Connecting children with nature

Children playing conkers in autumn at Stourhead
Young explorers playing conkers National Trust Images / Ian Shaw

We all need wild time. Climbing trees and getting muddy knees are memories from childhood we all treasure. But they are memories many children are missing out on.

According to new research by the RSPB, only 1 in 5 children have a ‘connection to nature’. Time spent playing outdoors has halved in just one generation. Published last year, our Natural Childhood report highlighted the problems around children’s disconnection from nature.

Now, we’re working to help a new generation of children discover the outdoors.

The Wild Network

We have helped establish The Wild Network, a rapidly growing movement of over 1000 organisations and thousands of individuals who are passionate about getting children back to nature. Thousands of people and organisations are committing huge amounts of time, energy and resources to help make the movement work.

With the Wild Network we’re supporting Project Wild Thing, an ambitious campaign aimed at reconnecting a generation of children in the UK with the natural world. We’re asking everyone to take the Wild Time pledge and swap at least 30 minutes of screen time for ‘wild time’ every day.

Project Wild Thing

The campaign launched in October 2013 with the release of an amazing new feature documentary film. Created by Green Lions and the BRITDOC Foundation, Project Wild Thing is a funny and revealing look at the problem of children’s vanishing connection with nature.

The film follows father-of-two, David Bond, as he battles to get British children off the screens and into the wild. His journey takes him from a remote Scottish island and the hills of North Wales to inner city housing estates. The Daily Telegraph called it a ‘gripping story of the desperate struggle to lead our computer crazed children back to nature’.

Get involved

Supporting Project Wild Thing is just one of the ways we're working to reconnect kids with nature. In March 2013 we re-released our list of 50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾ . Chosen by children from across the UK, the list is full of outdoor adventures for families to do anywhere – in the local park or in a national park.

From Junior Ranger days at Tredegar House to Wildlife Wednesdays at Gibside, there is an incredible amount happening at our places. Find out more here.

Inspired? Here are three things you can do today:

  1. Watch Project Wild Thing. Buy the DVD, stream it online, or find a screening near you.
  2. Join the movement. Take the Wild Time pledge and swap 30 minutes of screen time a day for wild time.
  3. Get outdoors. Check out the list of 50 Things to do before you’re 11 ¾ and try some out at one of our places.