If we said, at least one in five parents have never flown a kite, built a treehouse, collected leaves or played pooh sticks with their kids, would you believe us?
According to some recent research*, children today are less likely to experience the traditional outdoor activities which their parents and grandparents used to enjoy.
The majority (90%) of parents surveyed said their kids spend less time playing outside than they did when they were children, and nearly half (49%) wished their families spent more time together in the great outdoors.
With the wintery shorter days in full swing, 41% of parents said they have never played conkers with their children before, more than a third (37%) have never built a woodland den and over a quarter (26%) have never played nature detectives and identified different trees with their kids.
Nearly two thirds of the parents polled (64%) said they simply struggle to find the time, or were too busy with work to spend as much time as they’d like outdoors with their children. Almost a third (32%) said their children preferred to watch TV or play computer games.
The research supports Joules’ Let’s Explore campaign in partnership with The Woodland Trust, created to encourage families to get outside and enjoy the great British outdoors, whatever the weather, whilst highlighting the importance of protecting and creating woodland, so that it can be enjoyed by everyone – now and in years to come. The campaign includes a ‘Let’s Explore’ booklet, filled with fun activities that will have everyone reaching for their coats and wellies.
According to the research, the Top 10 outdoor games and activities that children have never experienced include:
1. Built a treehouse
6. Identified different trees
2. Built a tree swing
7. Played conkers
3. Built a woodland den
8. Flown a kite
4. Camped outside
9. Collected leaves
5. Played Pooh sticks
10. Skimmed stones
On a broader level, almost half of parents believe that technology and ‘screen time’ are impacting our connection with nature as a nation. 49% said Brits spend too much time on their phones to fully appreciate the outdoor world, 47% think we spend too much time on our screens, and more than a third (39%) blamed gaming fads such as Fortnite for being stuck staying indoors. This comes just a couple of months after the Government announced the introduction of the first social media guidelines, amid growing concern about the effect on children’s mental health.
Claire Tait, Head of Marketing at Joules, said “Whether it’s going on woodland walks, building a den or playing nostalgic games like pooh sticks, every season offers new opportunities to connect with nature and appreciate our woodlands. Our Let’s Explore activity pack – created with the Woodland Trust – will hopefully encourage and inspire families all over the country to put on their coats and wellies, get outside and explore the great outdoors, whatever the weather.”
Richard Cooper, Nature Detectives Project Manager for the Woodland Trust, said: “It’s shocking to think quintessential childhood experiences like playing conkers and den-building are passing by children in the UK. Our native woods are some of the world’s biggest playgrounds - perfect for adventures. The Woodland Trust wants to inspire the next generation, with over 1,200 woods across the country that are free to explore. We’re thrilled to be working with Joules, and hope that more families and children will become guardians of woods and trees as a result.”
The Joules x The Woodland Trust Let’s Explore Activity Pack is available to download here.