Jump to content
patsylabrador

Children and the great outdoors

Recommended Posts

I see a lot of older people on various forums saying bad things about children. That they're never off their various devices and never play outdoors. That they never get down and dirty in a simple muddy kind of way with nature and the world. I'd like to argue against that but I don't know any little children, well only a couple.

I was thinking that lots of you have contact one way or another with children. Have they changed that much? Do they still like mud and tadpoles and conkers and playing with earthworms? I hope they do.

Not just little children, teens and so on. Getting out on their bikes all day, playing in woods, getting home late for tea. I hope all that still goes on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think children have changed much, but it's what is around them that has changed.eg I had very much a childhood like you detail, my eldest daughter did to some extent but not the going out and not coming home to tea late (like I did), mainly because of the traffic and there is contact with mobile phones nowadays. Cycling round like a looney (that's what I used to do...all hours ) just doesn't happen with the traffic today. My daughter did do mud pies etc, in our garden. Child no 2, a boy.....completely different....football and techy games!! As a parent, it's a steep learning curve, you have to learn that things are different or else you don't survive....well I wouldn't have.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, it's something that happened a lot during the summer holidays but I'm afraid that the boys, ES aged 13 in particular, get far too much homework. At weekends we try and get out as much as possible...neither of my two 'does' social media and won't be doing so for a long, long time! They do like games though esp Minecraft but we get them outside as much as possible; having just joined a sailing club on the Thames helps too! I am horrified by some of the stories that I hear from other parents about how long their children are spending in front of screens; we try and strike a balance.

 

Over the summer ES decided that he wanted a bedside set of drawers. I found a set on Gumtree but they looked as though they'd been in a barn for years! He used the sander to sand them down and waxed them with three coats of furniture wax; they looked great! He said he'd enjoyed doing it so much he'd like another project so I subbed him the cash for another Gumtree find and he renovated that and I sold it for him on Gumtree. Having paid me back he put the profits into yet another pine item which is still awaiting sanding and waxing.........he also cuts grass for an elderly lady in the village which gets him away from the screen and gives him a bit of responsibility and a small amount of cash.

 

YS is that bit too young for any of this but I take him out for walks round the village and we've had a go at catching crayfish (American ones!) in the brook. I could happily go another 3/4 weeks on the summer hols; feels like they went back far too soon!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I childmind and all the children I care for spend loads of time outside doing everything what you would expect and they always want to go out - we spend hours in the garden, beach, woods and park.

 

My own children are early teenagers and still love to go outside especially camping but also equally spend time on screens - my daughter messages her friends alot (but none live local and she would love a friend to actually go out with ) and spends lots of time listening to music and watching films. My son watches absolute rubbish on you tube and plays a variety of games - he used to go out more but bullying stopped this. They both have long school days (7.30 - 4.30) and then homework so I have learnt that if this is how they want to relax let them - they still play sport. I think the main problem is their friends are dotted all over the place , so their phones are lifelines to chat- when I was young we all just went to the same local village school and knew everyone so we would just hang out and chat.

 

This summer I was extremely happy to see in the local woods someone made a couple of rope swings and every evening groups of teenagers have been going up there and having great fun - these teenagers have been even cycling from nearby villages, I can hear them from my house - they have been climbing and swinging and laughing alot. They sounded like they were having so much fun so I even tried a rope swing out when taking the dog for a walk ...it was fun until the branch seat snapped !!!

 

But on a very sad note the saddest thing I have ever heard was this - a friend of mine was trying to get her son to come to the beach when on holiday - he has mild autism with sensory problems so it was never a fun place for him but his reply was "Mum if I wanted to go to the beach or anywhere else in the world I can look at photos on line so I don't really ever need to go outdoors"

 

Things change but the I feel the love of the great outdoors will still be there but there may also be a screen taking a photo or 2 ....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow that's very enterprising, good for him. I think you have to make huge effort to avoid devices as long as possible.My lot have a Wii and the highlight of their day is when they get half an hour between 4 to play Mario cart and that's only if it is raining. I much prefer them out playing football and cycling or inside with Lego and Knex. Sadly from my observations a lot of parents give devices to keep them quiet. I do hate to see families in restaurants,kids on iPads, parents on phones and no eye contact or conversation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Aha, Grandmashazzie.....yes I saw a lot of Mums in a cafe recently With their offspring aged 3-7 approximately...all th children who were on their iPad devices, no social interaction going on. How sad.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm another one who bemoans the fact that children are given electronic childminders to keen them quiet so their parents can sit and fiddle on their phones in peace :roll:

 

My daughter grew up before most of the electronic devices for children and I never encouraged TV watching. I do believe that children need encouraging in the right direction, and will enjoy it once they get out there, but that parents have lost the knack of engaging with their youngsters, and themselves have lost touch with the outdoors.

 

I would love to run outdoors courses for children

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm always impressed that every evening in summer my neighbours' boys (12 and 9) are outside in the garden playing cricket or football (although I wish their aim was better, I get a bit tired of searching for lost balls!). I expect they spend a fair bit of time on their screens too.

 

I used to help with a Cub Scout group and I recall the time on a camping trip when they were told they could go and play in the woods nearby (we were on a secure site). Some rushed off, but others hung around looking uneasy. 'What - just go off? What do we play with?' This was ten years ago when electronics were much less in evidence, but these children had never played outside their own gardens. I think increased traffic and the perception of risk has had a lot to do with this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's rather sad that we're raising a generation out of touch with their natural environment.

 

As children, we spent a lot of time on my grandparents' smallholding, and also the holidays in Norfolk, where we were out all day, walking to the beach or on boats or fishing - fantastic memories

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


×