Families want to spend more time outdoors

While one study reveals that watching TV
and DVDs are the most common way for parents and children to spend time
together, other research shows that children and parents would like to spend
more time together enjoying the outdoors. One in five kids – and more than a
third of parents – would like to be spending more time together outdoors

And, according to the National Trust,
more than quarter of eight to 11-year-olds and almost a half of parents want to
spend more time with their parents “just going for a walk”.

Preview-1Simon Pryor, of the National Trust, said:
"Despite the fact that TV seems to be dominating family life its really
encouraging that children and parents want to spend more time together and that
walking is seen as a great way of doing just that.

"Walking is a brilliant way for
families to spend time together, get fit and discover the joy of the British
countryside.”

The benefits of being outdoors

The health benefits of being outdoors
more include improved physical and mental well-being for both children and
adults.

As one health expert said: "Children
can benefit hugely from walking in the outdoors. High blood pressure,
cholesterol and depression can be detected in children as young as 10, due to
inactivity. Spending time with family, in the outdoors, can invigorate even the
most TV or X-box-obsessed children."

Guide to getting outdoors more

To encourage more families to go outdoors
and enjoy quality time together, we’ve compiled a list of great things to do.

Climb a big hill: Going for a walk
without a purpose will have your children groaning and moaning before the
suggestion is barely out of your mouth. So make the walk a "walk with a
purpose”. You could head to a hill and as you’re approaching you tell the kids
that’s where you’re going, and then tell them that the child You are much more likely to enjoy
the walk. Choose a hill with wonderful views or a point of interest, such as a
chalk hill carving.

Fly a kite: Good, old-fashioned kite
flying is so often over-looked now that our lives are dominated by computers
and TVs. But the fun and thrills of flying a kite are the same for kids today
as they were for us as children. Kite flying uses up a lot of energy and is a
great way to give kids exercise outdoors without them even realising it. Choose
a kite to suit your child’s age and strength, or buy a couple of kites: One for
the kids and a stunt one for the adults so that youngsters they can ooh and aah at the
tricks performed in the sky.

Family friendly walks: The National Trust
Great
British Walk
campaign reveals a wealth of great walks to suit the family.
From crunchy leaves in woodland walks to trails with amazing views, there is a
walk in your area to suit every family’s walking aspirations.

50 things: Another innovative National
Trust campaign is a list of 50 fun things that children should do before they
reach the grand age of 11¾. See 50
things to do before you’re 11¾.

10 more things to do outdoors as a family

  • Collect
    and play conkers
  • Pick and eat apples straight from the tree
  • Go
    hunting for blackberries
  • Identify
    six birds at the seaside
  • Try
    rockpooling
  • Go
    tree bark rubbing
  • Jump
    in a muddy puddle (or two)
  • Play
    pooh sticks
  • Climb
    a tree
  • Use
    a map and compass to find you way to a new place in the countryside.

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