An overwhelming number of children want to turn off the TV, put down their devices and spend more time outside exploring nature, a new research survey by the RSPB has revealed.
The RSPB’s Connecting Children with Nature partnership – a £2m project funded by discount supermarket Aldi – which has over the past two years helped over 240,000 children take their first steps on their own wild adventure found that 85% of children who took part wanted to spend more time outside in nature.
The project survey, which quizzed over 1000 school children and teachers about their nature experience session with the RSPB, revealed that 86% of pupils learnt something new about nature that they didn’t know before, while the overwhelming majority of teachers agreed that taking part in lessons outdoors increased children’s confidence.
- 85% of school children agreed that they want to spend more time outside in nature.
- 86% of school children agreed that they learnt things about nature that they didn’t know before.
- 91% of teachers agreed that they want to spend more time teaching outside.
- 83% of teachers agreed that taking part in lessons outside increases children’s confidence.
- 98% of teachers rated the school outreach sessions as ‘Excellent’ or ‘Good’.
In recent years, a number of studies have revealed the amount of time British children are spending outside exploring nature is on the decline. To encourage more children and their families to swap the sofa for the great outdoors, the RSPB launched Connecting Children with Nature, which has to date seen children across Britain spend more than 360,000 hours outside on their own nature adventure.
To allow children to explore the outdoors, learn new skills and try something different like their parents and grandparents did, the partnership funded a number of activities. Since its launch, a schools’ outreach programme has seen RSPB-trained staff and volunteers deliver free, 90-minute nature experience sessions to more than 1000 schools in 17 cities across England, Wales and Scotland.
To help children and their families to embark on their own wild adventure away from the classroom, the partnership also launched the Wild Challenge this Easter. Consisting of 24 activities from minibeast safaris and rock pooling to creating a hedgehog café and planting for wildlife, the challenge allows families to go on their own wild adventure taking them from their own back garden to exploring towns, cities, woodlands and even the coast. So far, 44,000 Wild Challenge actions have been taken in gardens and communities.
Martyn Foster, RSPB Head of Education, Families and Youth, says: “Children will always remember their first discoveries when out getting wild in nature – from the thrill of finding a blitz of bugs under a rock to spotting a family of starlings furiously flying around in search of their next meal. With the positive impact nature has on children’s learning, physical health and emotional wellbeing it is more important than ever that we are helping young people to experience, learn and value the natural world.”
Proceeds from Aldi’s carrier bag sales across the UK are expected to see the charity receive donations in excess of £2m over a three-year period.