it’s time to re-wild our kids with more wild time! The UK’s biggest ever campaign to reconnect children with nature and outdoor play is being launched today by the newly formed Wild Network, as it encourages the nation’s parents to swap some of their kids’ screen time for wild time.
Swapping thirty minutes of screen time for an extra half an hour of wild time every day would decrease children’s time in front of screens by ten per cent. This could help increase levels of physical activity, alertness and ultimately improve their well-being.
This new campaign is being launched on the back of an important and compelling new documentary film, ‘Project Wild Thing’, which is being shown at over fifty cinemas across the UK from the 25 October. Three years in the making, ‘Project Wild Thing’ takes a funny and moving look at one of the most complex issues of the age – the increasingly fragile link between children and nature. In a bid to get his daughter and son off the sofa and outdoors, filmmaker and father David Bond appoints himself as the Marketing Director for Nature. He wants his brand – nature – to stand out from the crowd of brands competing for their attention, and works with branding and outdoor experts to develop and launch a campaign to get children outdoors and into nature – the ultimate, free, wonder-product.
The reasons why kids, whether they live in cities or the countryside, have become disconnected from nature and the outdoors are complex. “’Project Wild Thing’ isn’t some misty eyed nostalgia for the past; we need to make more space for wild time in children’s daily routine, freeing this generation of kids to have the sort of experiences that many of us took for granted. “It’s all about finding wildness on your doorstep and discovering the sights, sounds and smells of nature, whether in a back garden, local park or green space at the end of the road. Spending time outdoors is hugely beneficial to children and young people. Research clearly shows that it improves their health, reduces stress and boosts wellbeing.”
Going Wild is delighted to be part of The Wild Network, which is made up of more than 370 organisations, large and small, is leading a campaign calling for more wild time for every child, every day. Members of the network include the National Trust, RSPB, Play England and the NHS Sustainable Development Unit.
Andy Simpson, Chair of the Wild Network, said: “The tragic truth is that kids have lost touch with nature and the outdoors in just one generation. New research published last week illustrates the scale of the challenge with only one in five (21 per cent) children aged eight to twelve years old having a connection with nature. An extra thirty minutes of wild time every day for all under 12-year olds in the UK would be the equivalent of just three months of their childhood spent outdoors. We want parents to see what this magical wonder-product does for their kids’ development, independence and creativity, by giving wild time a go.”
The discussion about swapping screen time for wild time will continue on twitter via the feed @wearewildthing and using the hashtag #wildtime.