Children urged to put away screens and play outside

The BBC is reporting that children are being urged to take back their “wild time”, swapping 30 minutes of screen use for outdoor activities…

The call to renew a connection with nature comes from a collaboration of almost 400 organisations, from playgroups to the NHS.

The Wild Network wants children to take up activities like conkers and camping.

“The tragic truth is that kids have lost touch with nature and the outdoors in just one generation,” said chairman Andy Simpson.

The organisers argue that swapping 30 minutes of television and computer games each day for outdoor play would increase the levels of fitness and alertness and improve children’s well-being

“Time spent outdoors is down, roaming ranges have fallen drastically, activity levels are declining and the ability to identify common species has been lost,” said Mr Simpson.

He referred to recent research by the RSPB which suggested only one in five children aged eight to 12 had a connection with nature.

“With many more parents becoming concerned about the dominance of screen time in their children’s lives, and growing scientific evidence that a decline in active time is bad news for the health and happiness of our children, we all need to become marketing directors for nature,” said Mr Simpson.

“An extra 30 minutes of wild time every day for all under 12-year-olds in the UK would be the equivalent of just three months of their childhood spent outdoors.

“We want parents to see what this magical wonder product does for their kids’ development, independence and creativity, by giving wild time a go.”

The campaign launches on Friday with the release of a documentary film, Project Wild Thing.

It tells the story of how, in a bid to get his daughter and son outside, film-maker David Bond appoints himself marketing director for nature, working with branding and outdoor experts to develop a campaign.

“I wanted to understand why my children’s childhood is so different from mine, whether this matters and, if it does, what I can do about it,” said Mr Bond.

“The reasons why kids, whether they live in cities or the countryside, have become disconnected from nature and the outdoors are complex.

“Project Wild Thing isn’t some misty-eyed nostalgia for the past. We need to make more space for wild time in children’s daily routine, freeing this generation of kids to have the sort of experiences that many of us took for granted.

“It’s all about finding wildness on your doorstep and discovering the sights, sounds and smells of nature, whether in a back garden, local park or green space at the end of the road.”

The campaign, said to be the biggest ever aiming to reconnect children with the outdoors, includes the National Trust, the RSPB, Play England and the NHS, as well as playgroups, businesses and schools.

More at:  Children urged to put away screens and play outside

Learn more at: Project Wild Thing

Do you think it is realistic to ‘put the genie’ back into the bottle and  get children outside for an extra 30 minutes a day? Please let us know what you think in the comments or on twitter… 

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Categories: Health.


  1. LearnWLesley

    SchoolsImprove it’s not just ‘screens’ that keep them in . It’s parents who r afraid of their ch being abducted & media who fuel the fear.

  2. misterhutt

    LearnWLesley SchoolsImprove Statistics show (NSPCC) that children are more at risk of physical & sexual attack from family than strangers.

  3. misterhutt

    LearnWLesley SchoolsImprove So actually they don’t need educating about ‘Stranger Danger’ but more ‘Familial Danger’.

  4. UK_Chemist

    stumps_34 Isn’t it a sad time when parents need ‘advising’ to do this? Fresh air is so important for children.

  5. stumps_34

    UK_Chemist absolutely! IT certainly has it’s place but the outdoors is ever changing and provides endless entertainment.

  6. 3Diassociates

    SchoolsImprove Children need to leave their screens and connect with one another, as well as the environment. #play #wellbeing #creativity

  7. UK_Chemist

    stumps_34 I work in a secondary school where the pupils, right up to Year 9 ‘play out’ at lunchtime. It’s heart warming to see.

  8. UK_Chemist

    stumps_34 I might be wrong but Conkers, pond-dipping and tree-climbing are all a lot cheaper than iPads. There’s room for both, surely?

  9. stumps_34

    UK_Chemist yes ! Definitely! It’s just about reminding teachers both are available. Good to hear older children play out! Refreshing!

  10. misterhutt

    LearnWLesley SchoolsImprove The shame is that parents who give their children freedoms painted as bad parents. They’re not!

  11. Penny_Ten

    LearnWLesley SchoolsImprove it’s quite complex as a parent. Kids that play out stand out as in minority. Attracts attention & comments

  12. navinjoshi1947

    atiyaz Most of neighbourhood parks are empty & many large parks frequented by rogue elements dangerous – debate goes on SchoolsImprove

  13. LearnWLesley

    Penny_Ten SchoolsImprove agree but parents need 2 stand up for themselves & b confident. I let my kids out & just made sure they were 1/2

  14. Penny_Ten

    LearnWLesley SchoolsImprove yep. Same here. We don’t have a TV either which helps. Can watch catch up on PC any time so less pressure

  15. LearnWLesley

    misterhutt SchoolsImprove as long as u talk to them about potential dangers- traffic, ect they need to b confident outside.

  16. misterhutt

    LearnWLesley SchoolsImprove And actually children are safer now near cars than in the 1970s due to crumple zones and other safety designs.

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