21 February 2009

The Wild Child Campaign

"If children do not get first hand experience of the real world the there will be problems later on with emotional and physical resilience."
Something for everyone
Children in the UK are more sedentary due to the growth of children's television, video games and parents' concerns about "stranger danger" or physical harm while playing what used to be normal childhood games.

The UK National Trust is launching The Wild Child campaign to get children play outside and 'get dirty'. Children will be invited to go pond dipping, help make compost, search for bats at night or just explore woodland. It will include educational tools and activities to teach children about native wildlife. A website will give families advice on events happening around the country and a take home pack will give tips on activities like making a pond or planting vegetables so children remain active throughout the holidays.

National Trust launches campaign to get children outdoors
Children should play outside and 'get dirty', according to the National Trust, which is launching a campaign to get 'couch potato' youngsters off the sofa.
Louise Gray, The Telegraph 20 Feb 09;
The rise of childhood obesity and increasing ignorance about nature caused by spending too much time in front of televisions and computers has led to fears that children are being robbed of a healthy active childhood.

The National Trust is so worried about the problem that it is opening up properties around the country for more than 1,000 different events designed to let children get their hands dirty.

Children will be invited to go pond dipping, help make compost, search for bats at night or just explore woodland.

Sue Palmer, the author of Toxic Childhood, said children are living a more sedentary life for a number of reasons including the growth of children's television, video games and parental concerns about the risk of "stranger danger" or physical harm while playing what used to be normal childhood games.

She also said the reaction to young people playing "wild" outdoors in modern society means parents do not let children play outside for fear of disturbing other adults. The increase in designer clothes for children means they are even being restricted for fear of getting expensive items dirty.

"If children do not get first hand experience of the real world the there will be problems later on with emotional and physical resilience," she said.

Dame Fiona Reynolds, the trust's director general, said the campaign was in reaction to concerns that childhood are not experiencing nature by climbing trees or being stung by nettles, for example.

"It is responding to the fact that a lot of parents say that one of the reasons they bring their children to National Trust properties is because they do not know about danger because they are discouraged from getting their hands dirty or getting involved.

"The National Trust is one of the few places you can come out of your cocoon and get real access to nature, experience it and take part in something, where children are encouraged to run around outdoors."

A recent survey found most children knew what a dalek from the television programme Dr Who looked like but few could identify a barn owl.

The Wild Child campaign, to be launched in time for the summer holidays, will include a range of educational tools and activities to teach children about native wildlife. A website will give families advice on events happening around the country and a take home pack will give tips on activities like making a pond or planting vegetables so children remain active throughout the holidays.

1 comment:

  1. The Ecological Society of America has been doing this for some time, with a campaign called "No Child Left Indoors"

    ReplyDelete

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