Children who go camping do better at school and are healthier and happier, according to new research

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Thursday 21 May 2015

Children who camp in the great outdoors at least once a year go on to do better at school, as well as being healthier and happier, according to their parents.

That’s the finding of a UK study carried out by the Institute of Education at Plymouth University and The Camping and Caravanning Club, who collaborated to discover perceptions of the relationship between education and camping.

Parents and children around the UK were asked a series of questions which looked at the educational, psychological and social benefits of the camping experience to children of all ages.

The research led by Sue Waite, Associate Professor at the Plymouth Institute of Education, found that more than 4 out of 5 parents thought camping had a positive effect on their children’s school education.

It showed that 98% of parents said camping makes their kids appreciate and connect with nature; 95% said their kids were happier when camping; and 93% felt that it provided useful skills for later life.

Some parents (15%) reported that escaping technology (laptops, tablets, mobiles, etc) is a good thing for their children and one of the benefits of camping. A fifth of parents (20%) said camping gives their kids freedom, independence and confidence; and more than two thirds (68%) felt camping helped their children to enjoy learning in the classroom, because they can share their camping adventures and experiences such as visiting exciting educational or historical sites.

Sue Waite said; “Interestingly, the parents surveyed believed camping supported the key curriculum subjects of Geography, History and Science and actually, that stacks up because the most common camping activities were natural – such as rock pooling and nature walks – where children were getting to understand ecosystems and identify lifeforms, respecting nature and the environment.”

The children who took part in the research were asked what they love about camping and the most common themes were making and meeting new friends, having fun, playing outside and learning various camping skills. Children also recognised camping’s value for curriculum subjects and for problem solving and working together.

This compelling link between education and camping is the focus of a new campaign, ‘Get Kids Camping’, which is being launched today (21st May) at The Deck, London by Julia Bradbury, The Camping and Caravanning Club President. Between midday and 2pm, she’ll reveal the main research findings to the media.

To mark National Camping and Caravanning Week (25th to 31st May), there will be a series of pop up campsite roadshows around the UK* where families can come and get a taster of what camping is really like. They will have opportunities to put up a tent, take a look inside state-of-the-art caravans and motorhomes, enjoy cooking demos, and have a go on cycling, rowing or cross-trainer equipment to simulate the activities campers enjoy while on holiday. And all visitors to the roadshow venues will take away a fun camping goodie bag.

“Taking the kids camping is such a great experience for the whole family.” says Julia, who is mum to 3 year old Zephyr, and twin baby daughters Xanthe and Zena. “We have masses of beautiful scenery on our doorstep in the UK and camping doesn’t have to be expensive (although you can try glamping!). It’s a brilliant way of getting our kids out in the fresh air, away from the TV and computers - developing their brains and teaching them to interact with each other and the countryside in different ways. If you haven’t taken your family camping, give it a go – it’s an adventure that won’t disappoint you, and there are hundreds of superb British campsites to choose from.”

To find out more information about the ‘Get Kids Camping’ campaign, and the roadshow locations it’s travelling to, visit www.nccw.co.uk

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Notes to editors:
*The ‘Get Kids Camping’ roadshow is touring the UK. Locations include The Deck, at the National Theatre, London, Thursday 21 May; Chester Zoo, Monday 25 May; Fargate in Sheffield, Wednesday 27 May; Centenary Square, Birmingham, Friday 29 May; West Quay Shopping Centre, Southampton Sunday 31 May.

The above findings are based on a survey which was sent to 11,000 camping families around the UK. You can download the survey findings in full here.

About National Camping and Caravanning Week
National Camping and Caravanning Week (NCCW) is The Camping and Caravanning Club’s annual celebration of camping, caravanning and the great outdoors. Now in its 15th year, the Club partners each year with major industry manufacturers and retailers to raise awareness of this great hobby among the British public. For more information, visit www.nccw.co.uk.

About Plymouth University
Plymouth University is one of the leading modern universities in the UK, ranked in the top four institutions under the age of 50 by Times Higher Education. Twice awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education, it has won numerous awards and accolades, and was the first university in the world to be awarded the Social Enterprise Mark.

Its 28,000 students, which include those at partner colleges across the South West, are enrolled on courses from farming to pharmacy, business to biology, and design to dentistry. And the 12,000 paid internships it provides every year for its students is just one of the many ways that it helps them to develop new skills and graduate ready-for-work.

Plymouth University has invested more than £150 million in its campus over the past seven years. Visit www.plymouth.ac.uk