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Saturday, 2 May 2015

It's Play Time !

Well the first of the May Bank Holiday weekends has arrived and I know our grandchildren will be having fun. They are fortunate to get out and about with their parents, grand-parents, friends etc.The outdoors does play an important part of their young lives. Below is a few 'snapshots' of them. But if you read on you will see that not all children are as fortunate, which I think is a shame. What do you think - did you get out and about when you were growing up?

these next three photo's are our grandchildren having fun

And now onto an article about why children need to play outside

Image result for children playing

A third of kids have never splashed in puddles and half have never had an outdoors picnic. Many children have never experienced traditional childhood activities like making daisy-chains, building sandcastles or playing in a forest.

Despite the popularity of Peppa Pig, over a third (35%) of modern children haven't splashed in puddles, while nearly half (44%) haven't stomped through squelchy mud, according to a new study of 2,000 parents commissioned by the Eco Attractions Group.

Just half of youngsters have built sandcastles at the beach, with a similar number saying they've never had a picnic outside of their own back garden. Just 44% go on bike rides with their family.

The researchers found that a whole range of simple outdoor pleasures could soon become a thing of the past as children spend their spare time playing computer games, using smartphones, watching TV or just hanging out with friends. In fact, the average child spends just under five hours a week playing outside – almost half the 11 hours a week their parents did.

With so much time spent indoors, it's no wonder that playing in forests and woodland, planting seeds and climbing trees are also among the activities a large number of today's youngsters have never tried.

"For many people, these activities made up a huge chunk of our childhood, and left us with the memories and experience of our natural world to go with it," says David Hardy, spokesperson for the Eco Attractions Group, which commissioned the research. "But today's children seem to be struggling to experience a large number of them for themselves."

This matters, according to experts – not only because it means more fresh air and richer memories, but because these traditional activities teach important skills around socialising and creativity. With the research showing that 13% of kids choose to watch TV or play on their computer alone over playing outdoors, we may be producing a very unsociable, unimaginative and inactive generation, warn experts.

The outdoors is also the best place for kids to practice and master physical skills, build up their immune systems and practise problem solving skills. Indeed, whether they're trying to figure out the best way to build a fort or learning how to get along with friends, children who play outside learn how to solve real life problems.

Studies show that children who play outside develop better language skills, are fitter and have fewer behavioural problems too. In fact, research shows that children use five times as many words when they play outdoors compared to indoors, and that there's a direct correlation between obesity and lack of time spent outside.

"It's not that parents don't care, with three-quarters of mums and dads saying they would like their children to spend more time outside. But given the choice, just 28 per cent of parents say their children would choose to do so. One in 10 said their offspring don't ever enjoy being outdoors."

Traditional outdoor pursuits also teach kids about respecting and enjoying nature and animals. Yet according to the research, just four in ten children have planted their own seeds to grow plants or flowers from scratch, while just over a third have helped to grow fruit and vegetables. Animal spotting is also becoming less popular, with two thirds of children saying they have never looked for birds and just 35% have gone searching for insects.

Outdoor activities can be cheap and even free, point out experts. Yet two-thirds of youngsters say they have never had a go at flying a kite, 66% claim to have never made a daisy chain and seven in 10 never go blackberry picking.

But whilst the study found that parents worry about the consequences of their offspring's lack of time outdoors, a staggering eight in 10 mums and dads admit they probably need to make more effort, or find more time, to play with their children outdoors.

Tony Jones, from Eco Attractions Group, believes there's no better time to take action. "The Easter holidays, or other School Holidays, are just around the corner and we encourage all parents to try and get their kids closer to nature."
Try visiting an attraction that's near you, whether it's a local park, farm or play area – many of which will have special activities for the kids, he advises.

Although the research found that a quarter of parents say they don't live near a green space or somewhere with outdoor activities for their children, Jones insists they are mistaken. "It's easy to assume that if you live in an urban area, there is nowhere close by, but many of these places are actually in cities so are easily accessible."

Even small green areas offer a wealth of opportunities for children to enjoy nature, he says.
Image result for children playing
Play England - an organisation that focuses on giving children access to free play areas - believes that kids should be outside playing for a good proportion of the day, but their own research found that parents think taking their kids to the park is something you do as a treat instead of something you do every day.
"Playing out should be an everyday experience for all children," says programme development manager, Steven Chown. "Given the opportunity, children today will do exactly the same things we did when we did when we were children - make dens, climb trees and splash in puddles.'

