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Are traditional outdoor activities becoming a thing of the past?

16 Jun 2017

Ordnance Survey (OS) is urging families to take part in a national day of adventure and help their children experience the traditional outdoor activities which the parents used to enjoy.

A survey conducted by OS has highlighted that children are taking part in less outdoors activities than their parents. The results show that today’s children are less likely to have built a den, collect bugs, flown a kite or been camping. For instance, 38% of parents often built dens compared to 16% of their children. This was also true for collecting bugs (27% vs 14%), kite flying (16% to 10%) and camping in the garden (24% to 13%).

The research was carried out ahead of Wild Night Out, an initiative taking place on Saturday 1 July. The Wild Night Out ultimate day of adventure for Great Britain is designed to encourage people of all ages and abilities to use the night and day as an opportunity to get active and enjoy the outdoors.

Nick Giles, Ordnance Survey Leisure Managing Director, says: "Wild Night Out provides the ideal opportunity for families to get outside and enjoy new, and old, activities with their children. The recent survey supports many of the national statistics which highlight that some children are not benefiting from being active outdoors. We are urging parents to use this day to relive their childhoods and teach their children some of the traditional pastimes and even some new outdoor skills.

"Ultimately, we want to make the outdoors an enjoyable, safe and accessible place for everyone. Whether it’s a visit to the local park, a trip to a national park or a weekend camping, there should be no excuses.

The also survey reveals that 38% of children have never been camping, highlighting that children in Sheffield are the most camp-happy with 17% camping more than twice a year, contrasting with only 4% of children in London. Girls take the lead in the camping stakes with just under a quarter (23%) doing it once a year, 6% more than boys. More than a third of children (37%) admitted to missing their technology, while 36% of children stated that they would simply rather go on a different holiday. Children also attributed their lack of camping experience to their parents’ dislike of the activity.

Belinda Kirk, Explorer and Founder of Wild Night Out, adds: “I hear from many people and families who want to do more outdoors but find it difficult to get started. Wild Night Out is designed to make it easier to get involved. If you're just starting out, you can camp in yours or a friend's garden, go for a walk among nature, even book on to try a new outdoor lesson - there's advice and ideas on the Wild Night Out website.

“If you're an experienced outdoors-person, then it's a great opportunity to try something new or to encourage and support friends to get outside. On 1 July you will be part of a community of like-minded men, women and children around the UK who understand how enriching it is to have fun outdoors. For the last eight years I have been promoting the psychological benefits of outdoor adventure; it teaches us and our children teamwork, self-confidence, resilience and creativity. Wild Night Out reminds us how getting outside helps us to lead healthier, happier lives and may just create the momentum we all need to get outside more this year and the next."

Find inspiration for Wild Night Out activities and places to visit at:

Notes to editors

Survey line carried out by Opinion Matters on behalf of Ordnance Survey. Sample of 1,000 parents on 11-18 years-olds and 1,000 11-18 years-olds.

Ordnance Survey
By Ordnance Survey
Press Office

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