Why children need to play outdoors

“Fewer than a quarter of children regularly use their local ‘patch of nature’, compared to over half of all adults when they were children. And fewer than on in ten children regularly play in wild places; compared to almost half a generation ago.” (Moss, 2012)

Think about how you used to play outside as a child. Did you run in from school, throw your bag on the floor and run straight back out again? Where did you go? What games did you play? How long were you out for and how did it make you feel?

Statistics show that there are no more child abductions today than there were 30 years ago and road accidents have actually reduced by 74% (Department of Transport). Yet, because of parents’ worries about increased traffic and a fear of strangers, fewer children are playing outside freely these days. Combine this with the growth in electronic addictions (mobile phones, tablets, computer games) and it’s easy to see why children are playing outside less and less.

Ironically, children are at risk from not playing outside. In his book ‘Last Child in the Woods’, Richard Louv, coins the phrase ‘Nature Deficit Disorder to describe the impact that a lack of outdoor play is having on children (and adults). Nature Deficit Disorder is real and it’s having a huge impact on our children’s health and well-being.

Risks from not playing outside

Impact on Physical Health