these next three photo's are our grandchildren having fun
And now onto an article about why children need to play outside
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.
"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.'
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.