In the past few months you might have noticed a slightly different tilt on my blog; there's a lot more outdoor play activities with a whole section dedicated to promoting a 'Natural Childhood'.
We had been trying to spend time outside anyway, usually so that we had content for our 'Country Kids' posts, but ever since we were invited to attend a National Trust bloggers' event in March, it's become embedded in our daily behaviour to get outside as much as possible. We've gone from having the television on in the background during play, to watching around thirty minutes worth a day, and that is mainly due to the actions of one man; David Bond.
Marketing manager for Nature, David attended the NT Bloggers' Day and introduced us to Project Wild Thing which is a feature-length documentary that examines the dwindling connection between children and nature. He showed us a clip from it, asked us to discuss why parents are reluctant to allow their children to play outdoors, and then shared some chilling facts with us (obtained from a UNICEF study).
- Children in the UK are the most depressed in the western world.
- The roaming distance that children play from their home has shrunk by 90% in 30 years with time spent playing outside down 50% in just one generation.
- The UK is the third worst country in the developed world for getting children outdoors and playing (after USA and Australia).
- Our children's generation has a lower life-expectancy than us.
And that last point, coupled with two videos that David showed us is the main reason why our play has changed. Why we now spend a good few hours outside each day. Why we are all happier feeling the effects Mother Nature has on us after only minutes outside. I didn't go through that birth to bring a child into the world who is unhappy, disconnected from his environment and who won't have the full life that he should.
The Project Wild Thing 'promise' involves pledging to spend equivalent 'outdoor time' as 'screen time'. It seems impossible? It's not. It's daunting at first, but it's not impossible. Furthermore Sunday is a screen free day in our house (for The Boy); no television, iPad, Kurio, nothing electrical.
And this is why…