It’s fun, it’s free and we’re surrounded by it – yet increasing numbers of children aren’t spending any time playing outside in the wild.
Research has found only 10 per cent of modern kids play in woodland and countryside, compared to 40 per cent a generation ago.
It’s a sad figure, but thankfully, a newly-formed group – Wild Network – have decided to do something about it.
The Wild Network, formed of more than 370 organisations including the National Trust, RSPB, the Scouts Association and the Woodland Trust, have joined together to launch a new campaign calling for more ‘wild time’ for every child, every day.
Initially, they are just suggesting that children under 12 swap 30 minutes of screen time for an extra half an hour of wild time, which can be as easy as stepping into the back garden to play.
This simple move could decrease children’s time in front of screens by 10 per cent, and increase their levels of physical activity, alertness and wellbeing.
Andy Simpson, chairman of the Wild Network, says: ‘Year on year, the evidence is overwhelming that children are spending less and less time outside. That really has poor implications for children’s health and wellbeing.
‘We’re not against technology, we just want parents to consider swapping a bit of screen time for more wild time. It’s not one or the other, children can do both.’
Simpson points out that autumn is ‘absolutely the best time’ to get out into nature with the kids splashing in puddles in their wellies, kicking through leaves and blackberry picking.
‘Kids have lost touch with nature and the outdoors in just one generation,’ says Simpson.
‘Time spent outdoors is down, roaming ranges have fallen drastically, activity levels are declining and the ability to identify common species has been lost.
‘With many more parents becoming concerned about the dominance of screen time in their children’s lives, and growing scientific evidence that a decline in active time is bad news for the health and happiness of our children, we all need to promote nature.’
‘We want parents to see what this magical wonder-product does for their kids’ development, independence and creativity.’
For more information, visit projectwildthing.com.