It's Official - Kids Don't Spend Enough Time Outdoors!

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Monday 25 February 2013

A new survey has revealed that children don’t spend enough time in the great outdoors, despite encouragement from parents and grandparents.

Over 2,000 UK parents and grandparents took part in the ‘It’s Great Outdoors Survey’, conducted by The Spring Caravan & Camping Show (NEC Birmingham, 19th – 24th February)*.

More than half (59%) think that children should spend more time outside with 81% stating that an understanding of nature and the countryside was ‘important’ or ‘very important’ to their upbringing.

This is a view shared by TV presenter and naturalist Nick Baker, who claims that today’s children are lacking the natural curiosity that stimulated their parents and grandparents to seek entertainment by exploring outdoors to the benefit of their personal development.

According to the survey, most parents succeed in encouraging children to spend just three to four hours each week outside, whilst grandparents are more persuasive averaging up to seven hours of outdoor playtime.

Two thirds of families said their kids spent holiday time glued to technological distractions; they are three times more likely to play on portable games consoles than indulge in free outdoor activities such as bird watching, rock pooling, den building or climbing trees, pastimes that were all popular with parents and grandparents in their younger years.

It’s not all bad news though, with 84% of respondents regarding holidays as precious ‘together time’, organised family activities such as visiting the zoo, a farm, a park or swimming pool are popular with kids suggesting that all today’s youngsters need is a little more natural curiosity.

Nick Baker is a real life example of how an inquisitive nature can evolve into a life long passion and successful career. He says, “If you have a curious spirit and a willingness to explore, the outside world has endless entertainment riches to offer.

“Something is happening in nature all the time, you just have to look for it – and you don’t have to look very hard. It doesn’t have to cost anything and everyone in the family can get involved, whether they are on holiday or at home.

“At a young age I began collecting creatures I found under rocks for a homemade jam jar zoo. I climbed trees, went rock pooling, built dens to watch birds and badgers from and generally enjoyed being outside and discovering new secrets about the world around me. The more I discovered, the more I wanted to learn. It gives you a great perspective on life and a huge appreciation for every living thing,” he adds.

The survey results reassuringly show that parents and grandparents are trying to encourage kids’ to escape the sofa but 15% said they could do with more help.

Thankfully, inspiration is at hand from Nick and a host of other TV and sporting celebrities who have all demonstrated a passion for the natural world at The Spring Caravan & Camping Show (19th-24th February, NEC Birmingham).

Parents, grandparents and children of all ages can indulge in free ‘have a go’ outdoor themed experiences, such as climbing, water zorbing, canoeing, angling, campsite cooking and close encounters with creepy crawlies and furry monsters.

Every day brings a different celebrity expert to the Show to offer practical demonstrations and talks on their favourite outdoor related subjects, many of which can be enjoyed anywhere in the UK, at anytime and at no cost. As well as hearing first hand some entertaining on and off-camera adventures, they’ll share useful hints and tips to help get families started.

Families can go climbing with real life TV action man Andy Torbet (19th February), learn to cook what they catch with Valentine Warner (20th February), get walking and wildlife inspiration from TV presenters Kate Humble (21st February) and Julia Bradbury (23rd February), get up close and personal with furry creatures from Dudley Zoological Gardens (every day) and Nick Baker (22nd February) and get wet in the canoe pool with Olympic gold medalists in the C-2 Tim Baillie MBE and Etienne Stott MBE (24th February).

The ‘Its Great Outdoors Survey’ showed that 54% of families had never been on a camping or a caravanning holiday, despite 60% of them wanting to. The Show offers families the chance to rectify this, with the chance to discover new holiday destinations and days out attractions, as well as buy or browse hundreds of new season tents, campers, motorhomes, caravans, holiday homes and lodges.


Editors Notes
* Survey of 2,000 parents and grandparents of children aged 2 – 10 years in the UK, conducted via One Poll in January 2013.
**Advance tickets must be purchased before 23:59 hrs on 18th February 2013, and are subject to a £1 transaction fee. On-the-door tickets are priced at £9 for seniors (60+) and £10 for adults (kids under 16 years go free).