16 Aug 2017

Getting Wild & the National Trust

We are half way through the summer holidays and I might be the only one but I feel like it as zoomed past - that might be as I have still been working, but still we are approaching the home stretch and its soom time to be getting those feet measured and getting the school shoes sorted. In the mean time there is still a few weeks left to get out (at least the sun has made a welcome re appearance this week) and explore the world with your little ones.

In honour of the summer holidays, the National Trust has run research revealing that it is in fact our grandparents generation that is the most wild of all, with three quarters (76%) saying they were far more adventurous and daring in their youth compared to both their children and grandchildren – with half (51%) confessing to have never even seen their grandchildren climb a tree! Now this I can believe. From talking to my parents and my inlaws - but how had a very different growing up to what the kids do. My dad grew up in Brighton spending his youth there, my mum in Croydon but also holidays in Jersey, Guernsey and Ireland where her and her brothers and cousins would wander free. My inlaws both had their early youth growing up in Jamaica and talk about eating coconuts off the trees and running around barefoot.

The research also found that:
      Children today spend 57% less time exploring outdoors than their parents and grandparents did – on average just 1 hour 20 mins a day, vs. 2 hours 40 mins (parents) and 3 and a half hours a day (grandparents)
      87% of parents and grandparents said they enjoy seeing the little ones running wild and carefree, with 80% enjoying seeing them playing outdoors away from technology devices
      Nearly half (49%) of grandparents take on the role of childminding more than twice a week to support parents, with this increasing during the school holidays by almost two-thirds of grandparents (61%)

All of he above is something I have experienced by myself. My boys as much as they love being outside it is sometimes a battle (But I am watching this!!). Both set of grandparents love seeing the boys outside and take pleasure in them helping water the garden or walk the dog. And most definitely we rely heavily on the help of our parents in term time and more so in the school holidays with the childcare. Something we are very grateful for.

The study signals the start of the National Trust’s ‘50 Things To Do Before You’re 11 ¾’ initiative – which aims to encourage families to get outdoors and enjoy spending time together. 

Research by, the National Trust, reveals grandparents are the key ingredient to helping today’s generation develop a connection with nature. Over three quarters (76%) claim they were far more explorative and daring in their youth compared to both their own children and grandchildren, with a huge majority (92%) saying that they take great enjoyment from teaching their grandchildren about these adventurous activities, such as building a den or flying a kite.
The research also reveals that 4 in 5 (79%) adults believe children today have less freedom to explore and play outdoors, compared to their own childhood. While 75% of grandparents said climbing trees was one of their favourite childhood memories, half (51%) said their grandchildren had not experienced this activity.
The research polled 1,000 grandparents and parents for the charity as part of its 50 Things To Do Before You’re 11 ¾’ initiative –  which aims to encourage families to get outdoors and enjoy spending time together – looks at the importance of outdoor family play and how this builds a stronger appreciation and connection to nature.
To celebrate the joyful experiences the natural world has to offer, the Trust has created a wildlife documentary-style film, bringing to life the innate connection we all have with nature with grandparents leading the way. 
Supporting the National Trust’s findings, Behavioural Psychologist Donna Dawson (BA, MSc, PhD) adds:
“Grandparents today are spending more and more time with their grandchildren in the roles of childminder and carer, and consequently getting to share real ‘quality time’ with them. And the research shows that one of the things they are sharing is a love of nature and the great outdoors, something that harks back to their own happy childhood memories. Learning to appreciate Nature at a young, impressionable age makes it much more likely that children will grow up to pass on their love of outdoor experiences to future generations. As a grandmother of seven, I have seen the effects on my grandchildren myself: they are never happier then when running free in the fresh air and sunshine, exploring and asking questions about the natural world around them.”
National Trust Ranger Kate Jones, adds:
“This summer, we want to inspire children, parents and grandparents to get outdoors and develop their relationship with nature together as a family. With so many fantastic ‘50 Things To Do Before You’re 11 ¾’ events taking place at Trust locations across the country there’s no better time to go wild and explore the great outdoors taking inspiration from our challenges. We know that sharing these outdoor experiences with family and friends from a young age, helps to foster a stronger and more ingrained connection to nature, which we hope will be passed on for generations to come.”

To kick off our boys first start into their own #50things we headed off to a local National Trust Estate Polesdeon Lacey in Dorking. With out picnic in tow and the boys bikes and scooters we enjoyed the sunshine, walked through fields as they boys picked up sticks, looked out for bugs and climbed a tree. We picked up a kids acitivity pack as well which they enjoyed looking at reaading while we ate. Maxwell is keen to tick off things on his list and we need to see what else we can get through. My city boys do love very much being outside and exploring the world around them. They have such enthusiam for the world and after our visit took great pleasure in telling their grandparents about the things they saw and did on our visit.

The National Trust, which is funded entirely through the support of the public who visit, join and volunteer, is looking to inspire the next generation of children to plant their roots and kick-start a lifelong love affair with nature through its ‘50 Things To Do Before You’re 11 ¾’ initiative.

For more information on the National Trust’s ’50 Things To Do Before You’re 11 ¾’ campaign, head to: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/50things or search #50things.

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