National Map Reading Week can help keep boredom at bay

85% of parents say they run out of low cost ideas for kids over the summer holidays within two weeks

5 minute read
Could a challenge to polish up your family’s map reading skills unlock new places to discover and explore without breaking the bank?

Parents are barely two weeks into the school holidays and already almost half of parents say they have run out of low-cost ideas to keep their children entertained.

That’s according to new research from Ordnance Survey (OS) which revealed that 85% of parents are looking for low-cost ways to keep their kids active and entertained during the school holidays.

Map reading outside
85% of parents run out of low cost ideas within two weeks of the summer holiday starting

OS is urging parents to make the most of National Map Reading Week, running 31st July – 6th August, and encourage the kids to get outdoors and explore the great British countryside.

Parents, carers and children are being aided to use Ordnance Survey mapping, whether paper maps or the popular OS Maps app, to help them to safely explore Britain.

National Map Reading Week is offering the chance to brush up on your map reading skills, whether you are exploring from home, on day trips or at British holiday destinations across the country.

With over half (54%) of parents admitting the most exposure their child has had with maps is via video games and 61% of children unable or unsure of how to find their home on a map, this summer is a great opportunity to brush up on these important life skills, and at the same time enjoy family time and banish boredom.

OS Map Reading Challenge

OS has created a fun way to check your knowledge. The mapping experts have produced the OS Map Reading Challenge to test parents and kids on their knowledge of map symbols, scale, and how to read contours. This could be vital for parents and kids who revealed in the research they struggle to identify geographical features and places of interest on a map.

You can complete the OS Map Reading Challenge and download your ‘OS Badge’ here.

Map reading is an important skill to have, not only to keep you safe, but also to allow you to be more adventurous as a family.

And, OS say map reading can help children develop their problem solving and critical thinking skills, which in turn builds confidence, leadership skills, and self-esteem – something that over three quarters (79%) of parents say they would like to help their child with.

Nick Giles OBE, MD of Leisure for Ordnance Survey, said: “Map reading skills ignite a sense of adventure among children and curiosity about the world around them. As kids learn to decipher maps, they start to imagine adventures and experience the excitement of doing them.

“Not only is it a low-cost way to keep kids entertained over summer, it can also foster quality bonding time between children and their parents that they never forget, and it’s something we find with National Map Reading Week every single year.

“Getting outside with a map in your hand has tremendous physical and mental health benefits too. NHS guidelines indicate children should be active for a minimum of 60 minutes of moderate physical activity a day. What better way to do this than being out on an immersing themselves in an exciting outdoor adventure this summer.”

Survey of adults

The study of 2,000 Brits for National Map Reading Week found that 39 per cent of adults want to brush up on their map reading skills.

If they were a more confident map reader, 46 per cent of those polled, via OnePoll, reckon they would explore more of the countryside and 42 per cent would rely less on technology.

More than four in 10 (41 per cent) would go on more adventurous walks and 23 per cent think they would go outside with their family more often.

And a further 61 per cent are of the opinion it should be part of the school curriculum from an early age.

Nick added: “OS has it all mapped out for the summer holidays with ways for both children and adults to keep active, stay safe and improve their geography and map reading skills. Test yourself in our challenge and then get the kids to gain their qualification before school starts in September.

“If you get the outdoors bug and want to adventure further, there is a premium subscription in our OS Maps App which works out at a cost of 55p a week (£28.99 annual subscription). It gives you access to some more advanced features as well as every one of the 607 OS leisure maps that cover the whole of Great Britain – enough to guarantee the kids don’t get bored this summer.”

Shaun the Sheep Countryside Code Walks

In addition, OS is pleased to team up with Natural England this summer to promote eight new Shaun the Sheep Countryside Code Walks around England and Wales.

These walks are accessible and suitable for families with pushchairs and wheelchairs to complete without any obstacles, and with Shaun the Sheep guiding the way, a great chance for young children to learn about map reading and how to behave in the countryside.

The eight walks can be found in:

  1. Seven Sisters Country Park, South Downs
  2. Buriton, South Downs
  3. Bamburgh, Northumberland
  4. Pembroke, Pembrokeshire:
  5. Sudeley Castle, Cotswolds
  6. Tintagel, Cornwall
  7. The Lizard, Cornwall
  8. River Thames, Chilterns

OS Maps App is available to download for free.

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