One in five kids doesn’t go outside to play, according to Play England, who recently asked a sample of 2,000 children about what they did in their free time. They’ve never climbed a tree, built a den, or enjoyed the simple pleasures of imaginative outdoor play.
While no parent wants to put their children at risk, there’s a big difference between wrapping children up in cotton wool and giving them the opportunity and freedom to discover things for themselves.
Outdoor play helps children to develop important life skills, including self reliance, imagination, balance and dexterity and an understanding of nature and the importance of the natural world on an individual and global level. How are we ever going to educate children about the importance of protecting the environment if they never spend any time experiencing the natural world for themselves?
We wholeheartedly agree with what Play England is trying to achieve with the Love Outdoor Play campaign – to encourage children to play outdoors, and make sure there are spaces for them to play.
We’re lucky enough to have plenty of space on the farm where kids can roam free, and make their own journeys of discovery – climbing trees, exploring the woods, and getting muddy with new found friends. Picture the Famous Five (lashings of ginger beer optional), and you won’t be far off.
Our Wild Kids Club gives children and their families re-engage with nature, and with a variety of guided activities from den building to pond dipping and mini beast safaris, and of course, toasted marshmallows around the campfire.
And it’s not just kids who benefit from getting up close and personal with the great outdoors. Stuck in offices for most of the working week, as adults it can be easy to forget all the fun we had playing outdoors as children.
But if there’s a more pleasurable way to spend an afternoon with your children than playing pooh sticks, playing hide-and-seek in the woods and catching fish in the lake, we can’t think of one.