£2 million to get kids playing outdoors
The campaign to get more kids outdoors for play and fun has been given a £2million boost. The Big Society Fund money has been handed to the Play England Free Time Consortium in a bid to recruit 20,000 volunteers to run holiday play schemes and help at adventure playgrounds. The government-led money will also go towards trustees who help to run play organisations. Another area that will be given a cash injection is the building of new play areas.
And it’s not only adults that are being urged to volunteer with the Play England projects, children can also do their bit to make the outdoors world a more attractive option for youngsters.
The bid to get more children playing outdoors
Research has revealed the sad truth about the numbers children who play outdoors. According to Play England only a fifth of children play outdoors every day near there home. This compares to almost three quarters of their parents who played outdoors when they were children.
Many factors have been blamed for the outdoors limitations, including safety issues, stranger danger and busy lives.
Indeed, the Minister for Civil Society, Nick Hurd, is reported as saying: "Over the past 10 years a culture of red tape has stifled the freedom of children to climb trees, make dens and enjoy the simple pleasure of outdoor play."
But the director of Play England – a coordinated consortium of 17 local play organisations – Catherine Prisk believes that there are many ways that parents could be encouraging their children to go outdoors more, in safety.
"Playing outside, chalking on the pavement, climbing trees and riding your bike are simple pleasures that many of today’s children are missing out on," she said.
"Play is essential for children's health and happiness now, and is also essential for making friends, building key skills for the future and for feeling you are part of a community."
Fun outdoor activities for children
Climb a tree or build a den: Encourage your kids to enjoy good old-fashioned fun. Surely you can remember how to climb a tree or build a den from forest materials only? Get kids to learn their monkey skills at a playground first and then find a tree that won’t be damaged by climbing. There are plenty of fallen trees around at the moment.
Club fun: Football, climbing, golf, in-line skating, hockey, tennis and cricket. All these sports can be enjoyed outdoors and they will give you kids the benefit of fresh air and fun.
Walk this way: Children might moan about walking but if they are wearing the right outdoor clothing and have a mission – such as a treasure hunt or a checklist of bugs or leaves to amuse them – you’ll find they will happily walk for miles. Promise a small treat at the end of the walk and they will be even more likely to join you for a family stroll!
Your back yard. Don’t forget that outdoors fun can be had in your own garden. Teach them to skip in a group or how to play hopscotch. Can you remember playing marbles outdoors as a child, too? All these outdoor games will be lost if they are not taught to the next generation.
Have an adventure: Outdoor activity companies are putting down roots across the UK. Why not treat the family to a mega fun day out trying a range of activities such as white water rafting, mountain biking, road cycling gorge walking, canyoning or a high ropes challenges?
* Tell us how you plan to get your kids to play outdoors more often.
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