Children encouraged to swap 'screen time' for time outdoors

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Three children’s organisations in the UK are urging children to get outdoors for National Children’s Day 2014.

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Children are encouraged to get outside this National Children's Day

First launched in 2013, National Children’s Day is devoted to promoting the right of every child to enjoy more time outside, and will take place this year on 11 May.

This National Children's Day, the Save Childhood Movement, the Wild Network and the Campaign for a Commercial-free Childhood are teaming up to encourage children to swap time spent in front of a screen for time spent outdoors.

wild-posterIn the week leading up to National Children's Day (5-11 May), the Save Childhood Movement is linking with the United States' Campaign for a Commerical-Free Childhood's 'Screen-free week', asking children to pledge to turn off televisions, videos and mobile phones in favour of spending time in the outdoors.

To celebrate National Children's Day, the Wild Network has also developed a free app for smartphones called Wild Time, which provides time-stretched families with ways to get their children outside.

Along with this, the organisations will be hosting screenings of David Bond’s feature documentary Project Wild Thing in outside locations across the UK, including the top of some of the country’s highest mountains in Snowdonia. The film follows Mr Bond, a filmmaker and father of two, as he appoints himself ‘Marketing Director for Nature’ and leads a campaign to inspire families to get off the sofa and into the wild.

There are also a number of competitons, early years settings, parents and children can enter for a chance to win money and resources from Community Playthings and Muddy Faces.

David Bond, director of Project Wild Thing, said, ‘The barriers stopping children from connecting with the outdoors can feel insurmountable. It’s easy to become disheartened.  We all need to become marketing directors for nature, freeing this generation of children to have the sort of experiences that many of us took for granted.

‘An extra thirty minutes of wild time every day for all children under 12 in the UK would be the equivalent of three months of their childhood spent outdoors.’

Wendy Ellyatt, chief executive of Save Childhood Movement, said, ‘Childhood is changing fast. From the impact of screen technology to the restrictions of an increasingly risk-averse culture, children’s rights and freedoms are being eroded and nature is getting muscled out of the way.

‘No matter their colour, sex or family background, all children in the UK are losing a connection to nature. This National Children's Day we want to encourage parents to get it back.’

  • Suggestions for outside events and activities, from conker collecting and snail racing to fishing lessons and free outdoor play opportunities, will be posted on the Wild Network and National Children’s Day websites.