Outdoor and natural play is something that generations upon generations of children have enjoyed and remember fondly, but with technology now creeping up on every facet of life the children of today could be missing out on vital life skills that are learned through independent play.
However with parents fearing abduction, busy roads and a lack of safe play areas, children are now far more likely to stay inside watching T.V and playing video games.
Though there are many opportunities for children to get involved with clubs and extra curricular activities, all of these are organised, supervised and involve very little freedom and independent thinking which could be damaging children’s development, as well as contributing to an increase in childhood obesity caused by inactivity.
Alida Gersie, a drama therapist who frequently uses the outdoors in her work with problem plagued children has said she believes free play is absolutely vital for development.
“It is fundamental for the child’s well-being and also for them as an adult to be innovative, adaptable and creative . In free play if you cannot predict how you are going to be you also cannot predict how others are going to behave and you need to find new solutions to new situations. Humanity has developed with a need for this.” She said.
There are plenty of opportunities for children to play outside whilst still saying safe, why not give them their own patch of flowerbed where they are able to plant and look after their own vegetables or flowers? Organise play date’s where you can take your child and their friends to the park where you are able to discreetly supervise from a bench. Every little helps and you may find that simply taking the dog on a muddy woodland welly boot walk will get them excited about being outside.