I loved being outdoors as a child. I spent hours digging holes, getting messy and hunting for bugs. As I got older, we explored nearby fields and woods. We spent hours running round until we finally fell exhausted, into bed.

It seems those days are gone now.

Some recent research carried out by the Camping and Caravanning Club shows some rather scary findings. A whopping 96% of adults think they were happy as a child because they spent time out doors while 44% of adults expressed worries that their children aren’t as happy as they were as a child.

In more recent years, it seems children are spending less and less time outdoors, preferring to stay indoors, often relying on social media, TV and computer games for entertainment. 72% of the adults questioned, think social media is affecting children’s ability to interact and engage with others which can cause great problems later in life.Swinging-outdoorsThere’s even a term for it, Nature deficit disorder, a phrase coined by Richard Louv who claimed that human beings, especially children, are spending less time outdoors, resulting in negative consequences to individual health and social interaction.
Tree-trunk-outdoorsWhilst I appreciate parental fears and the worry that parents feel every time their child leaves the house, I wonder, could we actually be scaring our children into loosing their sense of adventure?

You only need to turn a page in a newspaper or flick the channel on the TV to see another hideous crime, crime is not on the increase, but moral panic is. Should we life in fear, if that fear affects the way we live our life?Football-outdoorsThere are many reasons children should spend time out doors –

* It teaches them responsibility. From growing and nurturing plants to helping sort the recycling, it allows them take  an interest in nature and our effect on it.

* It allows creativity and expands the imagination. There are so many more games and adventures a child can have    outdoors.

* It offers stimulation. Outdoor stimulation is completely different to stimulation from a computer game. It uses all  of the senses and the natural environment can be very calming.

* It gets kids on their feet, being active. It doesn’t need to be rigorous exercise, just riding a bike or climbing a tree    helps your child stay fit and healthy. This in turn can help with sleep and stress levels and make for a much happier  child.

I asked some other bloggers why they thought children should be outdoors, and here are some of their responses –

Clare from emmysmummy says –

“What child ever remembers the TV show they watched? Spending time outdoors brings you together as a family and helps to provide lasting memories to look back on…plus it means us adults can act like big kids too”

Jo from sitstillmonkeys says –

“Spending time outdoors means kids spend less time using screens. They get fresh air and sunshine as well as encouragement to get moving”

Mary from over40andmumtoone says –

“I grew up spending a lot of time outdoors with my bug hunter father, and I’m so pleased that my 6 year old loves being outdoors too. He values the natural world around him, has learnt where crops come from and how they’re harvested as well as looking for bugs. It’s fundamental as far as I’m concerned for children to spend time outdoors, enjoying and appreciating the world we live in”

And of course, like Sarah from Mumzilla says –

” So they don’t get rickets”

Do you think your children spend enough time outdoors?

*Collaborative post

 

 

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The Great Outdoors: The Lothians

If there’s one thing that summer is good for, it’s getting outside to enjoy the great outdoors. While the weather doesn’t always equal bright sunshine, it doesn’t mean that you can’t get outside to enjoy what the countryside has to offer, and with a holiday to Edinburgh, you can incorporate some rural fun with a city break. Base yourself at one of Edinburgh’s Travelodge’s and head into the surrounding Lothians for a break from the hubbub of the city – pack a picnic and take a look at some of the beautiful nature reserves and country parks, that you’ll be able to lose yourself in for the day.

In East Lothian you’ll find plenty of reserves and hides that would be perfect for the twitcher in you. Aberlady Bay is full of geese and waders, as well as an array of ducks and skylarks that are seldom found elsewhere. There’s a hide where birdwatchers can stay, waiting for the perfect opportunity to spot a rare species, while those who would prefer to enjoy the walk will enjoy the coastline trails.

Alternatively, Bass Rock can be found north of North Berwick, which is often considered as a seabird city. It’s home to the largest colony of gannets in the world, and is quite a sight. You’ll have to use a boat to get there, but it’s worth it if you’re a lover of sights like that. The award-winning Scottish Seabird Centre in North Berwick is also a must. It’s perfect come rain or shine, and home to various birds including a colony of puffins.

Meanwhile, there are also various reserves scattered across West and Midlothian for you to enjoy, where tranquillity is the main aim of the day. You can easily lose yourself in one of the country parks, such as the Almondell and Calderwood Country Park near Broxburn. Run through fields of bluebells, or wade in the river.

Find a spot to lay a picnic blanket and enjoy some quality time with your other half and family. Or, if you’d prefer a guide, the rangers will be happy to help.  Head to Whitburn and you’ll come across the 168-acre Polkemmet Country Park, which has various signposted trails for you to enjoy. There’s an abundance of wildlife within the park too – perfect for capturing some photos of the great outdoors to remember the day by. The Straiton Pond Local Nature Reserve has a bird observation post, where you can fully appreciate the sanctuary in all its glory.

Closer to the city of Edinburgh, you’ll find Erraid Wood, which can be found in the Pentland Hills. If you want to enjoy the outdoors, but don’t want to go too far from the city, this is the place to go.

The Lothians are easily accessible from the city, especially if you have brought your car with you, and are jam-packed full of secret escapes and adventure. If you’d like your break a little more action-packed, there are plenty of pursuits to immerse yourself in, too. Whatever you choose to do, get behind the wheel and drive – you’ll end up somewhere stunning!

 

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