Childhood outdoor pastimes 'on the decline'

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London, Sep 7 (ANI): A new UK study has revealed that traditional childhood pastimes of climbing trees and playing conkers are on the decline.

According to a survey by Ipsos Mori for RSPB, under 34 recall far fewer such childhood outdoor experiences than their counterparts over 55.

It also highlights how poorer children experience less of nature.

Ipsos Mori interviewed 1,012 people face-to-face for the survey in July.

He asked the public which of 12 outdoor experiences they remembered having as a child which included making dens, daisy chains, climbing trees, playing conkers and feeding birds.

Some 92 per cent of the public agreed that experiences of nature were still important to children, and 82 per cent agreed that schools should play a role in providing them to all children.

Research has highlighted the positive impacts of contact with nature on a child's education, health, well-being and social skills.

At the same time there has been a decline in these opportunities, with negative consequences for children, families and society - a condition now known as nature deficit disorder.

"The government has stated its commitment to spend more on the education of the poorest children by introducing a pupil premium in England," the BBC quoted Mike Clarke of the RSPB as saying.

"It has said it will help schools to decide how best they can use this money to raise pupil attainment.

"We believe this guidance should include the many positive impacts to children of having contact with nature and learning outside the classroom," he said.

The RSPB's research has also shown that 10 per cent more people on the lowest incomes believed that schools should play a role in ensuring that all children had these outdoor experiences, compared with those earning more than 25,000 pound.

"We believe that all children should have equal opportunity to experience nature and a family's ability to pay should not be a deterrent to schools offering these experiences," added Clarke. (ANI)

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