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Kids not spending enough time outdoors

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Research has proven what many of us already assumed to be true: kids don't play outside enough. In fact, today’s children spend half as much time playing outdoors as their parents did.

On average, kids are enjoying the great outdoors for just a little over 4 hours a week, which is nothing compared to the 8.2 hours a week that the adults questioned as part of The National Trust survey spent outside as children.

This National Trust spoke to 1,001 parents, all with children between the ages of 4-14, and almost all of them (96%) thought that it was important that their offspring spend their childhood “connecting with nature”. Ironically enough, while 9 out of 10 parents said this, 83% of these same parents also felt that it was important their children learn to use technology.

However, child psychologist Dr. Sam Wass confirms that being outside does force children to use their imagination and creativity more as opposed to being indoors with the Internet and TV.

The National Trust released these survey results along with a list of 50 things for children to do before they turn 11 and ¾, to get them more interested in playing outside. The list included activities such as climbing a tree, hunting for bugs and stargazing.

National Trust ranger, Ed Anderson said: “This summer, we want to inspire kids and families all over the country to get outdoors, grab their perfect stick and kick start their story with nature. With the natural environment under pressure, we hope that instilling a love for nature in our children now will help us encourage them to continue to protect the beauty of the great outdoors for years and generations to come.”

 Musician and Game of Thrones actor, Raleigh Ritchie, has partnered with the charity for this campaign and wrote a rap about the various things children can do and find outside. Sticks, for example, get a mention as they can be transformed into a magic wand or an archery bow.

“For some people, a stick is just a stick. However, I want to encourage young people to see that actually the possibilities are endless. It can be a pen, a sword, a witch’s broom, a dragon’s bone... anything,” he says.

 “That’s what childhood should be about: getting outdoors and going on adventures, using your imagination to customise the world you see and feeding that appetite for fresh air and fun.”

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