Getting outdoors is child’s play

Another year to be largely spent under artificial lights in an office, car or train while our thoughts are often elsewhere?

But it’s not just you. A recent UK study commissioned by the National Trust found that children spend half the time playing outside that their parents did.

The National Trust research showed that children are playing outside for an average of just over four hours a week. This compares unfavorably with 8.2 hours for their parents when they were children. What’s more, a UK government study found that 10% of respondents have not even been in a natural environment such as a park, forest or beach for at least a year. It showed that overall engagement with outside rural spaces is low in the modern age, and as you might expect, highly dependent on both the parent’s attitudes to outdoor activity and their socio-economic status.

NDD, or Nature Deficit Disorder, has become a bit of a buzzword over the past few years, although not a recognised medical condition there are apparent concerns about its effects on wellbeing.

Richard Louv first coined the phrase Nature Deficit Disorder in his 2005 book ‘Last Child in the Woods’. He said that all of us, especially children, ‘are spending more time indoors, which makes us feel alienated from nature and perhaps more vulnerable to negative moods or reduced attention span.’

Make the outdoors fun again

At least equally important as setting restrictions on shiny technology is to make the outdoors as appealing to your child as possible. Cast your mind back to your childhood and remember the things that intrigued you and fired your imagination. Make sure you, and your child, have all the tools at your disposal to enjoy the best the outdoors has to offer.

You don’t have to visit the Himalayas or go to see blue whales off the Azores, the simple answer is much closer to home. For example, the Jurassic coastline in Dorset is brimming with things to do with a fantastic playground of beaches and miles of unspoilt countryside to explore. A county of contrasts, Dorset offers the very best of countryside, coastline, events and attractions, perfect for families, groups and couples alike.

Dorset boasts some of the best outdoor attractions you’ll ever find, including fantastic adventure activities such as CoasteeringBushcraftClimbing & Abseiling and Kayaking. The Jurassic Coast is a natural haven for adventure and exploration. So, improve your wellbeing and make sure you, and your children, re-connect with the great outdoors this year.