More children ought to be playing in great outdoors

COMMENT: University has to prove it offers value for money

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Do kids still climb trees, or are they too busy on their Xboxes or iPads these days?

Growing up, I was lucky enough to have a horse chestnut tree in our back garden that my grandad had planted when he was a child.

A trip to Go Ape at the weekend brought back some very happy childhood memories of climbing trees.

I also recalled the popularity ours gave me with other children, who desperately wanted to come round and climb it with me.

Looking back, what great exercise it was too.

I’d love it on a windy day, as high up as I could get, swaying backwards and forwards in the gusts.

I’m wondering what my folks thought when they heard faint cries of ‘help’ as, on one occasion, I went a little too high and couldn’t free my legs.

Apparently they were about to call the fire brigade as they didn’t fancy climbing up to rescue me!

As technology takes over, the simple things that entertained and stimulated us as kids no longer seem cool.

For instance, you never see homemade go-karts on the streets any more.

I remember finding an old pram, taking the frame off and building this most amazing kart that, on our street, regularly beat the bus from one end to the other.

So the trees were keeping us fit and the karts were teaching us practicality.

I’m sure several old ladies who regularly had to dodge us would disagree, but these were important pastimes.

The other great thing was that they were cheap too.

Isn’t it crazy to think that, in 2013, some children are suffering from rickets because of a lack of vitamin D caused by not enough sunshine?

I know our summers have been disappointing recently, but that’s just ridiculous.

So is it time to get kids away from their computer games and up trees and on homemade buggies instead?

A bit of dirt and a few lumps and bumps are all part of growing up.

To my mind, playing in the great outdoors and not on Call Of Duty or Halo is where you learn life’s important lessons.