Are Children Getting Enough Outdoor Education in London and the UK?

Published: 11 May 2016

It’s no secret that the team here at Surrey Outdoor Learning and Development all absolutely adore the great outdoors, and are enthusiastic supporters of outdoor education in London and around the UK; we love nothing more than encouraging activity amongst children, and to see them have fun while they learn and grow! With this in mind, we’re always pleased to see other people and institutions taking children’s outdoor learning seriously, like Persil is doing with their recent efforts.

The UK has seen a worrying decline in outdoor activity and ‘hands-on’ play, where children go outside and get dirty by engaging in activities like climbing trees, building dens and hunting for insects. Surveys undertaken by Persil have found that almost a third of children in the UK play outside for less than 30 minutes a day, and twice as much of their time is spent on screens than outside, leading to an increase in inactivity amongst young people, which runs the risk of carrying over into adulthood.

Studies have shown that children who don’t play outside as much as they should (1-3 hours a day are recommended depending on the age bracket) are missing out on essential skill building, personal growth and various other health benefits.

Outdoor play and education can help foster things like problem-solving, teamwork, social and practical ‘hands-on’ skills, as well as contribute to emotional and mental well-being in both children and adults alike. Spending more time outdoors also helps children find an appreciation for nature and can stop bad habits from forming such as inactivity, something which is all too easy to fall into with the abundance of gadgets on offer these days!

With this in mind, Persil have launched their #DirtIsGood campaign which encourages children to go outside and get active, no matter the stains their clothes may suffer as a result! Friday 17th June 2016 also marked the Empty Classroom Day, an initiative to encourage schools to teach at least one of their classes outdoors to help their pupils see the benefits of outdoor learning. We think this is a fab idea, and encourage parents up and down the UK to talk to their schools about it to make sure that they - and their children - will be taking part!

If you’re interested in giving children in your care a head start in life and believe that they’d benefit from outdoor education in one of our London or Surrey adventure sites, then SOLD would love to hear from you! With a wide range of sites and activities, we take great pleasure in reacquainting both adults and children with nature, and encouraging them to push themselves and see the results! If you’d like to know more about our activities or facilities, then get in touch today or simply browse our site for more information.