Its time to swing the pendulum back to more wild time for kids

Wednesday 25th September 2013

The Wildlife Trusts give children a chance to enjoy natureThe Wildlife Trusts give children a chance to enjoy nature.

A new movement of more than 300 diverse organisations is being officially launched today to kick-start a revolution that will reconnect kids with nature and the outdoors.

The Wild Network is a unique and pioneering collaboration between organisations both large and small to let kids get back their ‘wild time’ and reverse the trend of children losing touch with the natural world and playing outdoors.

The Wildlife Trusts have signed up, along with schools, local authorities, play groups, NHS Trusts, Scout groups, businesses, campaigners, conservationists, outdoor activity organisations, city farms, and others to this inspiring initiative to breakdown the barriers to kids spending time outside playing rather than inside.

Andy Simpson, the chair of the Wild Network, says:
“The sort of outdoors childhood that many of us took for granted is rapidly becoming a thing of the past.

“In just one generation we have moved from a nation of free-range kids to cotton wool kids that rarely play outside or have much of a connection with nature.

“If we don’t start to turn the tide now this could have major implications for the health and wellbeing of today’s children and the desire of people to care for the natural world around them.”

Evidence about the impact of an inactive and indoors childhood has grown over the summer with the Chief Executive of the British Heart Foundation calling for a return to the ‘traditional outdoors childhood’ and new reports by the UCL Institute of Child Health and also Public Health England [2].

On the 25 October a major new feature length documentary film ‘Project Wild Thing’ will be shown at Picturehouse cinemas across the country; this is the first activation of The Wild Network campaign. Cinema tickets for the film are now available to buy online [3].

This witty, original and inspiring film takes a look at why kids have lost touch with nature and outdoors, why it matters and what parents can do to reconnect them.

Andy Simpson, added, “We’ve reached a tipping point, a once-in-a generation moment where if we work together we can reconnect the nations children with the natural world, firing their imagination, creativity and helping to improve their well-being.  We want people and organisations to sign up and join us on this journey.”

Individuals and organisations can sign up and join the movement by visiting http://www.projectwildthing.com. You can also join the conversation about reconnecting kids and nature by using the hashtags #wildtime or #projectwildthing on twitter. Contact your local Wildlife Trust to find out about children's clubs and activities in your area.

Notes to editors:
[1] The Wild Network has been launched with three specific aims: to get the scale of the problems of children losing touch with nature and outdoor play recognised as a challenge for society and Government; to provide opportunities for children to connect with nature and outdoor play; and to bring real and meaningful change so that children have the access and opportunity to enjoy nature and the outdoors that previous generations have enjoyed.
[2] See these links for report published in August by British Heart Foundation and the University of Oxford, UCL Institute of Child Health ; and Public Health England http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/aug/28/children-health-tv-computer-games
[3] Advance cinema tickets for ‘Project Wild Thing’ are available to buy online from the Picture House website .

Photo credit: Emma Bradshaw