0632 GMT April 23, 2019
While more than four-fifths of parents questioned thought it was important their children learned to use technology, nine out of 10 would prefer them to spend their childhood outdoors, developing a connection with nature.
Almost all (96 percent) of the 1,001 parents with children aged between four and 14 quizzed for the National Trust thought it was important their children had a connection with nature and thought playing outdoors was important for their development, reported the Guardian.
The research found, on average, children were playing outside for just over four hours a week, compared to 8.2 hours a week when the adults questioned were children.
The Trust has a list of 50 things for children to do before they turn 11 and three-quarters to get them engaging with the outdoors, including climbing a tree, building a den, playing pooh sticks, hunting for bugs and going stargazing.
The Trust is also championing the humble stick as the must-have toy to inspire children’s imaginations and creative play.
Musician and Game Of Thrones star, Raleigh Ritchie, who plays Grey Worm in the show, has teamed up with the National Trust for the campaign. He has written a rap about the things children can do and find outside, such as sticks, which can be anything from a magic wand to an archery bow.
He said: “For some people, a stick is just a stick. However, I want to encourage young people to see that actually the possibilities are endless. It can be a pen, a sword, a witch’s broom, a dragon’s bone ... anything.
“That’s what childhood should be about: getting outdoors and going on adventures, using your imagination to customize the world you see and feeding that appetite for fresh air and fun.”
Child Psychologist Dr. Sam Wass said being outside encouraged children to play in a very different way from being inside with computers or TV, making them use their imagination and creativity more.
National Trust ranger Ed Anderson said: “This summer, we want to inspire kids and families all over the country to get outdoors, grab their perfect stick and kick start their story with nature.
“With the natural environment under pressure, we hope that instilling a love for nature in our children now will help us encourage them to continue to protect the beauty of the great outdoors for years and generations to come.”