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Scheme aims to encourage children to play outdoors more

29/10/2013 Joanna
Staff in teaching jobs would find their pupils are sharper and healthier if parents encouraged children to spend more time playing outside, according to a new campaign.

The Wild Network comprises almost 400 organisations, including the NHS, Play England, nature conservation charity the RSPB and several playgroups, seeking to encourage children to spend more time outside engaging with the nature.

Earlier this month, the RSPB published a report indicating that only 21 per cent of children possess what the organisation deems to be a "realistic and achievable" connection with nature.

In response to this issue, the Wild Network is urging parents to encourage their children to engage in outdoor activities for half an hour each day that they currently spend watching TV or playing computer games.

It states that for under-12s, this would be equivalent to them spending three months of their childhood outdoors, improving their alertness, fitness, independence and creativity, as well as their knowledge of the outdoor world.

Network chairman Andy Simpson warned: "Time spent outdoors is down, roaming ranges have fallen drastically, activity levels are declining and the ability to identify common species has been lost."

He said children have in the space of one generation lost touch with nature and that parents concerned with the dominance of "screen time" in their children's lives need to become "marketing directors for nature".

The campaign launched with the release last week of documentary film 'Project Wild Thing', which focuses on filmmaker David Bond's efforts to get his son and daughter to play outside more by working with branding and outdoor experts to develop a campaign to promote nature.

Last year another network member, the National Trust, published a report similarly warning children were losing contact with the outdoors at a rapid pace, with the problem more severe in the UK than it is elsewhere in Europe.

This is despite evidence suggesting children learn more and behave themselves better on lessons held outside and that youngsters feel their happiness is to a significant degree dependent on them having a range of outdoor activities to do.

Posted by Harriet McGowanADNFCR-2164-ID-801654526-ADNFCR
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