Summer Holidays: Why Outdoor Play Really Matters

The Summer holidays are here! I remember mine with great fondness; six weeks off, feeling like it would last forever, big plans, staying up way beyond bed time, and having the time you never realized you wouldn’t get again. Ah the power of youth.

For parents though, the summer holidays aren’t quite all sweetness and delight. Parents, particularly those with younger children, need to get their juggling balls out once again to balance that work and family time. If you’re in a position where your usual childcare is also on a break, then those balls seem to spin even faster!

Under that kind of pressure, it would be easy to just let the kids get in front of the TV more, play more online games, and create all kinds of distraction. But recent research has revealed why, this summer, we need to take a stand.

Screen Time has taken over

Recent research has revealed that children up to the age of 11 in the UK are spending, in an average week, 45 hours in front of a screen, and only five hours playing outside.

That is in itself a shocking statistic, but when we consider what effects that’s having on our children, it makes the statistic even more important to correct.

In a study for the Early-Years group, research shows how outdoor play is essential for large muscle development – so the way our children learn to walk forwards, run, climb, pivot, jump, balance etc are all fundamentally learned through more outdoor play. It’s this sense of body management that’s essential.

Outdoor play is also a vital component of gross motor skills – which we develop into fine motor skills, like learning how to use a knife and fork, holding a pencil, and writing for instance.

Conquering parents’ fear.

The results of the research also revealed that over half of the children themselves (52%) revealed that they themselves wanted to play outdoor a lot more – but it was their parents that weren’t letting them.

Going further, the results showed that:

– 57% of parents think playing outside today is not as safe as it was during their own…

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