Children missing out on “simple pleasures” in a world dominated by computer games

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COMPUTER games and TV mean many children never experience simple pleasures such as splashing in puddles or building a sandcastle.

That’s the warning from the Eco Attractions Group (EAG), an organisation which represents visitor attractions with an environmental theme, including the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh.

Researchers for EAG found that a range of traditional nature activities could soon become a thing of the past.

Children enjoy the simple pleasure of playing with autumn leaves at the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh
Children enjoy the simple pleasure of playing with autumn leaves at the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh

 

Playing in open spaces and woodland, planting their own seeds and climbing trees are also among the activities a large number of today’s youngsters have never tried.

It emerged the average child spends just under five hours a week playing outside – almost half the 11 hours a week their parents did.

David Hardy, spokesman for EAG, which commissioned the research, said: “For many people, these activities made up a huge chunk of our childhood, and left us with the memories and experience of our natural world to go with it.

“But today’s children seem to be struggling to experience a large number of them for themselves.

“Nowadays, children have much more to keep them amused – computers, a host of TV channels and smart phones – something older generations didn’t have.

“As a result, youngsters are missing out on getting dirty in the mud and puddles or simply spending time in the fresh air.”

EAG say their attractions offer safe environments for families to explore and learn about nature.

The study, of 2,000 parents, revealed 35 per cent of modern children haven’t splashed in puddles to the point where they end up soaked, while another 44 per cent haven’t had the experience of walking through squelchy mud.”

Less than half have built sandcastles at the beach, 53 per cent haven’t had a picnic outside of their own back garden and just 44 per cent go on bike rides with their family.

Even everyday activities are in decline with just under two thirds saying they have never had a go at flying a kite, 66 per cent claiming to have never made a daisy chain and seven in ten never going blackberry picking.

But while more than three quarters of parents would like their children to spend more time outside than they currently do, one in ten say their offspring simply don’t enjoy spending time in the great outdoors.Instead, given the choice, only 28 per cent of parents say their children would choose to play outside.

 

Top 30 childhood activities children are most likely to have done:

 

Splashed in puddles and got wet

 

Built a snowman

 

Walked through squelchy mud

 

Played in a forest/woodland

 

Had a snowball fight

 

Played in a local park or playing field

 

Built a sandcastle

 

Had a picnic somewhere other than your own garden

 

Gone on bike rides

 

Played in the rain

 

Planted their own seeds

 

Climbed a tree

 

Paddled in the sea/stream/river

 

Skimmed stones across a river/lake

 

Gone plant/animal spotting

 

Searched for bugs and insects

 

Helped to grow fruit and vegetables

 

Flown a kite

 

Made a daisy chain

 

Looked for birds

 

Knocked conkers off a tree

 

Gone blackberry picking

 

Had a conker fight

 

Camped outside

 

Pond dipping

 

Played ‘pooh sticks’

 

Hunted for animals in rock pools

 

Built a den from sticks and branches

 

Gone crabbing

 

Found frogspawn

 

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