      I found it really hard to get my kids involved in nature and wanting to go outdoors. That changed in a huge way when we discovered geocaching now the kids are asking to go on long walks around the countryside so they get the chance to find the "treasure" at the end of it. If you've not tried it have a look at www.geocaching.com/map/default.aspx and stick your postcode in to see what is in your local area.



      thanks for this that has given me a real buzz . I've been lookin for something or some way to get my boys out exsploring and this is brilliant thanks for sharing
    1. ol smokey's Avatar
      ol smokey -
      As a past chairman of a Kite Club, I would suggest that getting your children interested in kite flying, would get them into the open air and enjoying the ability to control something at a distance. Kites are very different from when most of us were young, and are improving all the time. Many of us were taught to run with a Kite, this is somethingthat destabilises the Kite and causes it to crash. Hence we lose interest and give up. One piece of advice I would give, is to get your kite from a reputable Kite shop. These can be found on the WEB. Just type in Kites, and you will get a lot of information. The biggest kite at the moment is aout the size of an Olympic Swimming Pool, and fifteen School Buses can be accomodated inside it. The World record for height of Five Kites on one line is around34,000 ft and there isa large variety of kinds of kites, including (No Wind,) kites which can be flown indoors, in a Games Hall. If interested put in. Kite Makers, or Suppliers on the W,E.B and you will be surprised what comes up. Do not buy Kites from Stalls at the Beach, they are likely to be untested and will only dissapoint. Kite prices vary from about £6 to £ 7,000 if you want a world beater, Very large, Display Kite. There are hundreds of Kite Clubs in many Countries around the World, They will offer advice and guidance should you wish it. Cheers Stuart.