Get out in the fresh air with the National Trust

children-playingHalf term is coming up for school children and spring is in the air, so what better way to spend your week than out in the fresh air?

The National Trust’s “Fresh Air” campaign is encouraging people to make the most of the countryside, coast, woodlands and beaches.

Up until the 1960s children spent most of their free time outdoors, playing in the fields, parks, streets, back alleys, old bombsites and local beauty spots. Now that has completely reversed and the majority of children spend their free time playing indoors on computers, games consoles and watching TV.

This has contributed towards to an increase in child obesity, child aggression and isolation of children who no longer sort out their own squabbles outdoors away from the interference of Mum and Dad.[amazon-product align=”right” small=”1″]1848870825[/amazon-product]

In recent studies, just 37 percent of 10 – 12 year old children spent more than half an hour outdoors per day. 8 to 18 years spend nearly 4 hours a day in front of a TV screen and almost 2 additional hours on the computer (outside of schoolwork) and playing video games.

According to Richard Louv, author of “Last Child in the woods”, our children are the first generation to be raised without meaningful contact with the natural world, which is leading to some disturbing childhood trends such as obesity, depression and attention deficit. His book shows how direct exposure to nature is essential for healthy childhood development and for the physical and emotional health of children and adults and he offers solutions to change this.

If you want to get your kids outside, there are half term events taking place in Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire such as the exciting sounding Knights and Princesses Castle Quest at Corfe Castle, a walk on the wild side in search of deer at Dyrham Park, Scrub bashing on cheddar cliffs or if something more sedate takes your fancy, you can go on a snowdrop walk.

If you want to plan your own event, take advantage of the 27 walks, outlined on the National Trust website which you can download free, for your own use.

What about you – how much time do your children spend outdoors and how does this compare to your own childhood?