Decline in Outdoor Play
A report conducted by the National Trust has highlighted an alarming deterioration in children’s relationships with the natural world. According to the report (entitled Natural Childhood) less than 10% of children regularly play in wild places compared with 50% a generation ago. Moreover, the distance which children roam from their home has dropped by some 90% over the same period of time. This dramatic change can be attributed to a combination of several factors, primarily parents safety factors and children’s increasing interest in technology.
The corollary of this according to the National Trust is the development of a so-called ‘nature defecit disorder’ which is having a detrimental impact on children’s phycial and emotiona wellbeing. In order to try and combat this they are inviting members of the public to submit their thoughts as part of a 3 month inquiry on the topic of children and nature.
They are also appealing to parents and grandparents to make a conscious effort to encourage their children to spend time in the great outdoors and to pass on their experiences.
Here at ELHQ we fully appreciate the value of climbing trees, building dens, picking flowers etc. Outdoor play is an essential part of a child’s development. In our lesson plan section you will find a subsection dedicated to ‘the natural wordl / outdoor play’. This subsection contains several activity ideas designed to encourage outdoor play in early years settings including several general outdoor planning documents and plans for outdoor continuous provision. But I’d also like to draw your attention to a couple of lesson plans submitted by Anne Morddel of www.seasons-south-and-north.co.uk/.
1) Learning to Observe Nature
A discussion of the importance of teaching children to observe the natural world, includes lesson ideas.
2) Observing Nature Lesson Plan
An outdoor learning lesson plan teaching children to observe nature focusing in particular on ‘low down looking’.
I hope this info will be of use and if you have any ideas or info that you’d like to share relating to outdoor play then please get in touch, we’d love to hear from you!
Photo courtesy of Ikmal H on Flickr