by Melissa Lang
Experiencing time getting to grips with nature has a unique experience on our wellbeing. Of course, this is due to the physical aspect of hiking, playing and general exercise that we enjoy when spending time outdoors, the flood of endorphins that are triggered by physical exertion can’t be matched, but something else happens to us when we spend time with nature, it leads us to be more serene as we witness the vastness of our planet. So, this summer what could be more beneficial for all the family than getting everyone together for a camping adventure with Mother Nature as the lead guide?
Children aren’t experiencing the Outdoors like they used to
A recent study has shown eye-watering figures that three-quarters of children are now spending less time outdoors than inmates of prisons. Guidelines provided by the UN state that inmates are required to spend at least one hour every day exercising in the open air, though in the study of 2,000 parents by gov.uk it was uncovered that a huge 74% of children are receiving less than these guidelines, what’s more over 1 in 9 children have not visited a park or beach in over a year.
Most parents are well aware of the dangers of spending too much time indoors, health worries such as obesity and lack of vitamin D to name just a few. The increase of children spending time indoors is partly due to the technological age we have become engrossed by. 65% of children between the ages of 8-11 now own smart phones, giving children connectivity at an arm’s length whenever they please. This screen addiction, coupled with parent’s fears over their child’s safety when outdoors over situations such as; accidents in traffic, general injury or abduction has led to the worrying fact that now less than 1 in 10 children play in open spaces regularly. Studies undertaken by the National Trust have shown that half of all children in previous generations used to regularly play outdoors.
How can we Encourage Children Outdoors?
An adventure filled camping trip is a wonderful way to encourage children to spend time outdoors and away from their screens, they will be exposed to experiences that can’t be duplicated indoors, such as den building, experiencing he harmony of sleeping under the stars and the joy of eating a meal prepared and cooked on a camp fire. However, for those who don’t have a gourmet bone in their bodies; specifically prepared ration packs for camping are readily available online and take the stress out of planning and prepping for your meals. They are filled to the brim with everything your family will need for your overnight adventure. Once back home children will be able to share a plethora of knowledge they can wow their friends with, and will hold dear, nostalgic memories that last a lifetime.
Camping gets the whole family away from the drudgery of everyday life and encourages stronger family ties through the necessity of team work; what’s more this can be done on a budget making it one of the most affordable ways to explore the country. Of course, if you’re not already convinced then take a look at these amazing findings by Plymouth University:
• Children who experience camping at least once a year have better grades in school
• Parents of children who camp think they are healthier and happier
• Camping can help children understand curriculum subjects; Geography, Science, History, English and Maths
• 98% of parents said camping makes their children appreciate and connect with nature
• 95% said their kids were happier when camping
• 93% felt that it provided useful skills for later life
• 52% of tent campers felt cooking when camping had a positive effect on their children’s learning
Camping with the whole family is a magical experience that is unlike any other holiday; it is both mentally and physically rewarding and encourages life skills that children may not otherwise have the joy of learning. Getting to grips with Mother Nature is a sure way to encourage the health and wellbeing of children, who may otherwise be faced with a lifetime of screen-staring.
Melissa Lang is an outdoors enthusiast who enjoys camping and outdoor activities in Scotland. Melissa has worked for Cadets UK for a number of years and is well versed in field craft.