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”.
Simon 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.