Image result for children playing

* caution take care when children are by water *

Top tips for getting kids to enjoy the great outdoors:

Add focus – children love a mission, so try spotting plants and animals on your walk or do a treasure hunt to add some purpose to your walk.

Don't rush - take the time to dawdle, jump in puddles and notice the signs of the seasons together and you're guaranteed to build some memories that will last a lifetime.

Camp out – if you have a back garden, or a friend with one, why not camp out with your children? Or, if they're older, let them do it alone?

Enjoy simple pleasures – many of the greatest pleasures are very simple, such as skimming stones, making daisy chains or blowing a grass whistle.

Be nature detectives – a nature scavenger hunt is a great way to explore your back garden, neighbourhood or any green space. A bug hunt can work well too.

Get crafty – children are natural collectors, so encourage them to collect everything from pine cones to leaves for a home craft project.

Original article taken from here

And as it is the bank holiday weekend, I do hope you can take time to enjoy some fun ... 

All the best Jan


Anonymous said...

What very nice pictures. As a child I played out doors and went over the local park with my mother and friends. It sometimes feels like families had more time for the traditional activities but this may be a false impression my memory gives.

There can be no doubt it is rewarding to take time to play with others in a safe environment.

Kath ( retired HCP )

Anonymous said...

Bank Holiday. It's sure to rain!
Like the pictures.

Draffin Bears said...

Hi Jan,

Lovely to see your family out enjoying the outdoors. As a young girl we used to always ride our bikes out in the countryside and swim at the public pool.
Enjoy the bank holiday and many thanks for visiting me


Jo said...

When I think back to my childhood my memories are mostly of playing outdoors. It was a different age then, I would have breakfast on a weekend and then I'd be off, with my mum telling me to be home in time for tea. We had a common at the bottom of our street and we'd build dens or climb trees, we'd ride bikes and play games like hide and seek. I think one of the problems these days is that we've become scared to let our children out of our sight, we'd rather them be indoors where we know where they are, and it isn't healthy. I don't know what the answer is though, I wouldn't have wanted my kids to be missing for the day but I didn't want them spending all their time indoors on computer games either, it's all about finding that balance. Lovely photos of your grandchildren.

Gail said...

What a wonderful post! It is always great to see little ones having fun. This big one would have had fun, too.

Thanks for visiting and for you kind, encouraging comments.

Have a blessed weekend.

Launna said...

I think my youngest missed out on playing outdoors enough because where we live there are no other children... she does go out but not often enough... like my sisters and I did... we were always outdoors, running around, biking, skipping... using our imagination. Times really have changed a great deal and not all for the good... very well written article xox

Anonymous said...

Have parents become more cautious in allowing children out to play? Do they take the easier option and sit them down in front of the TV or computer game? Many children now have their own TV or Game console in their bedroom. Is this right?
I am sometimes glad my children are grown up. What they do when they have children I do wait to find out. I look forward to being a grandparent.


Carla from The River said...

Great ideas. I love the Outdoor Detective :-)

Jennifer said...

Your grandchildren are adorable! It is too bad that kids don't play outdoors like they used to. I remember we were outside all the time when my siblings and I were young. Only bedtime brought us in from night time games of hide and seek. Great suggestions in your post for getting kids active outside.

Lowcarb team member said...

Firstly many thanks to all who have read this article.
Secondly thanks to all who have taken time to comment, it's always interesting to read and exchange thoughts and views.

So many thanks to Kath, Ted, Carolyn, Jo, Gail, Launna, S, Carla, and Jennifer ...

It is interesting to see most were about times spent playing out doors. Yes, it is important for children and their parents to have safety in mind - I also think children should be allowed to play, use their imagination and have fun being children. There is plenty of time for so called 'modern day stresses' to start entering their lives.

Let the children play, use their imagination. We can as parents encourage them to get the balance right ... but then throughout life there are times when it is not always easy to do this. (Who said life was easy?)

Thanks once again, and feel free to leave any further comments.

All the best Jan